Custom projects tend to be more costly because they require a well-rounded team to pull them off. Every member of the project team is an important spoke in the wheel and bring a unique core competency essential to project success. Critical roles in a custom website or web application project can include:
Just as a wheel wobbles when missing a spoke or two, a project will suffer if these roles are not accounted for.
The account manager is the primary contact for the client and works hard to understand all business development needs. This team member also takes a business consultant role to outline immediate needs, keep an eye on long term objectives, and stay within budget constraints.
If there are questions or concerns about how your account is being handled, this is the person to lean on. When new opportunities arise, the account manager will be there to talk them through and help determine a cost and timeline to implement. We take great pride in close relationships with our clients, and it all starts with your account manager.
Once a project is underway, the project manager becomes the main contact until the project has been successfully completed. This role involves tasks such as setting up meetings with the client and team, sending weekly updates, verifying timelines, evaluating the scope of work, and making sure that the project stays on track.
We talk a lot about project management and project process as it is critically important to the outcome of custom websites and web development projects.
If a web application were a building, the technical designer would be the architect. The technical designer determines the needs, collects all the process data, decides which technologies fit best, and designs a system that best suites the situation.
It takes a unique blend of person to be a technical designer. They must be able to communicate so they can gather the information they need, a master of technology to filter the options, have an understanding of business to keep an eye on the bottom line, and be somewhat analytical to map out a solution. Experience no doubt helps as well!
The UI Designer has tremendous attention to detail. They need to be able to predict what the user will need to do at any point in time, how they plan to do it, and make sure the process is intuitive. If Apple and Steve Jobs have taught us anything it is that user interface matters.
When it comes time to incorporate your brand identity and communicate the image you want to portray, it is time to call on the graphic designer. While a user interface designer will focus on process and usability, the graphic designer will make sure everything looks fantastic.
From colors, fonts, backgrounds, images, icons, spacing, grids, tables, lines, buttons, etc. the graphic designer shapes your online image.
Knowledge of online technologies, search engines, social platforms, operating systems, browser versions, and the latest in mobile devices is an essential part of being a valuable web developer.
The brains behind a successful custom website application, the software engineers are the true super stars. Without them you are forced to confine your project within the limitations of a framework, usually a content management system (CMS). With them, anything is possible!
The quality assurance team is the last to touch the website or web application before it is passed to the client for review. Their job is to break it!
QA can be a tedious task as they need to run through every possible scenario. They will fill out forms with data, without data, and with bogus data to ensure the application is equipped to error handle. All links need to work and all submit buttons need to save and redirect properly.
Upon completion of the first couple rounds of QA we will often provide the client an opportunity to save project costs by helping with this process. Quality assurance is also a critical piece of the project lifecycle if you would like to read more about it.
Sometimes we forget that there are servers in the cloud that need constant pro-active attention. It would be a whole lot easier if this part of the project wasn't needed, but unfortunately host management plays an important role in the web application development process.
Predictions suggest that someday soon we will be able to farm this entire process to 3rd party services and it will just run like the water, That day is not today, so a team of IT specialists skilled in network administration are needed behind the scenes to ensure system availability. This is a must have for any web development team that ventures into custom applications.
Often overlooked in a website or web application development project, the client plays as significant a role as anyone in the process. Other than funding the project, the client will provide the fundamental intelligence needed to design and build. You, the client will play an important role in the content, project management, and quality assurance process.
Your typical vendor-client relationship has both sides working against each other from the outset. The vendor wants to stay on budget and make a little profit at the same time. The client wants to stretch the scope and get all they can for their investment. At Five Technology, we prefer to collaborate and work together with our clients on projects, thus being a partner in the project and not a vendor.
In the end we will provide industry insight and technology consulting as needed, but you know your business best and will play an integral role in all decisions made.