Archive for October, 2011
Question: What happens when you have a committee of people making a key design decision. Half want the color red, half want blue. What ultimately gets decided?
Answer: I’m not sure what the ultimate decision will be, but it is likely that a majority won’t be happy with whatever gets decided.
As Web site development professionals, we often are approached with committees of people who are tasked to make a Web site. Committees often operate on consensus, which requires most of the people to agree with a decision. This is a great approach for deciding what company to hire to make your Web site, but it often is not a good approach for actually making the Web site.
Take the above example. If you choose red, half of the group will be unhappy. If you choose blue, half will be unhappy. Try and compromise with purple and no one is happy. You’ve also likely exhausted your Web site developer in deciding all of this. Here are some tips to help to avoid “Web sites designed by committee:”
- Take the decision out of the committee: The best approach is for the committee to empower one person to be the decision maker. That person should be someone with good judgement who the committee can trust, but also someone who can stand up to individuals and help move the process along.
- Have a clear decision making process: Without clear rules, one person on your committee can derail the whole process. By agreeing to a procedure for making decisions at the beginning, it will help make sure that the process is kept on track.
- Start Phase 2 early: A Web site is something that grows with your organization. Committees often come up with new good ideas during the process. It is best to stay on the original project track, but to start a list of ideas to include in the next iteration.