Introduction: Balanced Scorecard for Website Development Project
Strategy infers the way a company develops from its present position to a desirable but uncertain future position (Tharp, 2007). In project management, leaders can be trapped in the focus on tactical measures but lose focus on strategic importance. A balanced Scorecard can be a great tool to translate high-level strategic decisions into operational-level execution including the feedback system in the process. It can serve as a bridge between project management and organizational strategy, including the balanced scorecard for website development project.
This article will examine the web development project that of an IT company specializing in devices for disabled people. Since the company intends to expand to the foreign market, such as China and Latin-American, the company requires a multilingual website. This article will create a balanced scorecard for website development project, including the four perspectives that should be addressed. Then it will identify the specific performance measures as well as specific initiatives and actions regarding the project.
Objectives for the Balanced Scorecard
To bridge the strategic and operational plan of the project, typically, the project manager will look back to the company’s mission and vision statements (Tharp, 2007). In this case, the company is offering devices for people with disability. The mission and vision statements will revolve in the company’s intention to help these people deal with their daily struggles. To bridge this idea to the project of developing the website, the developers should understand the big picture of the company.
The strategic idea is the company’s internationalization strategy to penetrate foreign markets so it can serve more people with disabilities, as well as expand the market and increase profitability. The website should support this strategic plan, providing a platform that can be used as an information channel as well as a sales channel. It should not only provide multilingual options, but it should be helpful in terms of overall user experience and allow the company to reach more people in the target countries. It is also worth to keep reminding the developer that some of the users would be people with disabilities, which the company serves. So, aside from its multilingual features, it should also be able to assist people with disabilities in accessing the features of the website.
To build a bridge between the project-specific measures and the overall strategic idea, a balanced scorecard can be utilized. The balanced scorecard will depict the website development project not only in typical website performance measures or its financial measures but also in how those measures add to the overall strategic idea of the company. It will look at four perspectives proposed by Niven (2014): financial, customer, internal processes, and learning perspectives. The balanced scorecard of the project can be established as follow.
Normally, a project comes with an expectation of how much it will cost (Watt, 2014). The team’s brief is to deliver the project in the most efficient and for the smallest budget possible. The management team has approved up to $45,000 for the project but also emphasized that it is preferable to put the cost under the approved value. This is one of the main objectives of the project.
The developer should also understand the strategic plan that the website should be able to process sales from target countries. Therefore, a payment gateway system will be essential. It should be very efficient so that the cost of the product can be minimized, and so, the price can also be minimized. It should ensure that the website provides affordable transactions. In this case, the payment gateway should be able to process a big transaction of up to $10,000. The website should also be able to receive and process a 5% increasing annual sales trend.
Niven (2014) asserted that the customer perspective of the Balanced Scorecard should be able to address these three issues, which are the target customers, their expectations and demand for the company, and the value proposition of the company in serving them. The target customers will be foreigners, especially in China and Latin America. They can be people with disabilities. They should be provided information in their language, as well as conversion to their currency. The main value proposition would be the affordable product to help people with disabilities.
With these three notions in mind, the website should be able to receive more customers. It should have a high bandwidth that it can serve up to 10,000 web visitors per day. It should also be able to get a 10% web visitors annual increase. The website should have high quality with a higher user experience, so the users will not quickly leave or bounce from the website. Thus, the bounce rate should be low. A bounce rate not greater than 40% is considered excellent. To support this target objective, the website must have a promotion management system, where the admin can create a promotion program and automate the process through the platform.
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The internal process perspective determines the key processes at which the company should excel so that it can continuously create added value for its customers (Niven, 2014). Typically, it relates to a project’s quality planning, which focuses on preventing defects (Watt, 2014). For website projects, the quality measures can range from uptime and load time to search engine rating. These are the key measures that will enable customers to access the website, surf through the information casually, and end up spending their money on the company’s product.
Learning perspective: Balanced Scorecard for Website Development Project
The learning and growth perspective supports the enablers of the other three perspectives. Essentially, this perspective represents the foundation where the Balanced Scorecard is built (Niven, 2014). Some projects failed to succeed since the organizational learning and new technical expertise and training could not be met (Pinto, 2019). To enable the three other perspectives, the company requires a well-trained website management team and clear website documentation. Both will be crucial in determining the success of the website.
Relationships among Specific Objectives
The relationship between these objectives can be shown by the arrows shown above. The trained staff and website documentation will allow the website accessibility to be maintained. If the website can be easily accessible 24/7 without any bugs or hassle, search engine crawlers will consider the website as high performing website. It can lead to more visitors to the website, which in turn will attract more potential customers.
With a great promotion system and great user experience, the company can gather more and more customers over time. The website enables a lot of customers globally and serves thousands of transactions in a single moment. This will lead to more cost efficiency and an increase in sales, which both will increase profitability. The company’s financial objective will be achieved, as well as its mission to serve and help more people with disabilities overcome their struggles.
Initiatives and Actions
The initiatives and actions from each perspective should be managed well so that they can further support the performance of the website. For instance, to bring cost efficiency, the developer should choose the best hosting plan that can minimize cost while maintaining the quality that is expected by the company. It should also have a standardized maintenance plan to the maintenance cost can be minimized. According to studies, maintenance costs can rise up to 25% (Jessen, 2010). To build the multi-language features the company can utilize high-performing translators, and for additional website features, the company can utilize high-quality freelancers. It will minimize labor costs, which in turn will minimize the overall cost.
From the customer’s perspective, the initiatives and actions should allow the website to have a higher degree of flexibility in terms of serving the customers. It should also drive the visitor increase. For instance, a free coupon for new signed-up users can be given to stimulate transactions from interested visitors. The company can also create a customer relationship program for those who have purchased the company’s product via the website. To maintain interest, the company can create a newsletter subscription so that potential customers can be updated about the company’s new information. A website can offer a decent pull communication technique, but it should be accompanied by push communication techniques as well (Nieto-Rodriguez, 2021).
Website optimization initiatives can be utilized to ensure the internal processes can support the customer perspective. The features, such as on-page and off-site search engine optimization and essential API (application programming interface), should be the primary initiatives and actions. These initiatives can be supported by a well-trained team and great website documentation. However, team training and website documentation should also be other important initiatives from the learning and growth perspective.
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Conclusion: Balanced Scorecard for Website Development Project
A balanced scorecard can be a solution to bridge the company’s strategic vision and its operational-related projects, such as the website development project. The project objectives should not only focus on the financial performance of the website but how the website helps the company achieve its strategic objectives. The four perspectives: financial, customer, internal process, and learning can be utilized to bridge the gap. The objectives and performance measures can be generated for each perspective as well as the key relationship and the initiatives. Through a balanced scorecard, the team can better understand how the website, and its performance measures, helps the company increase profitability, serve more customers, and help more people with disabilities overcome their struggle.
References Jessen, S. A. (n.d.). Project Leadership – Step by Step. In : A Handbook on How to Master Small- and Medium-Sized Projects (Vol. 1). Nieto-Rodriguez, A. (2021). Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook: How to Launch, Lead, and Sponsor Successful Projects (HBR Handbooks). Harvard Business Review Press. Niven, P. R. (2014). Balanced Scorecard Evolution: A Dynamic Approach to Strategy Execution. Wiley. Pinto, J. K. (2019). Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage, Global Edition. Pearson. Tharp, J. (2007). Align project management with organizational strategy. PMI® Global Congress 2007—Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. Watt, A. (2014). Project Management. BCcampus Open Textbook project. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. https://opentextbc.ca/projectmanagement/
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