A good web production manager should know how your site works, know front end coding, and the CMS systems you use to publish out content. They should be able to troubleshoot technical issue for the team, set up new designs using newly created modules, document new designs and lead regression testing. Team members should have confidence their manager will have an answer or jump in and help them out.
I worked for many years managing a group of publishers and coders that were located across the globe. The most challenging part of my job was dealing with time zones and various “hot” tools my managers wanted us to use. I could not begin to tell you all the latest and greatest new tools we were told to use, that didn’t help at all – yet high level executives wanted us to use for their flash.
Overall, It was a very rewarding experience. The thing I liked the best, was for me to get publishers up to a level where they could move on. They spent time learning more coding, learning our CMS, and how to work through projects with product owners and were able to leave fulfilled and get better opportunities with other companies. I, of course wanted my resources to stay forever, but that normally doesn’t happen. I actually didn’t realize I was doing that, but after a few folks moved on – to other roles, they were always so nice to let me know they learned a lot and were so happy to have been a part of the team. It was the best part of being a manager, because in essence, you should grow your group – like a teacher would do, so they feel empowered enough to move on and take on more challenges.
The key, I’ve found over the years, is to be a manager that actually does the same work they do, get into the system, take projects on, because then you can clearly see what your team is dealing with and plan and fix processes to help your group do a better job. At times it was re-training, other times it was only documentation, but there is always something you can do, you just have to be in “it” with them to understand.
Keys to success –
- Keep your group out of constant meetings – be the filter between them and business so they can focus on coding and not the back and forth content strategy discussion that can happen.
- Get clear definitions of the project – everything technical to design
- Scope project correctly for them – if you are assigning to a resource already working on 5 other projects, make sure they understand deadlines and priorities.
- Negotiate with the business owners – let them know you can do certain things quickly but other projects – such as more complex new designs, have to be scheduled out.
- Document SLA’s for the groups – for every type of project.
- Document Web Templates so that you have them for easy consumption if a resource leaves or for reference.
- Don’t schedule too many meetings.
- Be available on IM as much as possible if issues arise.
- When new templates or designs are introduced, document them and review them with the group.