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5.0 out of 5 stars Destined to Become a Project Management Classic
I should have read this book three years ago. Web Project Management presents a solid Web project management method for building commercial web sites.
The book reads as if Ashley Friedlein, the author made many of the same mistakes I made. The wisdom encapsulated between the covers of this well written, easy-to-understand volume will serve web site project managers...
Published on Oct. 5 2001 by Craig L. Howe

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1.0 out of 5 stars A worthless piece of writing...
We were made to buy this book for a class in "Document Design & Information Management" and we were using this book as a reference for the class about making and maintaining a portal page. This book was full of org. charts, Dilbert cartoons, case studies and nice graphics and that is about it. It lacks real information and misses information about the actual...
Published on April 12 2001 by A. G. You


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4.0 out of 5 stars Please read the full review., June 30 2003
By 
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
Intro
"There is no one book that is best for every person. There couldn't be one. People are too different in the way they learn, in what they already know, in what they need, in what they want, and in what kind of effort they are willing to make." Bjarne Stroustrup (The creator of the C++ programming language.)
I always try to remember this whenever I have to judge a writing effort.
Whom is this book for?
This book is for anybody interested in managing a web project or being part of a well managed one. (Need to be more specific read my conclusion?)
What does this Book offer?
The book seems to offer tips more than any thing else, some guidelines about the roles of personals in a web team, a "Web project method", and a case study.
The part regarding web teams seems to be good and gives a lot of insight.
The case study is full of tips.
The method, (Here where my good feeling change) a high level view, full with tips but no real details, never the less seems to be good.
What I liked?
This book is very well written, tips every where (even in the acknowledgments), the graphics are nice, and is good for the right people.
What I didn't?
If you didn't, go read the Stroustrup quote I wrote in order not to miss understand me, the book didn't help me a lot, I m a web developer searching for an all around web process to follow in my projects, and this book simply doesn't offer. The writers seem to ignore that there are software systems behind those web sites. More details wouldn't have harmed.
Conclusion
I feel that the most people that would benefit reading this book are already practicing web project managers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Destined to Become a Project Management Classic, Oct. 5 2001
By 
Craig L. Howe (Darien, CT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
I should have read this book three years ago. Web Project Management presents a solid Web project management method for building commercial web sites.
The book reads as if Ashley Friedlein, the author made many of the same mistakes I made. The wisdom encapsulated between the covers of this well written, easy-to-understand volume will serve web site project managers for years to come.
The author breaks web site construction into 4 distinct phases: Pre-production, Production, Maintenance and Evaluation. Pre-production is broken into 3 stages: Project Clarification, Solution Definition, and Project Specification. Pre-production ranks as the most important stage; it represents the time when you work out what is to be achieved and plan how you will do it.
Production consists of the following stages: Content, Design and Construction, Testing, Launch and Handover. I found the author's attention to content complications particularly interesting. In my experience, content is the area where web site designers and builders are the weakest, yet plays one of the most critical roles in the users' return.
Maintenance plays a critical role in the updating and evolution of the site, so that it can retain and grow its user base.
The final phase, Evaluation, is something of great importance to site builders and clients. Clients are demanding their web sites provide a return on investment. Sites must perform a commercial as well as a branding and marketing function to justify continued investment. If a financial benefit can be established, it is much easier to receive continued funding for existing projects or to undertake new ones.
If you are involved-however tangentially-with web site development and support, you owe it to yourself to have a well-worn copy of this book gracing your bookshelves. Friedlein writes from experience - and that experience will save you time, money and quite a few headaches.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The only effective approach I have come across, March 28 2001
By 
Mike Tarrani "Jazz Drummer" (Deltona, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
This book is not about project management. In fact, someone versed in the Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge will cringe at some of the statements made in the book (more about that below). It is, however, about delivering successful commercial web sites and it provides the best approach I have ever seen.
Here are some of the things that make this not only unique, but the most authoritative book I have read on the subject:
(1) It is not an IT centric book that focuses on technical issues. The author brings to the forefront the real critical success factors in the form of four equal sets of requirements: commercial, creative, content and technical. In 2000 I was a member of a multi-million dollar dot com project team for a large international company, and from that experience I totally agree with the author's view.
(2)The author manages to balance the time-to-market pressures that permeate commercial web projects with the by-the-numbers method imposed by IT. As such, this book addresses the development life cycle from inception to production by aligning implementation to development life cycle stages. It manages to accomplish this and still cut the project's cycle time by removing any fluff. What is fluff? The tons of non-essential paperwork produced by some of the larger consulting companies. What is not missing are the essentials, as evidenced by the repeated emphasis on testing, the attention given to configuration and change management, and the realities of post-implementation support. These are extremely important and are too often overlooked.
(3) The project controls that are proposed in this book are exceptional. While the author muddles through stuff like the proper definition of critical path, he shows how to effectively control a project by managing to deliverables. Contrast this with the common mistake of managing to a schedule and you will see the real effectiveness of his methods. So, while he misses the mark on some project management fundamentals, he sure makes up for it in pragmatism. He also makes up for his "transgressions" by laying out a project roadmap that, if followed, will guarantee success. If we project management "purists" lighten up a bit while reading this stuff we might learn a trick or two.
