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'If you work on a web team, you need this masterclass. Clarifying, affirming, practical!' Susanna Guzman, Web Director CFA


Web management and governance are not ends in themselves. They are means to an end.

They simply put order and control on essential activities so that you get on with more important things - like creating great content.

One way to think of it is like the well-tuned engine of a car, humming away under the hood. In most cases you just take it for granted that when you turn the key, it'll always work.

In a similar way, a good system of supervision is equally reliable. It hums along with the efficiency of skilled staff following effective processes.

In fact, it should be so good that many outside your team will barely even notice it is there at all - until things go wrong.

car

The truth is that rather than being graceful machines, many systems of management are the opposite; clunking along and in danger of seizing up at any moment.

The reasons for this are twofold.

Historic inattention

First, there has been an historic inattention to the underlying principles of Web Governance in many organisations - an inattention that is only now being addressed.

Through no fault of their own, many teams have been dreadfully underfunded over the years and essentially left to their own devices.

What were once informal systems have calcified into rigid ways of doing things entirely unsuited to modern needs.

Expansion in ambition

And as if that wasn't enough - secondly - all this has occurred against the backdrop of a huge expansion in ambition.

While a decade ago the only thing your team had to worry about was perhaps a single corporate site, today even the smallest organization maintains a wide variety of digital presences (including apps, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) aimed at a growing array of devices and each with a large assortment of internal stakeholders and Web Product Managers clamouring for attention.

The difficulty is that this growth in volume and complexity has not been balanced by a corresponding growth in the resources and leadership needed to make things happen - causing great instability.

The scale of demands now being placed on people like you often far outstrips your ability to deliver.

There is simply too much to do and not enough to do it with.

Many web managers are worked so hard and have so little redundancy, that almost any problem can bring things crashing down, including:

  • Quarrels over online ownership - say, between IT and Marketing
  • Shortages in skilled manpower or the right tools
  • Or an inability to coordinate amongst distributed owners

Above and beyond...

Yet despite such issues, staff remain steadfastly dedicated to the job at hand.

I continue to meet people who go above and beyond the call of duty to keep the show on the road, including working weekends or postponing holidays.

Web people want to do a great job - but just like everyone else they have a legitimate expectation that senior executives will provide the resource they need to get on with things.

The problem is that this expectation is largely ignored.

A photo of Shane Diffily

About Shane Diffily

I am an experienced commentator on web operations. In 2015, I released the web's first online training course in website management and governance. Back in 2006 I published the Website Manager's Handbook, the original guide to online operations.

Find out more about me or download slides from my recent conference talks.