Monthly Archives: August 2011

Who are your stakeholders and how to plan a project

If you work for a small company with many interested parties with blurred demarcations of reponsibiliies through to a massive PLC, you will have a similar experience in successfully delivering a project.

Your project may be relatively straight forward or could be very complex choosing who to involve and choosing who not to can be the difference between a project being adopted by your business or it failing.

So, choosing who to involve can become a political nightmare!

Should you include them based on

  • Hierararchy,
  • Expert status,
  • Customer/Supplier rep or expert, or
  • Peer / Good practice / team mate who doesn’t want to be left out

One useful technical is to do “Stakeholder mapping”.

In this progress you should group them in the classic RACI model and then decide how to involve, inform or use their talents. And once you documented this, if anyone disagrees you have a paper trail of decisions and who was already involved!

The RACI model

RESPONSIBLE…..”R”

“The Doer”

The “doer” is the individual(s) who actually complete the task. The “doer” Is responsible for action/implementation. Responsibility can be shared. The degree of responsibility is determined by the individual with the “A”.

These can be named people or teams that take on the responsibility for delivering the tasks, auditing, feasibility studies, providing recommendations and advice.

ACCOUNTABLE…..”A”

“The Buck Stops Here”

The accountable person is the individual who is ultimately answerable for the activity or decision. This includes “yes” or “no” authority and veto power. Only one “A” can be assigned to an action.

This could also be called the “project sponsor”. This is typically the highest ranking job title in the room. Commonly a Director or in a big travel company a VP.

CONSULT…”C”

“In the Loop”

The consult role is individual(s) (typically subject matter experts) to be consulted prior to a final decision or action. This is a predetermined need for two-way communication. Input from the designated position is required.

This is an important role. This is commonly where us SEOs sit. We are there to lay out choices, to validate decisions and steer the solution to either having a positive SEO impact (even if not a classic SEO project) or at least providing no detrimental harm to your SEO stategies. Other classic people here are Solution Architects and Ecommerce directors.

INFORM…..”I”

“Keep in the Picture”

This is individual (s) who needs to be informed after a decision or action is taken. They may be required to take action as a result of the outcome. It is a one-way communication.

This can classically be the people who are on the weekly/monthly email round up. These maybe your other peers who you informing out of courtesy, the wider team or even other business units.

Communication styles

Depending on the type scales and longevity of the project how you choose to communicate. These methods can overlap.

R’s

– Little and often via email and face to face. If you  work in the same location this is easier to handle. Suggest that at least weekly 1-2-1’s are useful and ask them to document their steps, notes and status’ against them. This can, if appropriate form part of of your regular written communications.

A’s

– Face to face is normally best. Mixed with the written communications to all. If they can veto your project/recemmendations, it is always good to have them onboard all the way through .

C’s

– Normally you would organise this on a bespoke basis. This will very much depend on the topic and the complexity.

I’s

– Classically a weekly or monthly email depending on the scale and complexity of your project.

It is always good to ensure that you offer more contact to those who may legitimately or no previously known are realy R’s, A’s or C’s.

Google pre-rendering in Chrome 13 – an analytics nightmare

The recent launch of Chrome 13 (auto updates means you might already have it) is causing some problems with onsite analytics.

If you assume that when a page is called and the referring server is Google then most analytics packages will register that as a Visit. This functionality they call is “Pre-rendering”. I guess a clue is in the name!

This is what we have seen recently. You may not of noticed yet. You should check. If Chrome represents 5 to 15% of your users browsers and your SEO accounts for 15 to 50% of your traffic. You might just be celebrating a small but steady growth in SEO visits.

As Chromes popularity increases this will become more obvious. And if you are taking credit for visit growth, you may have some back tracking to do publicly in due course.

Symptoms

  • Your conversion rate is decreasing from your SEO traffic
  • That your single page visits and ‘bounce-rate’ is increasing

And, if you look at the browser profile of those two things and you may find your smokin’ gun.

How does it work?

If you have a plugin such as Firebug, activate it.  Open a Google SERPs and when you hover over the magnifying glass, watch the code actually change in its open connection.  You will see that it actually calls the page. And there lies your analytical headache.

What can you do about it?

  1. Understand if your analytics are affected by this. If not, you are lucky.
  2. You may need to update your tracking code on the site to accommodate this new behaviour
  3. Do some proactive explaining to your stakeholders

The cynical part of me may suggest that Google trying to be more relvant to users and speeding up their experience, may have a happy byproduct of disrupting all analytics providers that arent theirs !

References and notes

A big thank you to Jason Moorman who works in the analytics team who has done so much of the heavy lifting in this investigation which lead to this discovery.

Trip to Frankfurt – August 2011

For the first time in (can’t remember, think ’98) ages, we actually had some time to see the city that we were visiting. After a couple of hard days and harder nights the whole e-commerce team did a boat trip down the Main in Frankfurt. To be fair, Frankfurt for a small city has an impressive skyline, especially lit up at night. But a dull river side!! Entschuldigen Sie.

On Friday we had lunch on the boat and did this route.

River cruise in Frankfurt

River cruise in Frankfurt - the route

Then we had a full 8 mins to find a cab and get to the airport and make the long Friday night travel home.

Here are the photos taken while still walking through the main square.

Frankfurt's main square - statue

Frankfurt's main square - statue

and kept walking and saw

Frankfurt's main square - impressive buildings

Frankfurt's main square - impressive buildings

and kept walking and one more click…

Frankfurt's main square - town hall or church?

Frankfurt's main square - town hall or church?

The square is very pretty – shame I didn’t get a chance to know what it was all about ! At least I got to see some of the place I visited.

Alternatively we all could use technology to take our own time to look around.

[googlemap lat=”50.110382258285334″ lng=”8.682171106338501″ align=”center” width=”630px” height=”440px” zoom=”19″ type=”G_SATELLITE_MAP”]60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany[/googlemap]