Success Criteria

In order to perform well this role you’ll need experience. Maybe some other experience can help get you started. More often than not, web project managers have worked previously as designers, developers, account managers, testers, or IT technicians. All web projects are eventually delivered, but whether or not every part of the project is delivered in the best state highlights the value of the web project manager. If the project manager does indeed have a background in another role, it’s often the case that their previous area of expertise, be it design or development or whatever, receives more than its fair share of attention. A designer may produce the most stunning UX features, at the expense of blowing the budget on laborious front-end development work. This is where the experience comes in. The longer people cover this role the more accustomed they become to balancing resources while maintaining scope, budget, timelines, and overall quality. To be truly effective, you need to be able to understand each role; you should embark on your own learning quest to ensure that you yourself can create content matrices, wire-frames, UI style guides, JavaScript functions, Test scripts etc. If you can’t then you will be relying on others to make your decisions for you or, worse, representing false expertise to those to whom you’re accountable. So, if you’re relatively new to this role, then don’t worry — it will get easier, and you’ll get better, even if you’re great already. The way to monitoring and constantly working on your performance is in being aware of your success measures, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Your success measures may not be as obvious or easy to assess as those of, for example, a designer — analytics data — or developer — bug reports & analytics data — so we’ll cover some ideas here.

The main idea behind KPIs is that they must be measurable metrics. Individual projects may have, indeed should have, their own KPIs to assess the extent to which the post-launch project has achieved it’s initial pre-launch goals. The metrics recorded must be specific and consistent in order to allow for objective comparison.

Examples of good project KPIs might be:

  • increase conversions by 5%
  • reduce time spent by customer service responding to inquiries
  • increase subscriptions
  • generate 10% more traffic
  • improve Google search results position for X keyword

Conversely bad KPIs are vague or difficult, if not impossible, to measure:

  • increase brand awareness
  • improve usability
  • increase time spent on the website

We’ll go further into establishing per-project KPIs later.

Why KPIs are Good

At the most basic level, having specific success measures, goals that you are working towards, help to maintain focus on what’s important. You may pass on the requirements, make a timeline, meet your deadline, and deliver your project. But that doesn’t count as a success if your production team are tired, angry, and resentful and your project of poor quality. This is only going to make your job harder on future projects. Aside from focus, KPIs are valuable in analysing mistakes or failures, allowing you to put measures in place to avoid them in future. If you know exactly what went wrong, you can fix it.