Each and every project has milestones and one of the important milestone is the sign-off of various artifacts including site designs, wireframes, functional specification, HTML mock-ups, content etc. With the WCM projects, my exeprience of sign-off is just a formality but in reality it doesn’t hold any vlaue. And the reason: changes and more changes after sign-off.
Normally when the design and wireframes are laid down, there is just specific group comprises of few individuals from IT and business teams that will look at them and sign-off. Based on the designs and wireframes the HTML mock-up originates and again in most of the cases the same approval authority sign off without getting into much details.The mock-up are presented to the development team who start to churn out templates and components and setting up website to deliver content. Once the development has passed a reasonable phase, someone in the approval team suddenly come up with a novel idea of presenting this new webiste within the higher authorities. And this very novel idea presents highter authorities with their first view of the site. This is the very first time they start inputting their feedback and the whole ball game of sign-off, CRs start. This sometimes is so drastic that teams go back to the drawing boards and start implementing new designs.
Content sign-off is a very different story with CMS projects where customers always take a view that the whole idea of implementing a CMS is that they can make changes nth minute before the launch of the website.
Also, when the mock-ups are signed off, there is a need for technical review of the code. It is pretty easy for the creative agencies to place lots of images and make them as part of CSS which are non editable by authors. I think it is important to have certain more activities on the plan to cover some of the above issues including:
- Technical Verification of HTML mock-up to make sure that editable/ dynamic area’s/ extensible area’s are not goverend through CSS/JS hardcoding
- Presentation of HTML mock-up to all the stake holders to identify gaps earlier than later
- Involvement of high level management in each stages of the project, including design sign-off, HTML mock-up sign-off etc.
If the issues are raised during development or in UAT, it involves lot more effort than getting it right in the initial stages.
Anyone experienced such situations in their WCM project lifecycle?