As a developer or project manager, making your information work for you is extremely important when trying to get a project done with less headache and information traffic jams. You want to make sure all of your bases are covered when receiving requests for work, with any project – not just a website or SEO related project.

For example, if you receive a bulleted list of 200 items to be completed on your client’s website you may find yourself in a situation that is less than productive.  To help avoid headache, you’ll want to make sure each instruction you receive has the following key elements. Where, what, when and why:

Where

It’s usually best to have your clients group their instructions based on where the updates should happen on the site. Grouping by website page or URL will generally work well from a developerʼs point of view. You could also set a group of tasks that will apply to a range of pages, such as site-wide or within a category of a site.

If the requested work or updates are not separated by where the work will be done, a developer can end up spending extra time flipping back and forth between pages as they go down a list of items to complete, which could possibly run into other issues such as conflicting instructions (ugh), and repeat work.

What

It’s always nice to have explained in detail what the task is.  If the task is described incorrectly or has missing pieces, you can’t expect to complete it correctly and are prone to require back and forth for clarification along with the possibility of work that has to be redone.  Try to make sure you inform your client to send all materials (images, documents, etc.) required to complete the task – your changes will be implemented a lot faster this way!

When

Setting a task priority can also help improve efficiency.  If you’ve got a list of many items but only a half dozen or so are critical then knowing which are most important to the client will allow your team to better engineer a game plan to get what you want done, in the priority you and the client want done.

Why

What is the client’s end goal in the tasks assigned? Are they asking to add a flash piece to gain more attention to a page? Sometimes asking your client to specify their intentions can tell help you understand what a better approach might be (making you look really good 🙂 in the process).  As an example, if you’re client tells you they want to add flash graphics to a site to create more interactivity… but their real intention behind the anticipated move is to convert more leads you might suggest investing in content creation, a traditional SEO campaign or maybe just some time with an SEO  consultant to figure out what might be a better bang for the buck.

An example task list of revisions:

—————————————————————————————-
Summary:
Small correction changes here and there.

Change 1
Where:
URL:
Right column, “New to SEO?” box
What:
Change border color to grey.
When:
This is medium priority.
Why:
We want the siteʼs colors to be uniform throughout.

Change 2
Where:
URL: /office-address
Content column, “Solana Beach Office:”
What:
Update Solana Beach Address to “x”
When:
This is urgent, please complete ASAP.
Why:
Address incorrect.

—————————————————————————————-

In addition to the where, what, when, why… project management tools can also help cut down on communication errors and help improve information organization between clients and a dev team.  Basecamp is a pretty simply yet effective tool for organizing files, messages, comments, users, etc. around the current project at hand.  Some other decent ones we’ve looked at include Fogbugzinfo@hand and activeColab.

So if you’re a developer or project manager, do try and request information in a structured format else you may end up burning time and money.

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faiz • 8 years ago

good post..thanks for your information...

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