The proverbial phase two

Part three in a four part series on the post launch paradigm

One of the hardest parts of a website project is figuring out what’s in scope and what’s not. If only we had an infinite supply of time, money and resources.

But hey, there’s always phase two, right?

Battle-tested web veterans let out a collective chuckle when they hear the phrase ‘phase two.’ They know it’s synonymous with ‘phase never-gonna-see-the-light-of-day.’

Why is this?

Going through a first phase website overhaul is a big undertaking. Organizations typically underestimate the effort and take heroic steps to land it successfully.

When the dust settles, the budget is gone, the team needs some R&R, and that list of stellar phase two items is a distant memory.

But here’s the catch—There’s still a phase two. It’s just not the one you imagined.

The post launch paradigm is something you often can’t imagine until you get there. Organizations enter survival mode, fighting fires, handling routine maintenance and dealing with internal politics. Some days it can be hard just to keep the digital lights on.

The savvy organizations have planned for this.

They understand a website is not a project. They have an established web governance structure and ample resources for both keeping the web operations running and investing in new strategic initiatives.

The sad part about never getting to that next phase is that those are typically the impact ideas that that will drive the business forward. They are they competitive differentiators that you plan to invest in after you’ve done the blocking and tackling.

It’s worth asking…

Was phase one even necessary?

What if phase two became your phase one?

About the Author
Jeff Cram

Jeff Cram is Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design), a digital agency based in Portland, OR and Boston, MA. As the Managing Editor of the CMS Myth, Jeff is passionate about all topics related to content management, digital strategy and experience design.

More articles from Jeff Cram

Comments

One response… read them below or add one.

  1. Lise Janody says:

    I agree with part of your premise. Phase 2 often doesn’t happen because organizations are willing to invest in a scoped-out and time-defined project, but are not willing to put enough resources into ongoing operations and continuous improvement.

    But go straight to phase 2 while bypassing phase 1, or at least elements of it? It’s certainly worth careful examination, case by case, but you do need to walk before you can run. If it’s phase 2, it’s generally because it was lower priority because seen as having less business impact; or simply too much work for the amount of resources available and unworkable in terms of tradeoffs.

    The real answer is not substituting elements, but truly is in exactly what you propose: ongoing web governance. Projects may be necessary to websites, but they do – and should – end. Websites, of course, are forever ☺

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