Using Collaboration to Gain More Value During a Website Redesign



What if I told you that increasing the time, energy, and effort allocated to collaboration during a redesign project will actually lead to lower costs, a shorter project timeline, and better return on your investment?

That perspective is often contrary to how many companies view an actual redesign. While it is the ideal time for more collaboration, a lack of collaboration is actually the most common and impactful mistake we see when a company redesigns their website. Although people rarely disagree with the general idea that more collaboration is better, it is often the first component of a project scope to be scrutinized (largely indirectly). Decreased collaboration is often an indirect result from the elimination of certain disciplines such as technical SEO, analytics, or conversion rate optimization (CRO) that limit the diversity of the project team.

These cuts generally occur in the scoping and planning process because companies often view a redesign as a short term project, rather than a multi-year investment. The timeline is viewed as only extending from project scope to the day the site launches, rather than through the year after (and beyond).

For a more accurate view, it’s important to shift this perspective and consider the full picture. In this article we cover some of the more common arguments that negatively impact the amount of collaboration during a redesign, and more optimal perspectives to consider. Then, at the end, we provide actionable steps to positively increase collaboration on your next redesign project, and gain more value from it.

Common (indirect) Arguments Against Collaboration

1) It costs too much: The most common argument against collaboration is that it costs too much. Redesigning a website is a cost intensive endeavor and decreasing costs associated with involving a larger team across multiple disciplines is tangible and immediate.

It makes sense that a company wants to lower the cost for a redesign so that it can invest that money in other avenues like ongoing advertising campaigns. However, when collaboration increases (assuming it’s positive), it should actually lead to cost savings rather than cost increases.

The difference in perspectives here is due to the time horizon that is considered. Many companies view a redesign as a short term project that won’t have additional costs after the site launches. Instead, a company should take a more comprehensive view and look beyond the website launch date to account for potential additional costs that could be incurred if they don’t involve all marketing disciplines. When cutting costs by eliminating important components of a redesign, it reduces collaboration and can lead to long term cost increases such as:

  • Development & engineering time to re-build components of the website that lacked the proper technical SEO configuration.
  • Design time to re-create templates that lacked important elements or room for important content.
  • Intangible costs, like gaps in data collection due to changes on the site that negatively impacted how your analytics platform gathers data.

2) It adds time to the project: When a company invests in redesigning their website, they want the new site to be launched as soon as possible. This makes sense, as the company is expecting positive value from the new website, and the earlier it launches, the more quickly that value will be realized. However, cutting corners on collaboration will almost always lead to a net increase in the time spent on the redesign.

The difference in perspective here is due to the time horizon as well. If you involve fewer disciplines, the time spent on the project just extends beyond the “launch” date. So, even though you “launched” the website on a specific date, may be missing several important components that would have been required to actually gain the value you hoped for.

3) The benefits are negligible: This concern is far less common than the first two, but it does come up. It can be a relevant concern if you think about collaboration in terms of the number of people, rather than disciplines involved.

If you are simply including more people to increase collaboration, it could actually have a negative impact. That is why it’s critical to view collaboration in terms of disciplines, rather than people. This will help ensure you have a diverse perspective on the changes that will yield the most positive outcome when combined with one another. When this happens, the benefits almost always outweigh the costs. As we’ve discussed above, the optimal use of collaboration will likely result in:

  • Lower net costs: You’ll have accounted for all costs before launching the website and can build in changes from all teams to the project scope, rather than having to rebuild components of the site after it launches.
  • Shorter net project timeline: You’ll actually have a completely redesigned website in less time, as you’ll often find the most efficient path to accomplish all critical tasks when you have stakeholders from all disciplines collaborate together at the outset of a project, rather than taking time “post-launch” to correct issues.

So, if you’re aligned on the need to increase the amount of collaboration that is involved during your next site redesign, then the following steps will help position you for success.

Actionable Steps to Improve Collaboration

  • Start early, and start with the whole team: Hold a project kickoff that includes at least one stakeholder from every discipline that is involved with the website.
  • Conduct a thorough needs analysis shortly after kickoff: Gather a list of needs, wants, and “nice-to-haves” from each stakeholder. Review it with them and ensure you are thinking critically about how important each item really is.
  • If you get stuck on a decision, leverage the whole team in a brainstorming (when relevant): If conducted correctly, the diversity of viewpoints gained from including the whole group will surface many valuable options to choose from.
  • Review major milestones with the whole team: It’s important to maintain buy-in from the team at large, and therefore it’s important to involve them at major milestones so that they are kept up-to-speed on progress.
  • Involve all teams during the quality assurance process: Don’t just assume that developers are the primary team needed to QA the website as its being built. Make sure each stakeholder provides feedback on where they should be involved during QA and then include them when relevant.
  • Share wins publicly: As you see wins that result from the teamwork and collaboration during the process, be sure to share it as publicly as possible. This will help reinforce the collaborative process as value adding.

Just remember, when you are holding more meetings with a larger group of team members, it’s critical to have a well prepared agenda and strong meeting leader so that they are run effectively and efficiently. I hope the perspectives and tips shared above will lead you to a more effective redesign the next time you take that journey.

If you have any questions, please reach out to see how we can help.

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