The well-known information architect and web user interface expert Jesse James Garrett created “The Nine Pillars of Successful Web Teams,” a concise graphic description of the core roles in site development (see below). The disciplines and site development stages proceed from left to right in a logical progression from strategic planning to implementation and visual design.
We’ve taken Garrett’s diagram and added a more explicit time dimension and emphasis on the early and continuing role of project management throughout the process of web site development. We also emphasize the importance of getting broad participation and input in the user research and strategic planning stages of your project. The more you hear from stakeholders and potential users, the better your planning and design will be. Early in the process your designs and plans ought to change almost daily, as the iterative tasks of design, user research, and stakeholder input help you refine and improve your ideas. Design iteration is essential in developing the ordered complexity of a large web site.
Later in the process, however, the team should pare down to those core specialists who are building the site. Otherwise, continuing design changes can lead to production churning, wasted effort, and blown schedules. Get broad input early on, make the best site design and project plan possible, and then focus the team on implementing the plan.