TOPIC: WHY A TECHNICAL BLUEPRINT by Phillip Nguyen - Digital Marketing Solutions LLC's Chief Software Engineer & Founder.

There has been NO SILVER BULLET in website development in my 24 years of working in this field as a software engineer. However, there is one called, “The Technical Blueprint.” You can call this the “silver bullet” for the website development process because there is no other method or way to ensure the success of your website being delivered as defined, on-time, and on-budget!

WHY? Would you build a home without a blueprint? The answer is NO! So why would you allow your I.T. team or your subcontractor(s) to build a website without it? Building a website, an especially complex website, has numerous complexities because of the unknowns and intangibilities involved in building a website. Over half of software development and website projects are dead before arrival due to going over-budget and over-time, simply because people failed on their first step...having a well defined Technical Blueprint. You should never allow your website project to begin without a well defined technical blueprint! Doing so is risky unless it’s just a few simple pages and functionalities. So have a technical blueprint before you sign that dotted line. This is the only way to ensure the success of your website because it is the document that you hold your web developer responsible for.

COST. The typical cost of a well defined technical blueprint is roughly about 25% of the project’s overall development cost. Most people who are not familiar with “software development risks” are not comfortable with this cost and this process. They just want a quick estimate and an “EASY TO GET STARTED” roadmap without having to deal with all the details. However, if you choose to use the technical blueprint, this should not be considered as “EXTRA COST” to your project, but instead as part of the project cost. Whoever takes on the project after the technical blueprint is done should deduct this cost that you already paid on the total estimated project cost unless they reason that they don’t need a technical blueprint. If so, then you should run away from this developer as fast as you can.

DELIVERABLES. What should be included in the “Technical Blueprint” of your website project?
  1. A project’s summary of goals and objectives.
  2. A list of use cases (front end and back end).
  3. A design proposal with requirement specifications.
  4. A project timeline An estimation of the project’s minimum and maximum costs.
  5. An action plan with implementation steps.
  6. And last but not least, a service contract.
SUMMARY. With a typical website, especially a large scale project, the development process consists of following several steps. If your project has too many unknown factors and risks that were not sorted because you do not have a technical blueprint, then it’s more likely to fail. However, with a technical blueprint, you and your developer can stay on the same page, have the same understanding of how you envision this website, and have a plan to follow. Without it, it’s like walking through the jungle without a compass because you trusted your developer to hold your hand each step of the way.
  1. Analysis - producing a technical blueprint.
  2. Design - graphical mockups and illustrations of the site.
  3. Coding - converting basic HTML to functional codes.
  4. Testing - lab testing, client testing, and public testing of your website Training - developer trains client on how to operate the site.
  5. Update - sealing the leak(s) after the boat is launched (and there will be leaks!) 
  6. On-going Technical Support & Training
For more information, please visit the premier website design and development company, Digital Marketing Solutions LLC. An A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau since 2003.

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