Timing is Everything
Now that you see the site, you can start developing your timetable for development. This means figuring out the best way to approach this project. Is it in sections vertically, completing all levels of one specific topic or tackling all similar levels of the hierarchy at a time? Once you figure out which direction will be the best approach from a programming-functionality standpoint as well as a time-saving process, it's important to guesstimate how long each "section" will take you or your team to complete.
A good project manager not only considers all of the aspects that need to be developed, but thinks about the order in which they need to be developed. Does one person's actions affect those of another individual, or are they completely separate? If one person is late by a day (or two or three), how will that affect the rest of the project? Can you schedule the programmers before the designers? Are there things a programmer can be doing while the designer completes his work? Precision scheduling is the next key to success during the preproduction phase of this project. Without accurate schedules, the project is sure to fail. Again, whether you use a software application such as Microsoft Project or Excel, or simply break it down on a grease board in your office, the key is to cover all necessary aspects.
Here's where it's important to understand programming and what it takes to perform the tasks at hand, even if you're not a programmer. The same holds true for design. How can you set realistic timeframes if you haven't a clue as to what it takes to complete certain tasks? I can create the most detailed schedule on paper, but what's the point if it's useless? Could you imagine telling your client that you can have an entire extranet application for their global manufacturing company that will allow vendor orders, track inventory, automatically alert accounting, process billings, and allow sales personnel to monitor the status of the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week complete in under a week? No matter what the budget, there's no way in the world to complete a project like this, test it, and launch it in under a week. So knowing what it takes to build each and every aspect of the project is imperative. If you don't know, ask someone who does. Talk with the people who you plan on using how long it will take them. Not all tasks are cumulative (unless you're working by yourself). Remember that many tasks will overlap.