Creating Project Timeline Estimates for Websites

Prior to starting a project, it is important to inform the client of the schedule for deliverables by estimating a project timeline. A project will not be successful without a structured plan, thus the Project Manager needs to accurately breakdown the work processes based on the project scope that need to be accomplished by the team. Here are some effective techniques for creating project timeline estimates for websites in order to successfully deliver and launch your project outputs.

Understand the Business

It’s essential to understand your client’s objectives, their business industry, target audience, source of revenue and the services or products that they offer. The more a client’s business is understood, the easier it is for you to judge the importance of project elements and estimate the amount of time required for each task. Also, you’ll be able to contribute ideas and give recommendations for the improvement of your client’s website.

Identifying the Type of Project

Listen to your client and identify what they really need. At this stage, you work out what you can offer your client and how much time it will take to materialize their ideas. Then you can dive into the details. Whether it’s a Website Redesign or additional Web Development, if the project is specific and clearly laid out, the deliverables will be easier to plan and achievable.

Establish Your Team

Based in the type of project, establish a team comprised of the skills you need to knock out all objectives. For website developments, a team is usually comprised of a System Admin, Designer, Developer and SEO Analyst to work on the project. Once you have assembled your A-Team, the next step will be breaking down the project into smaller tasks. As the Project Manager, it’s crucial that you maintain effective communication with your team at all times.

Breakdown Tasks and Create Milestones

It’s time to evaluate the project as a whole and breakdown the task to provide a specific layout of the project timeline. Doing so allows you to plot out tasks based on importance and prerequisites. Creating project milestones gives your team concrete markers as to how far along you are into the project. They’re also great goals you can celebrate once achieve to keep everyone motivated!

Here are examples of tasks for different team members:

Project Management

  • Schedule meeting with client to discuss project scope and gather information
  • Review and analyze branding guide or any existing site
  • Create project proposal and get approval from client
  • Gather assets from client to utilize in the project
  • Project kick-start meeting with the team to discuss scope
  • Create documentation in the Project Management System
  • Break down and assign tasks by component to the team

Design

System Admin

  • Create repository and staging server environment
  • Setup reverse proxy
  • Setup Static IP, Ports and Hostname

Development

  • Code mockup pages approved by client
  • Code functionality
  • Code responsiveness of the page

QA Testing

  • Cross-browser testing
  • Test responsiveness throughout all mobile device screen sizes
  • Check that forms and links are all working

SEO

  • Create/Submit Sitemap
  • Webmaster tool/Setup Google Webmaster Account and verify the site
  • Assign meta title, description and on page interlinking
  • Set-up Robots.txt
  • Fix 301’s and 404’s
  • Setup Google analytics before launching
  • Index before launch before

Final Checklist

  • Create CDN on cloudfront
  • Page Optimization
  • Image Optimization
  • Minify html, css, javascript
  • Validate the (X)HTML code using W3C Markup Validation Service
  • Validate the CSS code using W3C CSS Validation Service

Calculate Estimates

Now that you’ve broken down the project and specified tasks, it’s time to sum it all up. Talk to your team members individually and determine and estimate of how much time it will take them to finish each task. Always add an extra amount of buffer time to their original estimate provided, the reason for this being the chance of unexpected roadblocks, challenges that could arise and remember to consider holidays or days off. Basically make sure you take into account all the possible time delays in the execution of the project, within reason of course.

Creating an accurate estimation for the your website timeline is essential to the success of the project. The client will want to have an idea of the cost as well as plan how they will balance things around an estimated timeline of their own. The project manager should provide and ensure client the time and resources needed to complete the project.

Get Organized

The last and most crucial aspect of creating project timeline estimates for websites is to ensure that all your task, deadlines and resources are organized and easily available to your team. At Project Assistant, we use project management software so that all our tasks are clearly laid out, time estimates are stated, due dates are plotted and projects can easily be updated by posting comments. The project management software we use also streamlines communication, allowing clients to stay in the loop and give feedback as the project progresses.

So there you have it, glimpse into all the elements you need to consider when creating project timeline estimates for websites. Taking on the role of Project Manager for digital developments can be challenging, especially with the pressures of keeping up with technology and producing speedy, visible results. Just keep these techniques and suggestions in mind when you create your own project timeline estimates and don’t forget to be flexible and adjust them to suit your website project. Good luck!

Yvonne Ali

Yvonne Ali

Yvonne is a Project Manager at Project Assistant who specializes in managing the web development department on a daily basis and is responsible of projects from initiation to closure. She's a team player and motivates the team to achieve their project goals. Eve loves traveling and meeting new people from different places. She's an outdoor person and likes to get out of town or catch a little sun and chill on the beach.