Web governance (or web management if you prefer) in a nutshell.

Recently I had to write down on 1 page what Web Governance is all about.
It was a good exercise for me.
It forced me to distill all the concepts from my book & other articles into one simple, easy to read description. I think I succeeded.

Web Governance defined.

WEB GOVERNANCE is a means for supervising the activities of website management in a controlled & orderly way.
There are 4 main categories of web management activity. These are:
  1. Leadership: Setting goals & budgets, formalising structures & measuring strategic performance.
  2. Development: Making the website, incl design, content, code, testing, etc.
  3. Maintenance: Operating the website day-to-day, e.g. publishing, QA, feedback monitoring, etc.
  4. Infrastructure: Ensuring an appropriate hosting environment.
A model for  web governance
Making these activities work requires investment in the following areas:
  • Staff
  • Skills
  • Team structures
  • Tools & technology
  • Processes & documentation
The degree to which you need to invest in these elements, depends on the scale of your site.
A simple way to measure the scale of a site is to estimate the following 3 factors:
  1. The time/effort needed to manage the site
  2. The complexity of the hosting/content technology
  3. The busy-ness of the site
For example, a site that needs a lot of effort to look after it, needs complex technology AND is very busy = a LARGE scale site.
On a large-scale site (e.g. www.bbc.co.uk) the activities of web management are highly complex & highly granular.
Therefore, a large-scale needs to invest in...
  • Staff: A lot of people...
  • Skills: ...with excellent & specialised skills...
  • Teams: ...in large teams...
  • Tools & Tech: ...using expensive & complex tools...
  • Processes & Docs: ...following numerous agreed procedures, backed-up by documentation.
  • (and lots of money & time to make it work, of course)
In contrast, on a small-scale site (e.g. www.likeplace.ie), the activities of management are relatively simple. Therefore, it only needs...
  • Staff: 1 person
  • Skills: With general web skills
  • Teams: In an informal team
  • Tools & Tech: Using basic or freeware tools
  • Processes & Docs: Following informal processes
To decide on an appropriate system of Web Governance you simply need to know the scale of the site in question.
You can then estimate the level of investment needed to support it.
A system for defining web governance
Basically, that's what my book (The Website Manager's Handbook) is about.
Wait a sec ... did I just persuade you not to buy it?!


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