Advice for implementing a new library website

I've managed my fair share of website implementation projects in libraries, and the experience has left me scarred. The scale of implementation has varied, as have the tools and processes that were used. There are few things more politically charged or life sucking as working on a library website.

Yesterday, a former colleague of mine wrote to me asking for advice on a similar website project he's leading. Here was my response, which I thought I'd share here. It's tongue-in-cheek but may have value for you:

  1. Run as fast as you can. Find someplace to hide.
  2. If #1 if not practical, pretend you’ve had a severe concussion that renders you unable to speak English any more.
  3. If #1 and #2 don’t work, panic.

On a slightly more serious note:

  1. Reduce the number of people involved in the project to just the really essential ones. Be ruthless.
  2. Take the time to clearly articulate project goals. Ensure those goals have nothing to do with or make any assumptions about the technology or procedures (e.g. SharePoint shouldn’t even be thought of). Keep bringing out those goals often to remind everyone what you’re working toward.
  3. Develop a project plan that is as detailed as possible and that breaks down key decisions into a concrete timeline. Stick to it.
  4. Understand that not everyone will be satisfied with the end product, including (maybe especially) you.

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