The Three Web Activities: Task, Project, and Business Programs

For the web professional, there are various activities that occur on a consistent basis, I’ve boiled them down to three succint types of activities. Working as a lowly production UI designer to managing a global website, I’ve had to do all.

The Three Web Activities: Task, Project, and Business Programs


The Task

What: A web task is a short term undertaking that could involve any type of activity that supports a website.

Examples: These could be content changes, database checks, stylesheet changes, or reporting and monitoring.

Who: Typically assigned to the content, development, web analysts, production, or engineering team, these are the core activities that keep the website running efficiently.


The Project

What: A specific-duration activity, this project involves the completion of a goal, and success is measured upon completion and timeliness to complete.

Examples: Several projects may be going on during any given time such as a redesign project, code upgrade, cms install, or language translation.

Who: Often assigned to a web manager, business analyst, or dedicated project manager, this person may call upon resources from various teams in the company from the web team, marketing, and often IT.


The Business Program

What: These ongoing business programs (not to be confused a web application ‘program’) are the heart of a web managers purpose, their job is to manage these ongoing programs with a specific goal in mind: increase revenue or decrease costs. These web programs are designed to fulfill objectives of a web strategy.

Examples: the Intranet program, the Extranet program, the International website program, the Community Program, the Blogging Program, or the corporate website program.

Who: This duty is typically relegated to the Web Strategist (titles include web manager, web director, vp of web marketing). They will employ a number of ongoing resources to properly allocate for content, code, production, management, and ongoing maintainence.

While any of these activities can be outsourced, it’s ill-advised to outsource the entire activity, as control and management will be needed. Learn more, see the three spheres of web strategy, or my employer’s Forrester POST methodology for social computing endeavors.

  • I agree with your breakdown from a web management perspective. The IT guy, the techie, the web programmer should be very focused on The Task, The Project, and The Business Program. With those, the website fails to function.

    I have a list of 3 which is about that function. My list is derived from the end user experience rather than the web management side. I address this list with my clients when they are trying to make decisions about their webite:
    1. Information
    2. Utility
    3. Entertainment

    That order is important.

    People go to the web first for information (e.g. I want to call company X and need their phone number). I am astounded at the number of business that make it difficult to contact them.

    People go to the web secondly for utility (e.g. “I want to make travel arrangements” or “I need to do some online banking/bill paying”)

    People go to the web thirdly for entertainment (e.g. “going to watch the television show I missed last night,” “watch some youtube,” or “play some games”).

    I find businesses mistakenly want to build backwards thinking that if they first build something entertaining that will draw their audience in. Then they can provide utility (often associated with profit). And lastly, if they ever get around to it, information.

    People will argue that entertainment should be first in the list but that is a delusion. We may spend more time on entertainment but most people go to the web for information first.

    “Social media” is changing the equation slightly. Services like Twitter provide information, utility and entertainment in one fell swoop.

    Links referenced:
    http://realityme.net/2007/12/11/are-you-in-the-converation/
    http://realityme.net/2007/10/26/put-redcross-in-your-twitter/

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  • I agree that people go to the web first for information, which is why it’s so important that Jeremiah’s “tasks” get accomplished with unwavering discipline.

    The vast majority of compliments that I get about the website I manage (my employer’s, not my blog) focus on how it is *informative* and *current*. It is amazing how many websites/organizations out there still think they can “set it and forget it.”

  • I’m really like this post. Thanks mate!

  • Great post Jeremiah!

    While I usually do “the task” and “the project” on the Website of the company I work for, I’ve been doing marketing consulting on the side for another company and just started the process of planning and managing its “business program.” Now I can really apply what I’ve been learning from you!

  • Lisa

    Great to hear that I’ve helped you!

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  • Nice post. I agree. I may also use different words to describe similar mgmt methods.

    >> The Task (and also the technique)
    >> The Project
    >> The Business Program (aka the strategy – strategic initiatives)

    I also like the idea of using customer-focused labels for these tasks.

    To belabor the point a bit further, these may also map:

    >> The Engagement (tasks / techniques)
    >> The Experience (projects)
    >> Customer Benefits (programs)

    I think what you’ve outlined above is a great start if there aren’t already project/program mgmt specs for web professionals.

    The members of W.O.W. have been standardizing some of the tasks are for web professionals. For example, here’s some web consultant reqs for certification:
    http://joinwow.org/certification/cwcsb.html

    others are outlined for webmasters, web designers etc.

  • I'm really like this post. Thanks mate!

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