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Lesson 4 Success factors and risks
Objective Identify key success factors and risks in the Discovery and Definition phases.

Success Factors and Risks

Identifying key success factors and risks

The client and the development team must successfully identify the business objectives, the needs of the client, and other project-critical issues during the Discovery and Definition phases.
Failure to identify success and risk factors adequately early in the Web development process threatens the success of all subsequent phases.

What affects your team's success?

Project success will ultimately be measured by the final outcome--the implementation and usability of the Web site. However, measuring progress at various stages of development can help ensure the final success of the whole project. Establishing success metrics early on for the various stages of development will help the team and the client evaluate the project's progress.
Following are some of the factors that can affect the success of a project:
  1. Identifying the key clients and stakeholders and ensuring their approval throughout each phase of the project.
  2. Ensuring that objectives are met and deliverables are completed on time. Project managers must discuss the effect of any delays with the team and the client as soon as issues arise.
  3. Completing the project within the budget.

Project success requires open communication and cooperation between the client and the Web development team. All participants should receive the same information about the overall project deliverables and expectations. Weekly meetings and status reports can be tools for measuring success and progress. Effectively communicating the project status will help minimize problems and confusion that could threaten project success.

What are your risks?

Though it is impossible to predict all the obstacles that the client or the Web development team may encounter, it is important to minimize risks by understanding potential problems that might occur. Possible legal ramifications of ignoring risks are discussed in the next lesson. But before allowing the process to get to that point, your should be aware of the following risk factors and potential results:
  1. An incomplete analysis of client needs, leading to an inadequate design plan
  2. Underestimating the amount of time required for the team to complete the project, leading to inadequate budget
  3. Assuming client approval versus acquiring proper sign-offs, leading to a perpetual revision cycle
  4. Failing to provide an accurate delivery schedule, setting unrealistic expectations for the client as well as members of the design team
Question: What are some of the actions your team should take at the close of each phase to ensure success of the project?
  1. Obtaining client approval at every phase is a must. This prevents misunderstandings and disagreements later. Don't assume you know what your client is thinking or assume it knows what you are thinking.
  2. Check team progress. Is every team member keeping up with the overall timeline of the project? Are objectives of each phase are achieved before moving on? Are deliverables of each phase produced and delivered before moving on?
  3. Check projections. As each phase draws to a close, you should have more specific information as to the needs for the rest of the project. Time and money can grow scarce. Do your team members have enough time built into their schedules for remaining tasks? Does the remaining budget appear to cover remaining tasks?
In the next lesson, you will learn about legal, ethical, and regulatory risks in the Definition phase.