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5.0 out of 5 stars Learn web project practice.
In fact, I found that market lacks such kind of book, of course, immersing into technical training and knowledge is important. However, how can we coordinate the project with several people? How to deal with the clients? What kind of contingency planning and preparation do you need for the client and other parties? This book, at least, gives you a rough idea how to...
Published on Sept. 4 2000 by Anthony Lai Cheuk Tung

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3.0 out of 5 stars Web development's central challenge: not speed but diversity
(Reviewer's note: since this review was first written, Ashley Friedlein's "Web Project Management" has arrived on the market. It outshines "Collaborative Web Development" in almost every way.)
As new dot.coms joing the late-2000 not.coms, it's becoming more and more obvious that parts of the Web development industry are remarkably badly run. The...
Published on Nov. 13 2000 by David Walker


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3.0 out of 5 stars Web development's central challenge: not speed but diversity, Nov. 13 2000
By 
David Walker (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
(Reviewer's note: since this review was first written, Ashley Friedlein's "Web Project Management" has arrived on the market. It outshines "Collaborative Web Development" in almost every way.)
As new dot.coms joing the late-2000 not.coms, it's becoming more and more obvious that parts of the Web development industry are remarkably badly run. The stories of mismanagement at Boo.com were just the start. After ditching a quarter of its staff, Iam.com has sued its Web development firm, Razorfish, for producing an unusable site. Ex-employees of Digital Entertainment Network are swapping tales about the weirdness of trying to get anything done there. Web sites need to be managed, and the evidence suggests the task is harder than it appears.
Why so tough? Analysts often claim that the defining characteristic of Web project management is speed - that famous "Internet time" we heard so much about before the April 2000 tech-wreck.
But Jessica Burdman doubts that time is the essence of the Web development challenge. She notes the often similarly aggressive schedules in fields like software creation. (She could just as easily cite television and print production guidelines.)
Burdman's book suggests instead that the central challenge of Web development is the sheer breadth of the Web development task. That task encompasses everything from application programming to direct marketing copywriting to Internet security to video production. The people who perform these tasks will arrive with different backgrounds, different expectations, different requirements for a work environment. Burdman expands on 20 different types of core, extended and special team members. One site manager comments to her that development managers "become more like an orchestra conductor than a project manager".
In smaller projects - typical of the environment in Australia, from where I'm writing - team members must often play multiple roles. That elevates the demands both on the assembler of the team, and on the team members themselves.
The diverse nature of the Web team also poses a substantial communications challenge. In a family, notes Burdman, everyone can communicate almost intuitively. The same holds for families of designers, programmers or sales professionals. Assemble people from these different families for a project, and the non-verbal, implied communication must be reconstructed.
But the broad nature of the Web team brings rewards as well. In a world of narrow specialisation, Web development provides a rare haven for the talented generalist who can think in structures and processes.
And if your project involves high-level coding, your development team will contain a rich pool of structured intelligences - good programmers, who can bring rich insights to a project. Burdman quotes one technology director as saying that "(software) engineers must participate in every step of the process ... They're smart people and if you have them all in the room, great things can happen."
If you're new to Web project management, then Burdman provides an informal checklist for managing Web projects. Her book whisks you across the little-mapped territory of Web project management in just over 200 pages. And it concentrates on the team-intensive aspects of the task, which necessarily occur later in the development cycle.
Burdman spent time as a technical writer before she "stumbled into Web project management". Perhaps as a result, her book suffers a little from the classic shortcoming of the technical writer's product: overview without authority. A better book might not only list the challenges, but draw attention to the challenges that matter most. A better book might draw less on the author's small group of sometimes disorganised-sounding friends. A better book might embrace more fully the rigor of established fields like software development, where effective methodologies such as use cases have grown up over time. A better book might avoid telling slips, such as calling "requirements" a layman's term for "specifications". A better book might even include higher-quality documentation templates than the lightweight efforts on this volume's obligatory CD.
