Getting things done in a large company can be complicated. It does not matter if you manage just SEO or responsible for the whole site; if you just joined a global company or contracting for one. You will need to work with multiple teams, fulfill a variety of requests, and communicate with many stakeholders. Processes will help you be successful, efficient, and transparent.
If you are working at a large company or about to take one on as a client, you are acutely aware of the complex structure of an enterprise. It is not a big surprise that you need to develop manageable workflows and communicate processes to get anything done. For projects, you establish milestones, checklists, requirements, templates, service level agreements (SLAs), and deadlines. For one-off tasks you put systems in place that allow stakeholders to quickly submit a request (like a ticketing system).
In this post I will focus on creating processes for website management as a part of enterprise modeling. I will describe interactions and communication between various stakeholders. Our “product” is a functioning website, where we provide a “service” - fulfill requests to update content, add new pages, or implement functionality on the website. To administer the website, we are using a content management system (CMS) that is governed by a set of rules and standards.
Integration Of Business, Processes & Technology
Enterprise size companies require enabling infrastructure to achieve high level of business, processes and technology integration. Whether you are fulfilling only SEO requests or broad level tasks and projects for website management , you will need organization and workflows.
Optimize For Outcomes
Start with outcomes. Define what you are expected to deliver and who (which teams) are your stakeholders. Review each of your delivery processes and optimize for the outcome. Look for bottlenecks and time wasting steps. Identify key people who need to be involved and exclude the rest. Standardize as much as possible. Automate where you can. Reduce or optimize reviews.
Reviews are tricky. Some stakeholders require more reviews to save time on development. Here is what I mean. When you are working with original requirements, it is quite possible that the requestor does not have a clear picture of what they are asking for. By scheduling frequent reviews with such stakeholder (or team), you will be able to adjust quickly during development and avoid re-doing everything after the final deliverable feedback. Even though you have done everything exactly to specifications, you will still have to make changes if your stakeholder does not like what you produced. Schedule development reviews and make changes as you go.
There are three types of requests you will handle: something is broken (a bug), page needs updating or deleting (publishing task), and a new page (pages) or functionality request.
A ticketing system can help organize simple requests – bugs and publishing tasks. All stakeholders need to know how to open a ticket and how to monitor the task status. They would need to know when to test and approve the fix, and when it will be live in production. As an SEO, provide clear instructions and checklists to Technology team that modifies the website. Explain how to handle deleted pages (where to send 301 re-direct), what titles, descriptions and URLs to give to the new pages, and to make sure the sitemap is updated, etc.
Complicated requests turn into projects. Projects are usually placed on a road map. They require project management, timeline, milestones, go live date and resource allocation. They need formal documentation of requirements, use cases, test cases, scheduled user acceptance testing (UAT), approvals, and release process. Any project starts with a request to the Digital Marketing team (or the team that runs the website). They drive design and the project kick-off where the project is introduced to all involved. Then, the project is placed on the road map. Technology team defines detailed requirements with use cases, handles development, QA, UAT and push to production site.
It is important to define roles for each participating team. If an image is missing, who will contact the creative services team? If the content is not optimized for SEO, who will work this out with the product team? In most companies, Digital Marketing team works with product and field marketing teams to obtain content and interacts with creative services team regarding design, images, video, etc. Digital Marketing team controls the overall website strategy, approves content to match marketing messaging and follow brand guidelines. Digital Marketing team works closely with CRM and Campaigns teams which might be using Marketo or Eloqua for lead generation. Good process accounts for dependencies on lead form implementation or campaign launch requirements. Technology team (IT or MarTech) implements the website changes and functionality. They are responsible for QA, deployment, technology, and compliance. Comprehensive workflow triggers communication with SEO and Analytics teams so they can add their requirements to the new project specifications. Analytics team will most likely add and check tags. SEO will ensure that the pages are indexed, not duplicated, have proper meta tags, and optimized for targeted audience.
It is also necessary to define change management process to take care of the changes during development. If you neglect to put one in place, you will be constantly making changes, jeopardize proper QA, and will inevitably miss your go-live date. Change management process sets expectations to the stakeholders describing which changes can be made during the course of development and which ones will be moved to the next release phase.
Marketing Operations team usually facilitates workflows between multiple teams, creates and supports processes. Operational support provides clear expectations about dates, input requirements, SLAs, UAT instructions and changes. Marketing Operations team facilitates dialogues between stakeholders: schedules regular meetings, sends out announcements, generates templates for content copy, manages ticketing system. They define process triggers, outcomes, tasks, workflows, deadlines.
Clear outcomes, clear roles, collaboration between teams and process owners improve performance of all teams and result in financial benefit for the whole company.
When designing processes, make them as simple as possible with as few players as possible. Define the process using guidance from people who are closest to it. Explain the strategic purpose and value of the process to everyone involved. Ensure executive buy-in and enforcement.
Every process should have an owner who has responsibility and authority to design and change the process based on performance. All teams involved should follow the process. Otherwise, it would not be possible to deliver a high quality product on time. Revise and adjust the process to avoid situations when people try to take shortcuts or workarounds; explain why every step is important to complete. Measure the process performance. Effective and efficient process should ultimately align with enterprise performance indicators.
Value Of Processes For Enterprise Companies
Processes are key to any enterprise performance. You will be productive and efficient if your processes have clear goals, alignment, trustworthy metrics, robust infrastructure, executive support, cross-functional teams collaboration, continuous adjustment and automation.
Many teams with many functions require infrastructure with a high level of integration. Without systems in place, it would be costly and inefficient – near impossible – to manage the company, let alone a company website. If you are an individual contributor or a part of a team, consistency, clarity, and solid process infrastructure will help you keep everyone on the same page. Align your processes with company metrics, obtain executive support and promote accountability.
Use processes to improve performance by streamlining the workflow and setting expectations. Use templates and checklists to eliminate waiting for missing information or forgetting to complete an important step. Work with QA team to include quality control in appropriate processes. Strive for maximum simplicity. Ensure transparency through effective communication.
Predictable process provides clarity, eliminates wastefulness and mistakes. Communicating within the team and out to stakeholders will not only help avoid confusion, but will allow you to spot missing and broken processes. Devote time to training. If you can, add training courses to your company’s training system and make them available to all stakeholders.
Work at an enterprise does not need to be slow, inefficient, and complex. You can make it fast, agile, and lean. All you need is the right process.
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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com