Matthew  Williams Matthew Williams | 10 Aug 2023

As a CMO or Head of Digital, you understand the important role your business-critical website plays in engaging customers and all stakeholders, shaping brand perception and supporting the delivery of vital information and business processes. 

If you’ve dealt with large digital initiatives before then you’ll know there’s a lot that can go wrong; defining complex requirements, data and content migration, multi-team resources and a huge increase in workload for internal client teams, to name a few… and that’s before we even start on QA and testing!

That’s why it’s so important not to simply “tick the risk mitigation box” during your planning phases, and instead ensure that de-risking becomes an embedded aspect of your overall approach.

What does risk mitigation or de-risking mean?

Risk mitigation cannot be viewed as a single process or procedure that can be dropped into a project. At Quba, managing risk echoes through everything we do before - and during – a successful project. It’s always on our radar. It starts with a deep dive approach to Discovery and concludes with a systematic approach to live deployment. And with a whole bunch of other measures and techniques in-between.

Getting the balance right between managing risk and planning for success 

It’s important to remember that managing risk is a balancing act between professional project governance and a risk-aware project process, which fosters collaboration and strategic planning between client and agency teams.  

When it comes to managing risk at a high level, Quba focuses on the following five key areas:

  • Documentation: Having detailed and thorough documentation at every stage of the project aligned to clear review and sign off procedures.
  • Discovery: This is not to be rushed. It sets the foundations for the project and gets everyone on the same page.
  • Technology: Making the right technology choices in larger projects is vital and aligning this to your delivery partner’s skill set.
  • Content: We find this is often the stumbling block that catches out client and agency project teams if it is not built into the project process and left as an afterthought.
  • Governance: Aligned to a robust project process, a mature and considered approach to project governance is vital.

We will explore these in more detail in the second in our series of blogs about risk in our next blog. 

It starts right at the beginning of choosing who to work with

Before you task your digital teams or hire an agency, it’s crucial to consider factors such as their project management capabilities, the quality and depth of their specifications, and their ability to provide meaningful insights from an initial discovery phase, and a whole lot more. 

This is all intrinsically linked with de-risking. An agency with a poor project management track record may struggle to effectively mitigate risks and ensure smooth project execution. Light specifications can lead to ambiguity and misalignment, so they may not even be de-risking the right things. They may even give you too many choices during a discovery phase (if they have one!) creating a "sweet shop" scenario, where customisations are selected without considering the associated risks.

If you can ensure you’re hiring the right people for the job and also doing your part to emphasise de-risking, you’ll be making an investment in your website’s reliability, security, and long-term viability—an investment that’s worth pouring into.

Isn’t it down to my digital team or the web agency to manage de-risking throughout the process?

Don’t count on it. 

Not all digital teams or web agencies inherently prioritise de-risking as part of their scope of work. While many professionals understand its importance, it is not always explicitly included or emphasised in their services. This could be due to limited awareness, lack of experience in risk management, or a narrow perspective on project goals. 

It’s crucial for CMOs and stakeholders to actively communicate their expectations regarding de-risking to ensure that it receives proper attention throughout the web development or design process. It requires open discussions, setting clear expectations, and working collaboratively with developers and designers.

Free upcoming event on how to do it

Now that we’ve covered why, let’s collectively talk about how from leaders like yourself.

We’re putting on a free online event (How to de-risk your brand’s next web project and deliver ultimate success) where we bring together top Marketing and IT leaders at revolutionary brands who went on their own web journeys. 

They’ll share their authentic stories on how to de-risk, what it takes to achieve success, what trappings to avoid, and how to spot (plus remedy) the first signs of trouble. 

We’ll cover both success stories and take away learnings from projects that didn’t go to plan, while providing you with a checklist on what to ensure on your side, and on your chosen agency’s side, when agreeing to a web project. 

Sign up here: 

How to de-risk your next web project and deliver ultimate success

A free online event

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