Screenshot of the News Page

The Matthews Family Album


Throughout the years…

…I have enjoyed a lively back and forth with all of my family about picture/news sharing that included some or all of the following:

“I didn’t get any school pictures of your kids yet, but (insert name here) did! What gives?”

“I put them up on (insert social media platform here), which is where (person) got them.”

“Well I don’t (use, trust, care to use) that platform. Can’t you just (post them on my favorite social media platform, send me one in the mail, etc.?)”

…and so on and so forth.

So I decided to try a little experiment. I wanted to put together a Website Project where all of the family could upload, view and comment on our pictures in one place, but I had to overcome a few challenging requirements to do so.

  1. It had to be a site where each family member could have their own account (so that people would know who commented on what).
  2. It needed to be password protected (because a couple of my family members won’t post pictures if they are not hidden from the rest of the world).
  3. It needed to be memorably named (so family members wouldn’t constantly be texting/calling/emailing asking for the site address over and over and over and over again.
  4. And it had to look cool and modern (because I wanted it that way).

Now this is not a huge list of challenges…

…and–quite frankly–I knew it was going to be much more difficult to get people to use the site than to actually build the darn thing. Still, I had never actually implemented a password protected website all by myself, so I was equal parts excited and intimidated by the Project. I chose to use WordPress for the site, not only because it’s a platform that I really love to use, but because doing so would address requirements 1, 2 and 4 above. The blog platform allowed me to create “Author Accounts” for every family member…check #1 off the list. I knew I could most likely source and install a password protection plugin that would be easy to implement and configure…(I could and it was…check #2 off.) And the WordPress Theme library would certainly allow me to make it look really cool and modern…(it did, check #3!) I decided to go with a straight forward with a site name, because it would serve the ‘memorable’ requirement most effectively.

So after a few late nights working on it after the family went to bed, I had the site up and running. I showed it to a large list of the family during the annual beach vacation, and did a quick training to show people how it worked.

Screenshot of the News Page

Alas, the biggest challenge has been getting people to actually use it!

…Just as I suspected. It’s a cool looking little site, and I think the family would love it if they used it more. I get it though. The one thing I didn’t think about is the fact that this is just one more account they would have to think about and manage, and we all could use a little less of that in our lives. Which brings us to the…

The Project Tip of the Post!

It is vital that a Project Manager understands the needs and limitations of the key beneficiaries of a Project. Many times, a stakeholder or sponsor will have a want or need that will actually lower the business value of a Project even though that want or need seems important at first glance! A great PM makes sure to view a Project through the eyes of the End User–which gives the team a chance to maximize Business Value.

Regardless, I loved doing the project, and got to walk away from it with the confidence that I can implement a new technical requirement for anyone who wants to protect their website with a password.

And who knows, maybe the family will get the point where they DO love to use it!