But if you're wondering why Web development management seems so tough, there are worse places to start.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless, Oct. 27 2000
By 
Paul Boos (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
I found this book practically worthless; I had hoped it would cover and the table of contents seemed to indicate that it would have practical advice in the following areas:
- a web development methodology: it doesn't at all - it vaguely even covers a process - techniques for successful implementation: it doesn't it provides some moderatley useful guidance, but hardly techniques that provide a foundation for best practices - examples/recommendations of appropriate standards that should be adopted: few if any recommendations were made and even funnier was the recommendations ofr tools, standards, and methods paragraph on page 79: I quote "Once you have taken a look at your communications structure, you can start to put some best practices into effect." That is it - that is the whole paragraph! - what are the challenges to developing a dynamic - data driven website with real applications: these are largely ignored or glossed over. This book focuses on typical "uploading content as static web pages" type projects.
I could rant on several more, but it woudl be pointless. There are some inconsistencies in advice - almost like the book was written at very different times, or by different people. Page 39 supposedly gives you guidance on managing virtual teams, but then page 182 says there is nothing more effective than basically doing MBWA (that's management by walking around - a type of management style advocated many moons ago by professionals and such...). Hmmm... how do I virtually walk around - needless to say, page 39 had not enough detail to help.
Recommendation: Save your money and forget this one, buy a standard software project management book focused on RAD/JAD development.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learn web project practice., Sept. 4 2000
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
In fact, I found that market lacks such kind of book, of course, immersing into technical training and knowledge is important. However, how can we coordinate the project with several people? How to deal with the clients? What kind of contingency planning and preparation do you need for the client and other parties? This book, at least, gives you a rough idea how to deal with some project handling.
In the past, project handling is such a kind of management skill, however, the author agrees that working in advertisement and IT industries are perfectly merits as being a web-tech project manager, they need a quick thought and fast response, especially those have technical knowledge. Sometimes, some managerial guys do not understand the feasability and difficulty on the implementation indeed...^_^.
For this book,it converys a message how to conduct web project management in a concise way. 1) How to deal with your members? Their skillsets? 2) How to negotiate with your clients?(The most important point is that how can you "fix" the project scope/requirement instead of let it extending continuously. Many projects become endless due to their contract has not been explicitly signed and the requirement is not completedly collected. Of course, it needs changes but author suggests us to put the extra stuff to next phrase. REMEMBER: target on deadline and cost) 3) How to break down your tasks? 4) How to convey appropriate documents/contracts/schedules?
Arrr...there are some examples to demostrate the project management techniques as well, to show whether it is good or not.
A comprehensive web project management guide for me..but in fact, when I go to [...] to take the project manager exam, I think I need to dig into more theories for project management, then I intend to buy a more serious management book instead.
For me, I learn a lot from this book and it helps me how to understand some management routines. Of course, there are still many unexpected events during the project cycles. As the book mention and suggest... Being a project manager, you need to be... 1) Get a cool-headed mind. 2) Be humorous 3) Well-Organised 4) Good Communication with others.
Those sentences are still on my mind.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Project Manager's Guide to Managing Web Projects!, June 17 2000
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
This is an excellent book for the person charged with managing a web development project for the first time, but who already has solid experience in project management per se. There are five areas in particular that are covered by the author which are quite helpful:
1) the roles and responsibilities of the individual members of the project team,
2) an overview of the planning process that should precede any web site production,
3) a framework for communication between team members, third-party suppliers and the client,
4) how to build quality assurance into web project development, and
5) a comprehensive guide to useful resources on the web.
While a previous reviewer criticized the comprehensive resource guide as a mistake, pointing out that these resources are mostly out of date, I see it as a positive and laudable effort to introduce the web's fundamental strength (that of linking to other resources) into traditional media. This in essence is what the author means by "collaborative web development": a direct collaboration between team members, third-party suppliers and the client and an indirect collaboration with other suppliers through resources and technologies available via the web. More authors should follow suit!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Most of the Way there, but...., April 3 2000
By 
K. Schiff (Wilton, CT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
Give Jessica Burdman credit for concept and the wealth of practical tools, techniques and insights. This is an excellent book, especially for those who are trying to transfer their knowledge/skills from another field.
I'm in the process of working with writers and project managers who are coming from the more traditional publishing world. They are hungry for prescriptive formulas, guidelines, templates and checklists. This book (and CD) has them. They also want streamlined overview information about the technical side (the stuff they are really scared about), and this book has that too. I have seen nothing else like this book and for the moment the material is still fresh and relevant.
Ms. Burdman has lots of real life experience and her writing shows it. The anecdotal information and the interviews that are included further support the practical impact. Where the book begins to fall apart is that the interviews are not representative enough of the rest of the world. Many of the cited people fall into a small circle that she is acquainted with. IMHO, this dilutes the material's impact.
