Tuesday, January 24, 2006

9 Questions Every Web Manager Needs to Ask…

…Once a month

  1. What have I done to make a significant improvement to the content of the website? Yes, you’re too busy to start anything new. But if not you – then who? You have to keep your head up, looking for new content opportunities. You are the leader, and leaders are constantly scanning the horizon for the next steps. Don’t put it off. Make something happen to improve the content of your website every single month.
  2. What have I done that I personally love to do? There's a lot of "junk" in every web manager's life. If you’re going to keep your sanity for the long haul, you have got to find one thing that you love to do; and make time to do it. Every month. If you like to write, then make time to write. If you like to play with stats, make time to do that. Be good to yourself. Make time to do something you love – so you can keep slogging through the stuff you don’t.
  3. What have I done to contribute to the web managers community? Government web managers work best when they work together. To work together, you have to know one another. Your peers will help you when you need answers, cheer you when you get low, and celebrate with you when you succeed. Get to know them. Help them. Join in a monthly Forum call. Send a message to the listserv about something good that’s going on. Spark a conversation. Volunteer to work on one of the Advisory Council projects. Tell a colleague about webcontent.gov. Do something to help your community – and yourself.

…Once a week

  1. Who did I talk to that I hadn’t talked to for awhile? Web managers have to keep stirring the pot - planting seeds and nurturing them. So have you talked to that executive you met in the hall last month, mentioning something about a new web page? Have you followed up with that web coordinator in the field office, who wanted to do an outreach effort to market the website? Have you talked with that colleague at another agency about working together to merge content on a single issue? To be successful, you have to be an entrepreneur. Work those rol-a-dexes!
  2. Did I give clear direction to my web organization? Your web team – both those who work for you and those who work with you – depends on you to keep them pointed in the right direction. You have to do that every single week (and in some cases, maybe every single day!). Have you updated them on the week’s developments? Have you asked them about problems they’ve encountered? Have you shared new information that could impact them, now or in the future? Have you explained changes in priorities? Never ever assume they know by osmosis – it’s your job to keep them on the path toward achieving your strategic goals. Talk to them. Every week.
  3. What did I see on another website that could work on mine? I know – you are the most brilliant web manager in the world and you don’t need to steal ideas from anyone- right? Wrong. The web has grown and progressed largely because web managers have taken ideas from others and made them better. So every single week, take some time (even a few minutes) to surf the web. Look at other government sites. Look at sites of big corporations. Look at college kids’ websites – they often try great new things on a shoestring. Go to webcontent.gov and click on a few links. Spend at least a little time looking around for something you can use.

…Once a day

  1. Have I done what I promised? Come on – you know it drives you crazy when you’re counting on someone to finish something that you need, and they don't. Well, it works both ways. So every day, check on your commitments and make sure you keep them. If you can’t deliver on time, at least give notice. Don’t be the obstacle to progress.
  2. Have I elevated any issues that could bite my bosses? Web managers touch many problems every day; and it can be challenging to keep things moving, without letting issues fall between the cracks. Timing can be critical. If you fail to tell your boss or another executive about an issue in a timely way, it can blow up. So do a daily check – did you lob all the balls into the proper courts?
  3. Who do I need to thank? This is just so important. Web Managers have to count on the contributions of many, many people throughout the organization – and beyond – to succeed. Most of them are not your employees. Bullying may work. But creating good will is oh-so-much better. It really is essential to getting them to do what you want them to do. Take time to send that little thank-you email to the techie who posted the emergency change this morning or that program staffer who did such a great job answering a touchy webmail inquiry or that executive who cut through some red tape for you or that office director who hosted a training session for you. It doesn’t take much time to give an “attaboy” – and it will pay off big time, over the long run. People help you every single day – remember that. Take the time to say “thanks” and “well done.”

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