Turn me into your dream webmaster
February 20, 2014 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm in a position where I manage a local non-profit's website. As I take an opportunity to transition out of the role, I am sad to see my track record. Can I become a better webmaster, undertake a fantastic transition AND learn something all in the next few months?

I fell into the webmaster role a bit by accident - my roommate was involved with the nonprofit and recruited me to join. The focus of the organization was something I cared deeply about so I jumped in head first - moving beyond the website to all sorts of technology, recruitment, operations and other aspects of the organization - just generally wearing any hat I could. Unfortunately, personal and academic pressures came to a head at the same time and I just barely kept up with the demands of the org. often even less than that.

Right now, I have few external pressures, and think I could do a good job. I've been trying at this but I'm just a bit overwhelmed by all the projects I've taken on. I also, at this time, have the opportunity to transition out of the role as we have another techie joining the org as well.

I want to leave the organization with the ability to say that at least in the last few months, I was competent, professional, and dependable. I also want to be able to hand off the duties in as professional a manner as possible. Finally, I want to use this experience to give me insight into myself and any similar experience I might have in the future.

For those of you who have been in tech transition positions, or positions where you had the chance to go out on a high note - how did you do it? What did you wish you had done differently? Any tips you have on the process?

By way of additional information:

I am not a technology professional but I have some intermediate tech skills, I can do some coding and have worked with various web technologies in the past.

I am also working full time, so this would be on the side.

This is an unpaid project if that matters.

There is no concrete timeline for transition, but I'd like to go through the process over the next two months or so, after which I'll play an advisory role only.

posted by nondescript to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Documentation and comments first and foremost.

Then, if you have some time left-over, add some more documentation and comments.
posted by 0 at 12:28 PM on February 20, 2014

Agree with 0 - create documentation/manuals/etc.
posted by radioamy at 12:47 PM on February 20, 2014

Thirding seems sort of silly at this point, but then, there it is. Documentation would be a key for sure, but not just the tech factors. Letting whoever follows you know, not just the technical aspects (which versions of what are running, commenting code, etc.) but also the how and why behind decisions that were made (or just happened because no one was available to make a decision, etc.) Let the next guy or gal who is coming in know about any organizational gotchas and/or non-tech related factors that will impact the web master role.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:59 PM on February 20, 2014

One useful thing is documenting how to back up the website (and if you don't do back ups, figure out how! Use source control for code, have databases backed up, media files collated and saved, etc) and then how to restore the website from scratch given a backup.
posted by foxfirefey at 4:04 PM on February 20, 2014

If you have the time and capability, learn what is commonly referred to as DevOps. Use version control software to track changes to the content. Use something like puppet or chef to transfer files from the software repository to the server.
posted by Candleman at 4:42 PM on February 20, 2014

Also usernames and passwords. Not just the webserver: the database, the domain registration, that one wordpress thing you used one time, the github account... whatever you use, have all of them on one list you can hand to the next guy so he doesn't need to track you down when the domain renewal comes due three years from now.
posted by ook at 6:44 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

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