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Lesson 3 Using the Site Planner
Objective Describe the function of the Project Plan

Using the Site Planner or Project Plan

The term "site planner" is still used to describe the development of a web project, but it is less common than it once was. The term "project plan" has become more widely used, as it can be applied to any type of project, not just web development. A site planner is a document that outlines the structure and content of a website. It typically includes information such as:
  1. The purpose of the website
  2. The target audience
  3. The website's main features and functionality
  4. The navigation structure
  5. The content outline
  6. The design and layout

A project plan is a more comprehensive document that outlines the steps involved in completing a project, as well as the resources and timeline required. It typically includes information such as:
  1. The project goals and objectives
  2. The project scope
  3. The project schedule
  4. The project budget
  5. The project team and roles
  6. The project risks and mitigation strategies

In the context of web development, a site planner can be seen as a subset of a project plan. The site planner focuses on the specific aspects of the website, such as the structure, content, and design. The project plan may include additional information, such as the budget, timeline, and risks. In recent years, there has been a trend towards using more agile project management methodologies in web development. Agile methodologies focus on iterative development and continuous feedback. This means that the site planner and project plan may be updated frequently as the project progresses. Overall, the term "site planner" is still used to describe the development of a web project, but it is becoming less common. The term "project plan" is more widely used, as it can be applied to any type of project.

Different Questions at Different Stages

The Web team will routinely refer to the Site Planner during a Web development project. The Site Planner is a list of questions organized according to the three phases of the Web site development process (discovery, definition, and design). In addition, each phase has a different section for each team involved in that phase (i.e. the creative team, the business team, and/or the technical team). Think of the Site Planner as a traveling checklist you refer to every time you pack to go on a trip. The checklist contains items that you are likely to need on every trip, such as a toothbrush, together with items that may not always apply but which are important in those trips where they apply. You may need a swimsuit if you're going to a hot place or gloves if you're going to a cold place.
You may not always need to ask your client all the questions in the Site Planner, but reviewing them will help you stay on track when developing a site. The Site Planner is an invaluable tool for clarifying your thoughts and understanding your client's needs as well as those of your teammates. The MouseOver below illustrates which teams are involved with the client during the phases of the project that require the Site Planner. Examples of key questions are also included:

Who's involved in each phase?

1) Discovery, 2) Definition, 3) Design
1) Discovery, 2) Definition, 3) Design

Discovery Business team: Who do you consider to be your competitors?
Creative team: Who will develop and edit the response to the RFP?
Definition Business team: Do you have a plan, time frame, and budget for upgrading the site?
Creative team: Will the site be built with a design that is consistent with other marketing materials?
Design Business team: What level of interactivity is required for the target audience?
Creative team: What are the brand, style, and other marketing guidelines?
Technical team: What platforms do the end users use? What kind of connectivity do they have, and will this meet the requirements of their planned network?

What is DevOps?

First, let us just say there is no definitive answer. There are lots of opinions about what is covered under DevOps and what it is not.
  1. Is it a culture?
  2. Is it a way of organizing?
  3. Or just a way of thinking?
We think it is a still-evolving movement and methodology so let us not get stuck on limiting it too much right now. Instead, we can talk about some of the common themes, tools and ideas.
Born of the need to improve IT service delivery agility, the DevOps movement emphasizes communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations. Rather than seeing these two groups as silos who pass things along but do not really work together, DevOps recognizes the interdependence of software development and IT operations and helps an organization produce software and IT services more rapidly, with frequent iterations.
The customer consults with the client's IT staff during the design phase, when hardware needs become central for the project. One of the main responsibilities of the technical team is to assess the client's hardware capabilities and determine how these may influence design and development decisions for the site. However, the technical team has been active prior to this phase, giving the business and creative teams feedback on technical issues. In the next lesson, you will review what you have learned in this module about the technical team's communication process with the client and the other team members.

Site Planner

As a veteran designer, developer and project manager for more websites than I can count, I have identified a common problem with many Web projects: failure to plan. The same issues come up repeatedly in my work, so I have written this guide in order to help clients, other designers, businesses and organizations plan and realize successful websites. Planning is essential for most businesses and organizations. In practice, many people fail to plan their websites. Sometimes the ever-busy, dynamic nature of running a business is to blame; there are so many operational demands that proper time is not allotted to projects. But this often happens because people fail to recognize that planning for the Web is just as important as planning for anything else in a business.

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