Over the past 25 years, I’ve personally witnessed how some of the most fantastic creative web site designs and campaigns get ruined in the organizational approval process. When it comes to site design, an incredible amount of time and resources can be wasted developing web site plans and creative that is not in line with the objectives and outcomes of additional stakeholders within the company.

Recently, in my new role as creative director for a design division of a top national Microsoft systems integrator, I’ve worked to help companies of all shapes and sizes and in a variety of industries use a new plan to help them improve and streamline the process of their digital design projects. Not only has it worked. but it’s allowed us to define, revise and complete new project plans including total website overhauls – in as little as three days.

What’s in Your Dozen?

Every client and every project is slightly different. However, it is ultimately my job to complete the project quickly, and to do that, it is always best to get all stakeholders on board? with the project as early as possible. Once they are engaged, it is critical define and rank project objectives according to what matters most to the company.

One of the keys to figuring this out is to know your audience. We approach this through a process called ?finding your Dozen. This simply means identifying your top four users, building personas about them, and then finding their top three reasons for coming to your site. (4+3=12 and that’s how we come up with the Dozen.)

Earlier this quarter, I was working with a financial services firm with a goal of revamping their web presence. The challenge was how to best serve both consumers and the hundreds of financial brokers/agents that actually sell a majority of their products and services. In the case of this company, while the consumers were important, the partners who account for the majority of the company’s sales were ranked highest on their dozen? list. As a result, this company was able to finalize kick-off the project within two and a half days and complete the project within 6 weeks and the newly-designed site achieved a 300% increase in usage by its key audience targets in just over 90 days.

Solve Three Months worth of Problems in Three Days

By understanding business objectives and whose priorities matter most, you can get your web site revamp done in record time. Here are three simple steps to take to get started:

  1. Mandatory Stakeholder Meeting: If a stakeholder has any veto-power over any elements of the project due to its impact on their departments, then they need to be part of the first kick-off meeting. These stakeholders could be everyone from the CEO on down. By including these decision makers in the initial meeting, you can ensure that they’ll be aligned with the goals and objectives of the project.
  2. 2. Defining and Ranking Objectives: Now that all of the stakeholders are connected, you not only need define and determine all of the facets of the project, you also need to rank them by priority for the business. It’s during this phase that many companies are forced to evaluate what’s really the critical entry point for the web and digital design projects. This is why it’s essential to have consensus from key executives.
  3. 3. Define your dozen: Now it’s time to design the site design around the needs and preferences of the targeted users. As mentioned above – find your top four users, build personas about them, and then find their top three reasons for coming to your site.

By taking the time upfront to gather stakeholders to properly define and plan your web site redesign, you can achieve your objectives quickly. You’ll also side step many objections, which can often derail projects in the later stages of the development process.

About the Author:?With 25+ years in the advertising business, Chris Greta is currently the Creative Director for Slingrock, an interactive branding, design and marketing agency and division of Catapult Systems. Chris regularly teaches classes on brand development, marketing and entrepreneurship and writes an advertising blog at www.AdGuyManifesto.com.