The Ideal Web Development Team: Higher Ed. Edition

Andy Budd had a pretty good article describing his ideal Web development team. I have decided (mostly for my benefit) to delineate my ideal team for a higher education environment. As I spelled these out, I realized that they fit very closely with Andy’s assessment of the situation.

Department Manager:
Hires and fires. Develops the vision and direction of the team. Is the point of contact for clients. Between this position and various administrative professionals, takes care of bringing in the projects and money, and paying everyone’s salary.

Project Manager:
At one point was probably a designer/developer themselves. Has a fairly in-depth understanding of all the other roles. Works with clients to create a direction and strategy for each project. Keeps the developers on track and informed.

Front-End Designer/Developer: (Where I tend to work…)
Carries two loads: creating the visual design (“look and feel”) of a site, and making that site a reality on the Web. Expert in Web Standards and accessibility/usability/universal design.

Back-End Developer:
As Andy said, most Web sites we develop these days are mini-applications. This person is an expert programmer that creates the code to drive the front-end developer’s creation.

Database/Server Admin:
This is a pretty obvious position. Keeps all the hardware working and sites live. Makes sure that those who need to access the various parts of the various sites, can; and that those who don’t, can’t.

All of these roles need to overlap each other as far as knowledge base and skill set go so that intelligent, quality work can be done. Example: a back-end developer needs an good understanding of Web Standards and the style-sheets that the front-end designer gives him so they don’t throw an incorrect DOCTYPE in the header of a page that is automatically generated, thus breaking a carefully crafted layout. (Not that that ever happens to me :)).

A core requirement for ALL of these roles are excellent communication/people skills. This team has to be a team in every sense of the word. They need to be on the same page, dancing to the same beat, and various other euphemisms for working together in harmony. Ideally they should be able to complete each other�s sentences and have the same taste in music. At a minimum, they should all speak the same language, else you need a 6th member of the team: a very skilled translator.






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