After you complete a website do you review the project and try to measure the results? Was the project successful or a failure?
I have built my share of websites, both for myself and for clients, and find that measuring the success for these can be very different.
It is easy to measure the success of my personal websites. Before starting a new project I set some pretty clear goals, and I’m usually one of the two people involved in building the website so it easy to measure my impact on the project and whether it reached its goal. I usually measure my performance using the following metrics:
I’ll often measure the success of websites on the traffic levels they achieve. Metrics such as monthly page views, and unique visitors, to RSS feed subscribers are often a good measure of success. When I started Design By Grid I wanted to build a resource for other designers, so I set myself a target of 500 RSS feed subscribers in the first 6 months.
I often build websites to assist me in performing tasks. Most Inspired for example was originally built to help me find sites for Light on Dark. I was tired to browsing all the existing CSS galleries each day to find new Light on Dark sites, so the idea of a CSS gallery aggregator came about. Most Inspired saved me time each day and helped to keep Light on Dark full of fresh content.
Some sites are built to make money, if they don’t they are a failure, if they do they are a success, simple!
It can be more difficult to measure my performance for a project built for a client. Yes, the client will often have their own goals for the website, against which you are ultimately measured, however the client can themselves be an obstacle in getting the job done. Maybe they don’t get you the information you need, when you need it, or provide you feedback you need as the project progresses.
On projects for clients I usually am working as part of a larger team where the success of the project will be affected by the performance of the other team members as well as my own.
Finally the client can go against your recommendations for a certain aspects of the projects perhaps excluding a feature you recommended, or including elements you recommended be left out, which may affect the overall results of the project, sometimes for the better — some times not.
Some ways that I use to measure my performance on larger projects are:
Was I able to complete all my tasks on the agreed upon schedule?
Whilst my ability to complete tasks on schedule may be affected by external factors, keeping things moving or keeping the schedule up-to-date as timelines change is an important skill.
Quality of the final product
Does your contribution to the product perform according to the specification or design brief? Are you happy with what you submitted to the client for approval? These are often good measure for success.
When working with other people, how did I get along with them? Was everyone able to work together well on the project or where you constantly at odds with other team members?
Since I am providing a service to the client, this is sometimes the ultimate performance measure. The deadline may have been missed or certain features left out for later phases of the project, but if the client is happy with the results I have cause to be satisfied with your performance.
Everyone will have their own way to measure their performance, so how do you measure your performance on personal and client projects? Or do you not worry about such things?