How to Effectively Manage a Decentralized Web Team
“Decentralization” can be defined as the process of redistributing or dispersing functions, powers, people, or things away from a central location or authority. In terms of a web or marketing team, it means empowering team members to take responsibility for a certain area of a website, or a specific website related to an organization.
Sounds pretty legit, right? Well it absolutely is! A decentralized approach can make everyone on your team feel successful, as each member gets to contribute to such an important part of your organization. It also takes the burden off of one or two team members who would need to dedicate all of their time to the site, as it requires constant attention (because we know at least one website request comes in every day). One of the biggest benefits is more effective decision making, as a decentralized approach makes it much easier for team members to make executive decisions and immediately implement changes.
While there are many advantages to a decentralized approach, it can also lead to a lack of authority. Effectively managing a decentralized web team means a more effective website strategy overall, which is why it is crucial to ensure each team member is doing their part to make your website successful.
Create a Clear Understanding of Individual Roles
Whether you are restructuring your department in a decentralized approach, or you are adding new members to your decentralized team, make the individual’s role and end website goals clear from the start. Instead of just assigning an area to a team member and wishing them luck, make certain they know what’s most important about that section of the website, who the stakeholders are, and what the expectations are. For example, should a team member add new content once a week or once a month? As long as your team knows exactly what they need to be doing, they can easily meet goals and maintain website quality while balancing other work.
The digital world is constantly evolving, just like your website. You must be in constant contact with team members to talk about what’s going on, whether it is a new Google algorithm update that affects your SEO efforts or new regulations requiring accessibility compliance, things should be addressed with team members when they happen. Check in with individual members often to ensure they know what they are responsible for, and any challenges they may be encountering that would prevent them from reaching goals.
Develop Goals for the Team
So you have goals for each individual team member, but it is just as crucial to set up goals for the whole team. At the end of the day, your website works together as one to give your visitors the information they want or need. How many pieces of new content should the team add to the entire site every month? Any efforts related to fixing spelling errors or broken links, SEO, accessibility, updating outdated content, etc., should be communicated to the team as a goal overall, and can be tweaked to each individual depending on their specific area of the site.
Set Up Regular Check-In Meetings
Just like being in constant communication with your team members, setting up a time for the whole team to meet regularly will help ensure everyone is on track. In a team meeting, members can learn what is and is not working for other members and ensure a consistent tone is being used across your site. Having regular check-in meetings will also keep everyone accountable. No one wants to show up to a meeting without an update on how they’re helping meet team goals. Having a weekly or biweekly meeting will push team members to make the website a priority in their work load.
This might seem counterintuitive if you want to ensure everyone is accountable for their area of the website and meeting deadlines, but remaining flexible ultimately empowers your team members. When you empower your team, they will be more willing to manage their schedule and individual goals, which will have a positive effect on their work and the website. Listen to team members to understand their work loads and how much time they can actually dedicate to maintaining the quality of the site. Maybe they can only give two hours to the site this week, but over five hours next week. Remaining flexible in an ever-changing digital world will ensure your website strategy is helping meet business goals and objectives.
Here at Siteimprove, we have tools to help empower both centralized and decentralized web teams. If you want to learn more about how we can help a decentralized web team be successful at maintaining a quality website, download our info sheet on Centralized vs. Decentralized web teams.