This blog post was originally published November 7, 2013, and has since been updated for accuracy and freshness.

Before your team can tackle any new project, it’s important to know who’s doing what. While every project comes with its own quirks and specifics, having an overarching strategy for assigning roles and responsibilities can streamline the process and keep your organization running that much smoother.

Do all employees in your organization know what their role is and what is expected of them? Do employees know who to go to with questions outside their own area of expertise? Do you know what every employee in your web team does?

Web governance is all about having structures in place for decision-making and responsibilities clearly defined. It's also about ensuring that all work done on your organization's website is aligned with business goals.

One of the cornerstones of website governance best practices is that everybody involved in the company website is aware of their role. This is true no matter if you're a web developer spending all your time working on the website or if you're an editor spending just one hour a week updating content.

Web Governance Roles

Making sure that all aspects of the website are thought through is vital to operating a successful website. Web governance is about more than just overseeing day-to-day decisions, such as who will write the next blog post or do we need more RAM in our web servers. A good website governance plan should also cover who decides how web content is organized, which criteria need to be met before a website redesign, and who is responsible for following up on strategic web goals.

While every organization has a different set of roles and needs, these are a few of the major roles you may want to consider:

  • Website owner - Makes high-level financial and strategic decisions and takes responsibility for the results
  • Project manager - Coordinates all of the other roles, sets time frames, and keeps site-related projects on schedule
  • Web editor - Produces and organizes site content, possibly including writing, images, and graphic design
  • Web developer - Responsible for coding, tech support, and ongoing site upkeep
  • Server administrator - Responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining the organization’s servers
  • Information architect - Organizes the structure of a website via sitemaps, workflow diagrams, and other user experience-focused tools Analytics specialist - Tracks your site’s performance and results and communicates to the rest of the team
  • Usability specialist - Ensures that a site’s functionality meets the usability standards of the organization

Web Governance Responsibilities

Assigning all the web-related roles for your organization is only one small step. Coming up with clear definitions of each role is key to making sure that each person is aware of their responsibilities.

One way to do this is to use a responsibility assignment matrix known as RACI, for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. In RACI, each task within a role is assigned one of four responsibility types. Here’s a brief breakdown of what each type means.

  • Responsible - The people who do the actual work on the task. Often this will be web editors or web developers.
  • Accountable - The one person who is held accountable for the timely completion of the task. This will often be the person delegating the task to the Responsible. Typically this is a team leader or project manager.
  • Consulted - Those who are asked for advice or opinions. Typically information architects or experts in a two-way communication.
  • Informed - Those who are informed or kept up-to-date on progress. For example, team members not involved in the task or from related teams.

Example of a RACI matrix for website teams

This RACI matrix from Content Strategy, Inc., is one of many ways examples that can serve as inspiration for your own web governance strategy—either overall or for major projects.

 

By using RACI or a similar matrix with all web-related tasks, you can make sure that all team members are aware of their responsibilities and that web activities are kept on track.

Even with a well-implemented web governance strategy, your team is sometimes going to come up against challenges that put your organization to the test. When all members of a web team are aware of their roles and responsibilities, the team will function better, make fewer errors, and be better prepared to take on the trickiest tasks.

Want to read more about web governance and other best practices for your website? Check out the Siteimprove Blog!

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