Also, given that this book is about a world that moves really quickly, Burdman's publisher made a big mistake in handling the resource information in the appendix. The software products cited are already out of date, and with each day this type of information becomes more and more irrelvant. It would have been better to point readers to an on-line resource center that is kept up-to-date.
If you are hardcore and have been doing work like this for years, this book is not for you. If you are looking for an organized and practical framework to use if you've been shooting from the hip, the book does the trick. Absolutely essential reading for the novice web project manager!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for any Web Design & Consulting Business!, Feb. 23 2000
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
Jessica Burdman has written Collaborative Web Development to assist companies to establish a team concept of Web development. She offers a sound blueprint for Web development that will allow a number of creative individuals to make their own contributions and for companies to better manage every stage of development from beginning to end.
Burdman lays down a solid foundation for establishing a serious Web development team. She identifies key team members and their individual responsibilities, she will assist project managers to break down and assign specific project responsibilities, and she will help companies to better manage their people and business policies. Burdman offers noteworthy advice on handling client matters such as payments, their involvement in the Website design process, dealing with roadblocks, thorny issues, and meeting deadlines.
A central theme emphasized throughout the book is good communication at all levels of development. Burdman will assist companies large and small to work through the many issues they will face, including many that will stretch their patience thin. The accompanying CD contains a number of helpful demoware development programs and other essential tools to meet a variety of Web development needs. Highly recommended for any Web design and consulting business environment!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for those in the industry, Sept. 27 2000
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This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
This is a book which I honestly wish I've read a year ago (when suddenly I found myself to be a project manager of a large-scale dynamic web-site). It could have saved me much stress and grief. All the chapters were relevant - but for me, particularly the one about large-scale sites - I recognised many of the issues that I had to deal with. Knowing what I know now, I will deal with things much different next time.
It is a comfortable read, and I've read it cover to cover. Minor complaint: First person writing style eg: I will let my project-managers do x.
The CD-rom is not very useful. Old versions of crippleware, and incomplete documentation - for example the very important functional specification has bits missing. (Unfortunately there is not a printed copy in the book, and I could not find an update on the publisher's web-site either). The appendix about "current" technology is already dated (a year after publication).
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4.0 out of 5 stars For Project Managers to-be, only., Jan. 4 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
This book is written for web project managers to-be. I don't believe it will be very useful to experienced project managers. This book is good for people transitioning to web project manager / producer positions. I have several years of marketing management experience and am about to start a web producer position. So this book provided a good basic overview of web project management principles. For a rigorous treatment of navigation, design, info architecture, and other essential topics, I suggest you rely on O'Reilly as so many Amazon web category reviewers have done.
I gave this book four stars because it is so thorough (truly a mile wide and an inch deep). But it doesn't get 5 stars because it was so poorly edited. Every chapter includes glaring grammatical mistakes, and in some cases even spelling errors. I question whether the editor (Elizabeth Spainhour) ever read this book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to how Web teams work, Oct. 7 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
I give a copy of this book to new hires at my company (a small NYC Web marketing and development firm) who are entry level or do not have past experience working as part of a diversified Web development team.
This book is probably not totally "eye-opening" to those who have worked at any of the well established Web agencies/development companies (like me), but it's still useful to compare notes on your own production process and best practices versus that described in Burdman's book (basically Red Sky Interactive's process). And the CD with sample forms is interesting and may inspire some processes you might want to try.
The only way this book could be a bit better is if it had more "what to do when X happens". There are standard process errors and client demands/misunderstandings that result in various process issues that could be addressed in this book more thoroughly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good resource for project managers new to the web, June 12 2001
By 
Geoff Choo (Trento, Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Collaborative Web Development: Strategies and Best Practices for Web Teams (Paperback)
I'm a web project manager and this book helped me struggle through the initial years of my career. It's a good basic guide to what to do and what not to do in managing web projects, and it would be a good starting point for further research and study using other books, like Siegel's Secret of Successful Projects.
As the title point outs, this is a book about collaborative projects. It's a little thin on the formal techniques of project management, but it's unbeatable on the soft skills of web project management: building the right web team, and how to communicate with them and your clients.
I've used the knowledge I learnt in this books to manage web projects for European blue-chip clients, and it's one of the few books that I keep going back to, for web project management information.
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