Web Project Process and Approvals

Follow this process whenever you are developing a new EERE Web project, a redesign, or a user-experience project. Web project teams come to the Web Governance Team (WGT) at three stages:

  • Concept approval before development begins
  • Project charter approval
  • Final go-live approval.

All new websites should be built in the Energy.gov Drupal environment to comply with the U.S. Department of Energy's website policy.

If needed, you can also read about the processes for developing:

When Should You Follow this Process?

You should go through the steps listed on this page whenever you are developing a new website or redesigning an existing one. This process is used for all:

  • New Web projects, including websites or nested groups (subsites), Web applications, mobile applications, native mobile apps, widgets, scripts, new content types in the Energy.gov CMS, or special features
  • Redesigns of existing websites and applications
  • User-experience projects, such as surveys or user-experience studies.

Step 1: Concept Approval

In this phase, you will need to get your project concept reviewed and approved by the Web Governance Team. This should be done before you begin any work on the project. Please email the following information to the Web Governance Team Facilitator and schedule the concept meeting. The Web Governance Team will provide guidance on your project so you can proceed to develop your project charter.

Gather Key Project Information

The DOE Project Lead and the project team should come to the Web Governance Team to discuss the following information (no form is required at this step).

  • Project name
  • Name of supporting EERE office/program/initiative
  • Website purpose
  • Audience
  • Project goals
  • General project scope (e.g., do you need content/features to be part of an existing site, do you need a unique site, do you need a registration form, etc.)
  • General timeframe
  • What domains and URLs you plan to use
  • Where your website will be hosted. (Note that all projects must be hosted in energy.gov's Drupal Environment unless the WGT is given written approval from DOE Public Affairs.)
  • Describe any special branding or design requirements outside of the energy.gov standard template
  • Describe any special technical requirements or features (e.g. public uploads, password-protection, forms, databases, etc.)
  • Are any interactive elements (e.g., interactive graphics or maps) needed?
  • Does this project collect data from public or government sources that may be made available to data-sharing sites such as Data.gov, Energy.data.gov and OpenEI.org?
  • Whether your project will collect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Note: For user-centered design projects such as a survey or card sort, complete the user-centered design project information form and send it to the Web Governance Team Facilitator.

Review and Approval Checkpoint

Obtain approval for Web concept before writing charter or beginning development.

If your site must have functionality or branding that energy.gov can't support, then you will need to present a strong business case to the Web Governance Team, the governing body that oversees EERE's website. The WGT will facilitate that exception to Public Affairs and communicate back to the project team. Only rare exceptions will be granted for such projects like White House initiatives, congressional issues, or partnership efforts where DOE is not the primary project owner. You must have approval in writing from DOE Public Affairs in order to proceed with an exception. As the excepted project moves along, WGT will be the primary communication facilitator between Public Affairs and the project team.

Step 2: Project Charter Approval

In this phase, you will need to get your project charter reviewed and approved by the Web Governance Team. This should be done before you begin any work on the project.

  • Write a Charter

    Create a project charter. Download EERE's Project Charter Template.

    Note: User-centered design projects do not require a project charter. The WGT may ask you to share your results at the end of your study.

  • Privacy Impact Assessments

    If your project involves Personally Identifiable Information, you may need to fill out an E-Authentication Risk Assessment form or Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA). If your project requires one, fill it out and submit it to the WGT.

  • Attend a Web Governance Team meeting

    Schedule a meeting with the WGT Facilitator. The WGT will review your charter with you. You need approval from the WGT on your charter before you continue.

Review and Approval Checkpoint

Ensure you have completed the following tasks before moving to step 3:

  • You've completed a project charter and presented it to the Web Governance Team.
  • If needed, you have submitted a Privacy Impact Assessment form or E-authentication form and it has been approved by the WGT.
  • You've attended two Web Governance Team meetings.
  • The following elements were approved by the WGT:
    • Concept approval
    • Project charter including:
      • Any special domains or URLs
      • Hosting environment
      • Any unique branding
      • Any special technical features
      • Plans to collect PII

Step 3: Develop Site Content

In this phase, complete your content so you can determine the final site architecture.

  1. Write Content
    Write the content for your website.

    1. Follow the EERE Style Guide.
    2. Use the Web Writing guidelines to ensure that your content meets the standards for elements such as headers, intro text, subheaders, photo captions, and alt text.
  2. Create the Information Architecture
    Develop your information architecture (also known as website navigation). See the Library of Approved Navigation for guidance on navigation.

  3. Send Your Final Information Architecture for Review
    Submit your final information architecture to the Web Template Coordinator for review and approval. You may be asked to make changes before your architecture is approved.

Review and Approval Checkpoint

Ensure the following tasks are completed before moving to step 4:

Step 4: Production

Below are the basic steps for developing your website.

  1. Prepare for Production
    If you're creating a website on energy.gov and need a new nested group, request that one of the Site Coordinators create it.

  2. Create the Website
    Work with your lead contractor to create your website.

Review and Approval Checkpoint

Ensure the following tasks are completed before moving to step 5:

  • If you are creating a new site in energy.gov and need a new nested group, you have worked with the Site Coordinators to set it up.
  • The website is complete and ready for its final review.

Step 5: Final Reviews and Going Live

When your website is ready for review, it will need to go through a QA and program review before it goes live.

  1. Schedule QAs
    Work with your lead contractor to schedule a technical QA.

  2. If Needed, Schedule Security Scans
    For applications not hosted on the central EERE infrastructure, you should ensure they undergo a security scan.

  3. Make Changes
    Make changes to the website based on the QAs and security scans, if your site is hosted outside of energy.gov.

  4. Program Review
    If your office requires internal reviews, schedule them. Make changes based on their feedback.

  5. Get approval to go live from the Web Governance Team.
    Schedule your final meeting with the WGT Coordinator. You must have approval from the WGT before going live.

Review and Approval Checkpoint

Ensure the following tasks are completed before moving to step 6:

  • You've made the critical changes that were identified in the technical QA and security scans.
  • The website has been reviewed and approved by all relevant clients.
  • You've obtained approval to go live through the Web Governance Team.

Step 6: Website Maintenance

During this phase you will keep your content up-to-date, track website statistics, assess user feedback, and plan for future changes. Learn more about maintenance requirements.

Review and Approval Checkpoint

  • Keep the website up-to-date and relevant.
  • Report on your maintenance activities to the Web Governance Team in June and December.