As I mentioned in my last post, there are a lot of changes coming to this website. I thought you might be interested in gaining some insight into how I manage that process with my team. Here’s how we do it:
1. I get an idea, and I email it to Michelle. Michelle leads MWI’s dev team and we love her because she’s awesome. If you ever become a client of MWI you will also love Michelle. She’s our not-so-secret weapon.
I might include some screen captures and notes in my email, like this:
On Tuesday, July 21, 2015, Steimle, Joshua <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hi Michelle, just wanted to get these things on your radar:
1. Change joshsteimle.com header to:
2. I’ll be adding a books page, although not yet, at http://www.joshsteimle.com/books/. Nothing is needed there, just fyi.
3. A subpage of the books page will be http://www.joshsteimle.com/books/cmos-at-work/. I want to set up a new template that is similar in layout to http://michaelhyatt.com/platform, and then whenever I write a new book I can create a new page based on that template.
2. Michelle puts the tasks into JIRA, a system for tracking tasks. I haven’t used it, but Michelle loves it and she may force me to start using it…
3. Get stuff done. Once the MWI team has time for my website (MWI clients come first) then they jump on it, make a bunch of changes, and then send me a link to a staging site where I can test everything out. Check out my staging site at https://joshsteimle.com/ but bear in mind, it’s a staging site, which means it’s a rough draft.
4. Feedback. Once I look at the staging site, then the real fun begins for Michelle and the rest of the dev team, because I start sending emails back like this. In some areas I’m talking about the admin section which you won’t see on the staging site.
Cool, looking through it now. I apologize in advance for the times when I will tell you to do something different than what I’ve already asked for. Sometimes seeing it in action is different than what I had envisioned in my head.
1. Email popup – Can we make it load after 15 seconds instead of immediately?
Also, just FYI, some interesting reading on popups and email list building generally:
[yeah, I’m sure they love it when in addition to giving them tasks like this I also give them a half hour worth of reading :)]
2. Email signup at top:
Can we change “Get Posts by Email” to “Get weekly marketing tips, book reviews, for free!” and change “subscribe” to “Sign me up!”
3. Nav font – It’s bolder, and maybe larger, than in what I sent over. This is what I sent:
Here’s what I’m seeing in Chrome on Mac:
The “as featured in” is a bit thick as well. I don’t know if it’s at 1000 or 900, but can we just bump it down to the font one below whatever version of Museo Slab it’s on?
4. I don’t like my logo. My bad. Hmm…let’s see. Can we do something like this? This would also free up some space for the new nav items, since I still need to add “books” in there.
5. With that change, it seems like I’m losing color. Maybe I should just embrace black/white/gray? Can we change all green to the black?
6. Reading list:
b. Can you explain a bit about the custom fields in the admin? How do I use these?
c. I’d like to include a button at the end of each book review post that says “Buy this book at Amazon.com” that I can put my affiliate link on. What’s the easiest way to facilitate this?
d. For anything that’s under https://joshsteimle.com/reading/ I’m worried people will get confused by the “popular posts” and “categories” on the right. They might think they apply to the books if they come directly to this page. For now, I guess let’s just change “popular posts” to “popular blog posts” and think about it some more.
e. For the summary information under each post title on https://joshsteimle.com/reading/ can we have it display the “excerpt” text?
f. Can we add the “related posts” feature to these just like the blog posts, and can it pull in both book reviews and blog posts? And can we have the related posts for blog posts do the same so I can cross link them?
7. Some overlap on post pages as seen below:
8. Speaking section:
a. Is it possible to have a date range instead of one date, since some events span multiple days?
b. I added a speaking item titled “CMO Summit 2015” but it’s not showing up on https://joshsteimle.com/speaking/. What did I do wrong?
9. Press section – Everything looks good, except that like 8b above, I posted something and it’s not showing up. I suspect I’m missing the same thing somehow.
10. Book page – I must have forgotten to tell you about this one, whoops! See https://joshsteimle.com/books/cmos-at-work/. I just need a page template that is laid out a bit differently than others.
11. Email newsletter:
a. I’ve already set it to send out weekly, no change needed there.
b. Apply new colors/design
c. To include: Opening blurb (Like the beginning of belle’s email I forwarded–I’d like to update this each week…not sure the best way to do this, it’s just a paragraph of text I want to write each week before the email sends), any blog posts, book reviews, or press updates made since the last send.
d. Layout: header, opening blurb, press items, blog posts, book reviews, footer.
I think that’s everything I’ve got. It’s looking great, thanks so much for all your help!
For the screen captures I use Skitch. It’s soooo easy to capture part of the screen, draw boxes or circles, make notes, and then drag it into an email. I love the tool, and it’s free.
So that’s how we do it. We go back and forth like this until it’s good, and then a few months later I get some fresh ideas and we go through it all again.
Some Things I’ve Found Helpful When Communicating With Web Dev Teams
- Be nice. I never talk down, or at least I hope I never do. I try to treat all members of the MWI team as though they were my neighbors. Ok, some people don’t treat their neighbors very well, but the point is I try to be nice. I think people like working with nice people more than with mean people. I could be wrong, but those are my two cents.
- Make requests, not demands. “Can you do this?” “Can we make it work this way?” I try to speak this way rather than “Make it work like this,” because sometimes it can’t work that way, or working that way will take a lot of work and not be worth it, or because making it work that way isn’t the best way to make it work.
- Be grateful. Sure, my web dev team works for me. I pay their bills, right? I don’t look at it quite that way. The way I see it, we’re on a team, we all do work, and we all reap the benefits of that work. I happen to own the company, but my dev team is doing me as much a favor by working for me as I am by paying them, perhaps more so.
- Explain the goal. Instead of just saying “Make it work this way,” I often explain why I want it to work that way. I do this because if the dev team understands my goals, then they can give me suggestions. Then they feel comfortable saying “You know what? If that’s your goal, I would actually recommend you do it this way instead…” I love getting that kind of feedback, because it results in a better final product.
- Be patient. My dev team is busy with client work. Trust me, I know how it feels to be a client. I want it done now! But I recognize that unless I want to pay to have a person dedicated to my website and nothing else (which will cost you a good $6 to 10K USD per month for the type of people we hire) then I have to wait. First in, first out, with exceptions for emergencies. But my stuff is rarely an emergency, except when I try to update things and break my live site…
If I had to sum it all up in one word, I’d say it’s respect. I respect Michelle and her team because I know that they know what they’re doing, that they’re organized and haven’t forgotten me, and that they’ll get it done and get it done right. I also respect them because I hope I’m a respectful type of person. If you’ve had problems managing someone who’s working on a website for you in the past, the first place I’d look for solutions is yourself. If you’re doing the five things I mention above, then and only then would I look at the web dev team to see if they’re competent and honest.Liked it? Share it!