Control Freak: the steps from project planning to product launch

Photo: Lunch stop at the Lake, Ward's Island, looking back at the city across the lake, July 1 2015

Project Development Overview

Use this project management worksheet to plan and keep your web projects on track. These essential steps and tasks are applicable to most projects.

Project Name:

Strategy - user needs and site objectives identified:

  • The Goal of this project
  • Intended audiences
  • Scope of the information to be included
  • Staffing and resources requirements
  • Approximate time lines
  • Hardware and software requirements
  • Plans for implementation and maintenance.

Stage 1 - Planning


  • Requirements Gathering
  • Project Creative Brief - Information gathering template
  • Content Requirements - Overview
  • Functional Specifications - description of feature set
  • Content Outline - Guidelines
  • Information Architecture - create Site Map
  • Establish Client Zone - presentation of work in progress.

Stage 2 - Prototype Design


  • Creative outsourcing. Who will do the work: design, write, produce, test, sell
  • Information analysis
  • Design studies. - Design tasklist and activities
    • brainstorming, design language alternatives
    • grids, navigation studies
    • sketches for look and feel, placement of key elements.


  • Information Design
  • Navigation design
  • Interface Design
    • Update client zone - presentation of work in progress
    • Client review and input
    • Develop to incorporate feedback
  • Content Management System - content development and administration
  • Content plan - schedule includes client milestones.


  • Initial visual design
    • comps look and feel, navigation and user interface
  • Update client zone
  • Prototype Review. Client review and input to proceed
  • Review work based of feedback
  • Design Specification - create first draft document for team reference
  • Content development
  • Design development. Final Comps:
    • all graphic elements and treatments identified
    • multimedia development - audio, video components
      • behaviour and functional design
    • Initiate StyleGuide to document development decisions.
  • Content first draft - all pages identified
  • Initial information layout
  • Update client zone - present work in progress
  • Team review
  • Client review and approval to proceed based on design specifications and established requirements.

Stage 3 - Prototype Development

  • Establish internal development area
  • Final content
  • Create working HTML prototype
  • Update site presentation area
  • Conduct internal usability review - see Usability Principles and Checklist
  • Test on identifed browsers and platforms
    • Design revisions based on feedback
    • Client review and input
    • Revisions based on feedback.

Stage 4 - Project Development

  • Develop by completing:
    • templates for all pages
    • code integration
    • graphics and visual elements design
    • final content presentation
  • Conduct quality assurance review - see Guidelines and checklist
  • Conduct User testing - external team as defined by Scope
  • Make revisions based on feedback
  • Document development decisions. Update style guide.
  • Update site presentation area
  • Team review

Stage 5 - Implementation

  • Prep project for technical integration
  • Stage to Q A site for internal team review
  • Maintain communication, support, collaboration with cross-functional team

Stage 6 - Maintenance

includes Next Phase Planning
  • Site Administration User Guide
  • Post Mortem
  • Site Content Annual Launch Plan
  • Update documentation and presentation area
  • Update documentation and site presentation area
  • User Experience Review
  • Content Update
  • Functionality Update
  • Update to incorporate current website standards
  • Document recommendations/milestones for next development cycle
  • Considerations for social media and promotion.
PHOTO: Lake Ontario, Toronto view from Ward's Island, July 1 2015