The big surprise is the author is not an IT professional - his background is TV producer! Or, perhaps it's not a surprise at all considering the fact that there is no room for failure or missed production schedules in the TV industry, while the IT profession is notorious for massive schedule and cost overruns. What impressed me greatly is the wide range of technical issues that are addressed: browser compatibility, content formats, scripting languages, etc. For someone without an IT background the author demonstrates a solid grasp of real-life issues and gotchas.
Those of us in IT need to carefully read the parts that address creative and content management. We are used to working with technical peers from vendors - working with copywriters and artists requires a wholly different way of interacting and communicating. Moreover, content needs to be treated in an entirely different matter than data, and it also comes with an array of legal issues that we are not trained to think about.
What I discovered , despite my previous involvement with a commercial web project, is there are so many factors I had never considered prior to reading this book that most projects are flying blind. As such, this book should be read by every team member, creative, content (artists and copywriters), technical, legal and commercial (marketing)*before* undertaking such a project. This will ensure that the entire team sees the big picture and understands the complex interrelationships, and all issues and factors are addressed. Mr. Friedlein deserves the highest accolades for making what I believe to be the most significant contribution to this field. My only regret is that I am limited to 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unhailed landmark of Web development, March 21 2001
By 
David Walker (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
Rushing wildly to develop Web sites as fast as possible, the industry of Web development has until now avoided developing any standard work methods for itself. Now, Ashley Friedlein has filled that void with 302 pages of method, in a book titled Web Project Management. After you've bought it and studied it thoroughly you'll know how Web development should work. ArsDigita founder Philip Greenspun is correct in his back-cover declaration that "a lot of people will end up owing their jobs to this book".
Make no mistake; it's a readable textbook with a few light touches, rather than an amusing memoir. The hyper-prosaic title reflects Friedlein's style. He has focused on the essentials. In doing so, he has nailed all four of the characteristics that a book of this type needs:
* It covers Web project management from end to end. After pinpointing what makes a good project manager, it moves through project stages from preproduction all the way to post-project evaluation. The book's table of contents is itself a solid checklist of the tasks you'll need to cover in a typical Web project.
* It covers issues in necessary detail. The pages on budgeting, for instance, include such issues as checking for software licensing gotchas like per-processor software pricing. There's a simple, sensible example of how to implement version control on project documents. Such detail is particularly important in a field like Web project management, which is recruiting from fields as diverse as C++ software development and TV journalism.
* It's authoritative. Time and time again, Friedlein pinpoints the key issues in a specific Web project management task. His three-page table comparing the strengths and weaknesses of various site activity measures is the pithiest around. The section on that relatively little-known field called content management homes straight in in on the toughest issues - total cost of ownership, standards compliance and performance. In many places, he uses concepts (for instance, detailed technical specifications) established during the past thirty-odd years of software development.
* It's realistic. Friedlein understands how unpredictable and changeable Web projects are. Rather than decrying the fact, he outlines ways of responding to change and spotting risk areas. This realism shows through clearly in his single, highly detailed and candid case study - an account of building [a web site]. It also shows through in countless specific pieces of well-informed advice. ("Usually the most time-consuming part of creating a database-driven Web application is getting the data itself in the specified format and structure and getting it clean.")
Friedlein delivers these four essentials with a discipline which would win him respect from project managers in any industry. Yes, he makes the standard noises about Web project management's unique challenges. But he also borrows extensively from the wisdom and rigour which software project managers have developed over the past third of a century. And beyond that, he understands the unchanging project management challenge: that change breeds chaos, and that project management can tame this chaos by setting clear task agendas. It's this management mindset that should ensure the Friedlein volume supplants Jessica Burdman's 1999 volume Collaborative Web Development.
Friedlein's background suggests he was born to the task rather than trained for it: he spent time as a television producer before jumping to the Web around 1997. But his employer, the large UK new media agency pres.co (now Wheel) clearly exposed him to practices more rigorous than were in use in most late-nineties Web development shops.
Why has Web Project Management not already garnered acclaim and bestseller status? Largely because its author lives and works in Britain, denying him and his publishers the opportunity to schmooze directly and full-time with the US West Coast digerati. This book's lack of fame gives you all the more opportunity to get a jump on other Web project managers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The best so far, Dec 15 2000
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
To date we have had to rely upon general project management works or those coming from software engineering. But we know that web development is different and difficult. There are so many concurrent projects and tasks, such crazy timeframes, so little client knowledge, such stress around scope creep, such demand to capture and reuse successful solutions, and no time to take stock.
Perhaps it's because most web project managers are so overwhelmed by the task they are simply too exhausted by the time the latest site is launched to even celebrate, let alone write a book.
