Download a list of the most important skills for a small government web team.

The inside of an old general store with an anachronistic laptop on a box with a screen that says

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Core skills for small government web teams (XLS 23KB)

This spreadsheet lists some of the most common skills needed by a small government web team, from QA to Content Design and more.

You might as well admit it.

You will never get all the resources you need for your web team - especially manpower. You'll just have to make do with that you've got.

That means the people on your team need to be able to support a very wide-range of activity - from ordinary day-to-day operations (QA, publishing, analytics, etc) to advanced, high falutin' digital awesomeness (UX, content strategy, etc).

Mom-n-Pop's general store

One way to think of web operations is like a small general store.

To keep a small store running, everyone needs to know how to do just about everything. In addition everyone also needs a deeper expertise in one or two areas for when the need arises.

For example, everyone needs to know how to operate the checkout - but one person must be adept at cash reconciliation and account management.

It's the same on a web team.

'Specialist Generalists' rule!

Small web teams thrive with Specialist Generalists.

Everyone on a small web team needs a good general competence in all core web disciplines (content, design, code, analytics, etc). But everyone also needs specialisms in a few key areas.

For example, everyone should know how to write in plain English, but at least one person must have advanced Content Design skills.

I've worked with web teams for 20+ years and the core skills needed to keep the show on the road are broadly stable. Download a sample list of core skills above or explore a more complete framework in the 'Web Management Masterclass'.

Warning! Don't romanticise small teams

Of course, we shouldn't romanticise the capability of small web teams. They're not "small". They're stunted. The reason is they're in penury.

Most colleagues outside of web teams have no idea what we web folks actually do ("...something about design?!?")

This blind spot is why web teams are critically underfunded. And that is why many websites fail (especially in government), leading to repeated and wasteful "redesigns".

The truth is that it is becoming harder and harder for even the best teams to cope.

Web has become so complex and specialised that we are well past 'peak geek'. No-one person can know it all any more.

Just think of how much more sophisticated GA4 is compared to GA Universal. It is a transformational change that many struggle with - even the specialists.

And it's only beginning.

Photo by Galt Museum and Archives on Unsplash.


Off-topic... If the first question of philosophy is 'why does anything exist?', the second must be 'why is it so boring?'

A picture of God being handed a P45-form with text that reads 'A nice buy but poor performer'

Don't get me wrong. The universe is certainly majestic.

Yet even the most simple video game offers a far more fantastical world than we seem to inhabit.

If God was a game designer, he'd be fired.

Why is that? Why is creation so pedestrian?1

If we assume creation was truly open in the beginning2, surely anything could have happened? Literally anything (logically possible). The degrees-of-freedom must have been almost infinite.

And yet we get just 3 spatial dimensions. 1 above flatland. Yawn.

Why not 4 dimensions? Or 10? Or 100?

It seems suspiciously ordinary.

Of course, in one way it does make sense.

We evolved within this arena and - as many philosophers old and new have related3 - natural selection imposes a structure on our senses and sets a limit to what we can experience.

The result is that we have limited degrees-of-freedom in how we can hold4 the world.

But the world itself is not so constrained.

Just 3 dimensions? You must be joking!

In the 'Game of Creation' we humans may be eternally confined to the Beginner setting of Level-1 - but if we can master it, we may just get a glimpse of what lies beyond.

(Read my post about 'Where to start with philosophy', including links to useful podcasts, videos and more.)

The footnotes...
1. Of course, creation is amazingly complex. But compared to the possibility space of what may have been, it is stupefyingly straightforward (at least in the naive sense of how we perceive it).
2. A big assumption I agree, but then again why wouldn't it have been open? Why was 3 dimensions the obvious default (excluding the possibilities of curled-up extra dimensions and the holographic model)?
3. From Immanuel Kant to Donald Hoffman to Anil Seth.
4. Shout out to my main man Hilary Lawson (IAI) and 'closure' theory (I'm a fan).