I asked LinkedIn group members to comment on my recent blog post covering four key tasks that are consistently underestimated in web projects.

Here's a link to the original post:
Hidden Costs in Website Development Projects
and below is the input from some very knowledgeable people on LinkedIn:

Steve Gogolak
Director of Media and Broadcasting at Cramer

First and foremost is a lack of proper discovery. Many clients don't realize the need to get to the bottom of what their requirements are. Instead they want to jump right into design because that makes them feel like something is actually happening. Fleshing out what the overall goals of the site are before you move into actual design and development work is critical.
In my mind you pay for discovery in one of two ways:
* You understand the need and are willing to pay for it, so you hire a company to do an analysis of your business objectives and how your website will play into them.
* You think that your website is "just a design" and you are not willing to pay for a formal discovery, so instead the company you hire moves right into design and then when you're 75% through the project you realize that it's not what you need and "discover" what you really need.
So the question becomes, "do you want to pay for the work to be done twice or do you want to pay more for it to be done once, but with a great end-result?"
Without a doubt that is the #1 problem that everyone encounters

Derek Archambault
Marketing Manager at Dean Foods

I've been on both sides of the table developing web sites: both as the designer/developer AND as the client. In either case, the biggest issues are:
- Making sure that the web site does what it needs to; don't put up "brochureware" if you're trying to do ecommerce, etc. etc.
- Getting the focus needed to get all the information necessary. This is particularly true when starting from scratch - very few people have all the necessary write-ups of their history, "about us" products, etc. that they will need for their web site and they totally underestimate how much time that will take.

Shari Monnes
Owner, Marketing Consultant and Monnes Marketing Communications

...what about when clients resist or fail to completely gain input and buy-in from all stakeholders within the company for the web site redesign at the planning stage? This can lead to huge delays as well as increase the budget. For example, if sales absolutely needs a system to track referrals and distributor codes, or display different information by region, country or distributor, but nobody in Marketing thought it was important and didn't think to include it in the site specifications, it can be a huge issue to add something like that at the last stage of database development. Starting the process with some sort of meeting or workshop to get everyone on the same page and gather all input up front is important. Amazing that some people don't do it.

Sharon Shepard
Marketing Communications Manager at Mentor Graphics

Not to mention management buy in and not making the decision making team too large. I have also been on both sides and it is no fun to be two weeks before launch date and find out that management had a different idea on direction. When a project team is too large this kicks the live date out considerably. Everyone THINKS they know about website design but very few actually do.

Mike Ciolino
Founder and Creative Director at Verve Creative

All great points. Many of our clients have never been involved with a web development project before and thus hold misinformed or unrealistic expectations - That which they don't know that they don't know.
Might I add two additional issues to this list - Not recognizing the distinction between web development and content development and misjudging the learning curve, time and effort involved with content development and management after launch.
Everyone wants content management (CMS) however few want to learn the basic IT processes (such as how to use FTP to upload a file) Often clients ask for a laundry list of features however they are not prepared to allocate the effort, resources and training needed to maintain and support these features.

Ryan Vong
Senior Marketing manager at BDNA Corp

I just came into a website redesign where personas and wireframes were missed and the group was going in many directions on the design without anything to base it on. We're now back on track and the project is moving forward.

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