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  • Under: Development | Content Strategy | Project Management

At CHIEF, our Technical Managers (TMs) work with project teams to translate client needs into technical requirements and break down options for overcoming technical challenges. The unique obstacles we encounter and responsibilities we undertake will depend on project type, typically falling into one of two categories—redesign or maintenance. So how do the two types differ, and how are they similar? Read on for all the details:

First, let’s start with how the two projects are the same. Below are some tasks we do on every kind of project:

  • Backlog grooming: We review the tasks that have not been started yet in order to make sure that all requirements are accurately reflected. We make sure the project team is on the same page by talking through requirements, assumptions and sometimes even approach. We also give each ticket story points to assess the level of effort for completion, determined by team consensus.
  • Sprint planning: To make the most of the defined amount of time in each sprint, we meet with our teams and make sure that each team member only commits to the number of points/tickets that they can complete in that time frame. In this collaborative team meeting, tickets that are high priority are placed in this sprint (typically from backlog grooming).
  • Identifying blockers: We take an honest assessment of potential roadblocks and communicate these to the internal team and the client so we can resolve them early on.

Now that we’ve leveled the playing field, let’s discuss where the two projects diverge:

Redesign Projects

Typically redesign projects are a full website overhaul. We start from a brand new build of Drupal or Wordpress, and usually work with strategy, content development, user experience and design to craft a new website experience using current best practices.

On redesign projects, we’re working towards a set launch date. Decisions are more focused on the priority of issues for launch versus the weeks following. After the initial scope is determined, functionality changes become a balance of meeting a launch date and including all of the desired functionality.

Unlike maintenance projects, a substantial part of the redesign process involves migrating content from the old site to the new site. TMs help to determine if content will be migrated using automated scripts or manually based on quantity and standardization of data. The migration process can highlight changes to the content type that need to be made for the long-term use of the new site.

Additionally, with redesign projects the site must be tested from end to end in multiple browsers and operating systems for functionality, look and feel and accessibility. TMs perform testing, and coordinate large testing sessions for complex functionality with other members of the project team. This testing occurs for each deployment but the scope can be drastically different. 

Maintenance Projects

With maintenance contracts, CHIEF’s work can fall into two categories: (1) sites that we’ve built, or (2) sites built by other development teams that have been turned over to CHIEF. The latter category has some unique challenges, because we first must get to know the site and audit existing development before taking over the work.

With most maintenance projects that occur post-launch of a website, the team has been part of the entire redesign process (from UX, content strategy, design, etc.) and is now developing enhancements and troubleshooting issues. Having historical knowledge can be advantageous as you have a better lay of the land, knowing what tasks were put aside in order to launch the website, what tasks require a significant level of effort for the team and how to better plan resourcing throughout the duration of the maintenance contract. As TMs, we focus on finding answers to these questions—scheduling technical walkthroughs, working with clients to understand desired functionality at the same time that project developers audit the site to understand what’s there and by doing a gap analysis to work out what steps come next and how we can further enhance the site.


Whether our teams are building sites from the ground up, migrating content from one place to another or building out new functional elements, the TMs at CHIEF are dedicated to understanding each project from the inside out, and planning accordingly—raising the bar for what CHIEF delivers to our clients with every project we do. If you’d like to work with CHIEF, drop us a line!