This is the book I've been waiting for, placing the order on spec a couple of months before publication. It seems that no-one had written anything comprehensive previously - although Jessica Burdman's Collaborative Web Development is very informative, while covering a broader scope.
Friedlein writes with clarity. The book is practical, jargon free, and the words easy to digest. It clearly comes from a practitioner, not an academic or teacher. There is also no Jakob Nielsen pontification.
I found the benefits to be as follows: * It enabled me to reflect upon my company's web development processes and to identify areas of improvement. * It provided reinforcement for my concern that we were not expending sufficient resources in the planning, solution design and specification stages (pre-production). * It enabled expansion of my client's requirements checklist. * It gave me a new term: "virtuous spiral" - to graphical illustrate our need to do more to maintain, review and evaluate our client's sites after handover.
I particularly enjoyed the extensive case study - the Channel 5 project (although bemused that they ended up with a frames and Flash site). This left me thirsting for more of these reality checks.
Ashley Friedlein's company works on larger web projects than mine. While he has $500,000 jobs - our average is $50,000. Our company is much smaller at 60 knowledge workers. The result is less clarity of roles, need for production staff to be always across multiple teams and the joys of project managers juggling up to 10 projects at a time. The problems relating to organising projects in small web companies are not directly addressed - and I suggest a tome focused on this market could be a great success.
Friedlein places a greater deal of emphasis on managing content than I would have expected - although I'm thankful for it. However, in relation to our company practice, he seems to underplay the importance of managing the information architecure and interface design.
He places prototyping in the Production phase. In our company this falls within the solution design/specification stages of pre-production. Content is placed in Production where I would make it span both pre-production and production phases, so that as much content as possible is web ready before the build.
The book is subtitled "delivering successful commercial web sites". Emphasis is thus given to the e-commerce environment, while my company is much more concerned with community development and informational sites. By hey the former is where the market is - for now.
I believe this is an excellent read that is both relevant to project managers new to the web, and anyone in web development who wants clarity on what needs to be done to better manage projects and organise the production process.
What we need in order to build upon this book is a Web Project Managers' "portal" site. Here we could locate the available resources, exchange our case studies, problems, ideas etc - anyone interested?
PS. I am currently reading "90 Days to Launch: internet projects on time and on budget" by Shayne F. Gilbert. IMHO it's not a stratch on Mr Friedlein's book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Halfway into my first major commercial website redesign....., June 20 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
I could not be more impressed! My dog-eared, highlighted, underlined copy of this awesome roadmap to managing major web projects goes everywhere with me. The downloadable project plan from the author's website served as a good starting point for me to build a very usable project management outline. My level of experience in both project management and web development is mid level, and the book has given me the tools to manage through a fortune500 website relaunch, as well as food for thought on how to optimize all components of my site. It's not a technical book, it's a very detailed guide for project managers to manage launching a site, from planning to content development to technical specifications to launch. It's ideal for business (read marketing) sponsors who have been agitating for a redesign for years who suddenly get their budget minus the project manager to keep their heads above water. Definitely recommend for when you're tossed into that situation!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Add This Book to Your Must Have List!!, July 9 2001
By 
H. Dawson "V." (Los Angeles, CA.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
Excellent, excellent, excellent! If your a Project Manager who delivers web-based projects, then this book should definetly be in your collection. If your new to the world of Project Management for the internet, then this is the FIRST book you should read. Forget whatever negative comments you may read on this rating list, because those who dare to be critical have probably never delivered a web-based project. This book gives you a good base from which to start your research; giving you a good overview of the most important concepts, along with a reference section to help you along the way. If your trying to decide between this book and another...then take it from an experience PM when I tell you that you should choose this one first.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A worthless piece of writing..., April 12 2001
By 
A. G. You (Detroit, MI) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
We were made to buy this book for a class in "Document Design & Information Management" and we were using this book as a reference for the class about making and maintaining a portal page. This book was full of org. charts, Dilbert cartoons, case studies and nice graphics and that is about it. It lacks real information and misses information about the actual feasibility of conducting a project. I did not like the book and felt I wasted my money after reading it and gave me the feel as if this book was more suited to a high school class than it was actual project management.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still a solid methodology for Web Project Management, Feb. 13 2004
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
It has been about four years since this book's last edition came out, and it continues to top the list of Web Project Management references, and with reason for it. Its proven methodology provides a solid framework that you can relate to once and again, with confidence and permanently reminding of potential pitfalls and obstacles. In short, Friedlein's book provides the closest thing to a recipe for success with managing web projects: of course, you can always put in a little too much salt yourself, can't you? ;)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Made Life Easier for Me, Nov. 1 2001
This review is from: Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites (Paperback)
This is a great book. It's making my life a lot easier. It presents sound methodology if you are going to develop and build a commercial Web site. I am using it in school right now. It really defines terms in such a way that they are not just words that you toss around. By defining, describing and giving examples the terms become second nature and you actually understand in a logical fashion the integrated elements of designing and maintaining a commercial Web site.
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Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites
Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites by Ashley Friedlein (Paperback - Oct. 17 2000)
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