50% Of All Big Projects Fail, including Websites. Why?

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Jim Hoogewind

Marketing leaders have the best intentions going into an expensive and large six-figure website overhaul. However, according to the Harvard Business Review, as many as half of big projects like these are considered failures when all is said and done. And you’re left wondering…

  • Why did this take longer than I was told?
  • Why was more funding needed than was estimated?
  • Why were there so many surprises and scope changes?
  • Why do I feel so burned by the agency my team selected?

Now you find yourself facing down another big website overhaul and all the risk associated with it. How will you feel confident it will be successful this time? How will you be sure you won’t be left with heartburn and the same frustrating questions as last time?

In my 15+ years working in this industry, I’ve learned there are three key elements to ensuring a big website design and development project is successful.

Think of it like a three-legged stool…

1) Stakeholder Alignment

Performing candid and skillfully focused stakeholder exercises which tease out the goals and intentions of important leaders in your organization. These exercises force invaluable conversations, and ultimately lead to buy-in.

2) User Experience

Target audience data mitigates risk by replacing assumptions with defined needs and specific pain points. These eventually inform the site experience that’s most helpful to each audience.

3) Design & Development Planning

With stakeholders aligned and users defined, design and development planning can begin using models such as sitemaps and wireframes. Technical and functional requirements can start to be dialed in as well.

Unfortunately, most agencies focus only on one or maybe two of the legs described above, resulting in a shaky foundation to your project. But not Kanopi. We focus on and thrive at all three, and we make it fun along the way. 

We call this endeavor the Website Growth Plan (WGP). Through this proven process, we’re able to answer questions such as:

  • I know my site is not working for me, but how do I improve it? 
  • I will need to migrate from Drupal 7 to D8 or D9, but what will that budget look like?
  • How can I improve my SEO? How is my site performance now?
  • I need a new content strategy, but how can I do this properly when I am already so busy?

After taking factors (like the ones illustrated below) into account, the WGP delivers an all encompassing action plan for your website. By setting expectations early and often, this helps avoid the heartburn-inducing questions you were left with after your last website project.

Which website growth plan is right for me?

More information can be found here, but below is an overview of our various plans:

Website Reimagine

This plan is a concentration of UX research, content strategy, and a bite-sized amount of design. It helps formulate a game plan that drives clarity for the team and gets some early design thinking on the table. Plus, it is actually a wonderful use of time as it is the first step in an overall design and development project, as the deliverables include a roadmap to launch.

Usability and Design

This is a data-informed optimization plan incorporating user experience, visual design and content recommendations delivered in an actionable plan for next steps.

Content Strategy

Amplify your message through a powerful analysis of important information, including user needs, competitor analysis, personas and Customer Decision Journey mapping — from Awareness to Advocacy. This plan focuses on storytelling content, user experience, visual design recommendations, and more.

Drupal 7 Transition Plan

You should feel secure planning and budgeting for the transition from D7 to D8/9 or to WordPress. This plan removes the “unknown” and illuminates the details for your organization to make an informed decision and take action on next steps.

Technical SEO

This is a deep-dive to analyze your website’s SEO technical health and set you up for search engine optimization success.

GDPR & Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the European Union (EU). This plan gets you compliant.


Reach your audience and meet compliance with Website Compliance Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1 AA or higher) through a skillful analysis and recommendations action plan.

Technical Review

A comprehensive technical deep-dive into your site’s code and technical health to provide foundational recommendations for optimization and stability.

And if one of those doesn’t quite fit? Don’t worry. Our nimble nature finds us creating custom packages for our clients to best meet their needs. Contact us to chat about which plan is the best fit.