Web enabling insurance products and processes is often a complicated process requiring the input of many people. So how do you keep the project in control? Based on my experience guiding multiple projects, here are some guidelines for effective Web-development projects with multiple players.

There are five areas of major consideration. They are:

  • Defining the scope
  • Defining communications protocols
  • Enforcing effective communications (thwarting behind the scenes discussions and side-conversations)
  • Change-management during the project
  • Potential landmines

Today I’ll discuss defining the scope. The rest will come later.

The thing about building Web sites is that often times an idea comes from a traditional marketer who wants to use the Web to compliment or replace traditional channels. Thus they have a “general idea” about what they want to accomplish, but they have limited knowledge about the execution part.

At the same time, there is often a carrier involved who also has limited Web-based marketing experience. But they also have ideas for the project.

So the first and most important step is to define the scope of the project.

To do that, outline:

  • The primary concepts – What are we trying to do?
  • The business objectives – How will top-line revenue or bottom-line costs be impacted? Or both?
  • A reasonable time frame – Can it be completed in three months or less?
  • A reasonable amount of new technology – Not too much; not too little.
  • Anything else should go into Phase Two.

Once you’ve defined the scope, make sure all parties are in agreement. Then make sure the roles and processes are well defined. Who is going to do what by when?

I’d strongly encourage a carrier to hire an experienced, Web-savvy, independent consultant for the project. I’ve started to see this more and more and it really works well. The consultant’s experience in developing Web sites is invaluable in keeping the project on time and within scope.

Next week: Defining Communications Protocols, or who decides what and tells whom when.