A good web team can do 5 things - and now it's time to choose.

An illustration of the 5 levels of web delivery as explained in this article against a background illustration of an antique ladder

Many senior management teams struggle with web. In fact, they often have no idea what their web teams actually do. As far as they are concerned, things sort-of just "happen".

This is a huge risk. It's one of the main reasons websites fail, especially in government.

Web teams are critically short of the funding they need because senior managers (quite rightly) won't invest in something they don't understand.

As web professionals, we have to take some of the blame for this. All our prissy techno-design-babble has gotten in the way of asking for the basics: manpower, skills, tools and money.

We have to divert conversations with senior managers away from the fun side of web (design! interaction!) - and onto the nuts-and-bolts needed to keep the show on the road.

What web teams do in 5 levels

To that end, I now describe what a web team can do based on 5 levels of delivery - from the ultra-basic ("this website is impossible to use, but at least it's legally compliant") to advanced, hi-falutin' digital awesomeness.

These 5 levels are:

  1. Compliance: Your web team can ensure the site is compliant with legal and regulatory rules, e.g. GDPR, cookies, accessibility, etc.
  2. Business-As-Usual (BAU): Your web team can satisfy basic day-to-day business needs, e.g. publishing press releases, creating images, adding PDFs, etc.
  3. Quality Assurance (QA): Your web team can deliver a minimum standard of quality for content/services, e.g. no broken links, no missing metadata, etc.
  4. User Experience (UX): Your web team can deliver a good standard of UX for core content/services, e.g. good findability, good content design, etc.
  5. Digital Goals: Your web team can successfully deliver on strategic goals, e.g. digital cost savings, etc.

As well as being easy to understand, these 5 levels act as a sort-of menu for senior managers to choose from.

Want your web team to deliver fabulous results for your strategic goals (level 5)? Great!

However, you can't simply jump straight to awesomeness. Web follows a strict ladder-of-progress.

The web ladder-of-progress

In that regard, levels 1-3 (Compliance, BAU, QA) are essentially non-negotiable. They are so fundamental that every web team must be resourced to deliver them.

Happily for senior managers, the level of investment needed is quite low. These activities do not require many specialist skills (though the tasks themselves are often very manual and need plenty of time).

The picture is quite different for levels 4 (UX, Content Design) and 5 (Goals). The step-up here is transformational and the resource needed for delivery is an order of magnitude greater.

That means that if your senior management team tells you to aim for stars, tell them to reach for their cheque books - they're going to have to spend a lot of cash on manpower, skills and tools.

The reason is that great websites do not just "happen". Great web teams make them happen.