Every time we begin a new website project, I send the client our new project questionnaire.
This questionnaire has been instrumental on getting projects started on time and on the right foot.
But after these started to go out, I noticed a trend in one of the questions. We always ask, “What is your timeframe for the project?” and give them three options to choose from.
Without fail, clients always pick the “Soon (2-4 weeks)” timeframe, even after we’ve discussed our current timelines for a project.
So I thought I would take the opportunity to explain what factors affect your web project’s timeline, what our current timelines are like and why, and how that fits into the rest of our work for you.
The Factors Involved
Over the years, we’ve had to adjust our expected timelines quite a bit.
Below are some of the most common factors to consider.
1. Scope of the Project
How much work you actually need done will play a part in how long the project will take.
That said, we prefer to be more dogmatic about timelines and less dogmatic about the scope of the project.
For example, the reality is that right now, our team’s availability is 8-12 weeks for delivery of a project once it is started (will discuss further below).
If a project is so large that it scopes out of that range, we would likely suggest that we split the project up into at least two phases, maybe more.
There are rare exceptions where a website project needs every element of design and functionality dialed in for launching to make sense, but the vast majority would fit perfectly into a phased structure.
2. The Chain of Approval
It is frustrating for everyone involved when a project does not stay on deadline, regardless of who is ultimately responsible for the delay.
For that reason, we prefer to work on projects where the chain of approval is relatively small. We find that if more than two people are involved in the regular process of approval and satisfaction, it is much harder to move on the project in a timely manner.
Of course, there are times it is unavoidable.
In those cases, we require that our client’s team work together internally through any necessary review processes, and our single point of contact (SPC) will relay those results and discuss back and forth with us.
3. Regulations and Compliance
Sometimes regulation and compliance play a huge part. For example, we just finished up a government learning management website.
It was easy enough to work through the initial designs and approvals with our contact, but there is an entirely separate period of testing and confirmation the site must now go through.
Even our 8-12 week timeline could not possibly factor in those additional considerations, so any time regulation and compliance is a factor, you should plan on the finished, live project taking considerably longer than normal.
4. Availability of Our Team
This is the primary reason for our current timeline of 8-12 weeks.
The size and availability of our current team requires this timeline, and we find that it still fits within most clients expectations.
If you are truly in a position with a faster deadline, we will have to consider whether we will take on the project.
We are open to discussing rush fees as well, though it is not standard practice for us to do this.
5. External Requests and Requirements
Finally, we sometimes find there are requests or requirements outside our control that would necessitate the project be completed faster or slower.
The “rush fee” example above applies here, but it could also be that we are waiting on the work of a copywriter or development specialist, whose availability must also be taken into consideration.
Suffice it to say, most of these items will be unpacked and agreed upon before the signing of the contract because we want to minimize surprises all around.
So in short, for most clients, the answer to the question posed by this article is: 8-12 weeks.
But now you have an idea of the other factors involved that may stretch or shorten the timeline.
If you need any clarification, please reach out.