At Fer­al, we take inspi­ra­tion from any­where, includ­ing the for­mer Sec­re­tary of Defense Don­ald Rums­feld. At a press con­fer­ence in 2002, he told a group of reporters, There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

The fol­low­ing list of ques­tions may fall into any of these four cat­e­gories (Rums­feld did­n’t men­tion the things you know but don’t know you). Even if you can’t answer all of them, or even some of them, they should help demar­cate the bound­aries of your project and, at the very least, give you more things to wor­ry about. 

Don’t let this list over­whelm you! If there is any­thing here you aren’t in a posi­tion to answer, we can help you answer it. 

Let’s Get This Par­ty Started 🎉

Your Why

  • Why are you embark­ing on a new project? What do you hope to accomplish?
  • What impact do you hope this site will have on your organization?
  • Why you? What is your role in the project?

Your Time­line

  • What is your due date for the project?
  • Do you feel like this date is real­is­tic? If so, why?

Your Cur­rent Website

First let’s talk about your exist­ing website.

  • Do you have an exist­ing site?
  • When was it created?
  • Who cre­at­ed it for you?
  • What’s your favourite thing about it?
  • What’s your least favourite thing about it?
  • What would hap­pen your busi­ness if your site dis­ap­peared tomorrow?
  • What was the last tech­ni­cal issue you had with the site?
  • What’s the worst thing that has hap­pened while oper­at­ing your exist­ing site?
  • Does your site have any inte­gra­tions? (For exam­ple an exter­nal com­ment sys­tem like Dis­qus, a Google Map or a pay­ment sys­tem like Stripe)
  • Are you sell­ing any­thing direct­ly on your site?
  • If so, what pay­ment proces­sor are you using?
  • Do you have a newslet­ter or mail­ing campaign?
  • Do you have a con­tact form?
  • Do you have any oth­er forms on your site?

Your Con­tent

  • Are you using a con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem (CMS)? (For exam­ple Word­Press, Shopi­fy, Square­Space or Drupal)?
  • Do you need to be able to update the con­tent of your site yourself?
  • How often do you update the con­tent of your site?
  • How many peo­ple have access to update content?
  • Do you have any ana­lyt­ics set up?
  • How many month­ly vis­i­tors are you getting?

Behind the Scenes

Let’s find out a lit­tle bit more about how things are propped-up behind the scenes.

  • Is there some­body cur­rent­ly in charge of man­ag­ing the tech­ni­cal side of your business?
  • Do you have a code repos­i­to­ry? (For exam­ple Github, Bit­buck­et, Gitlab)
  • When was the code­base last updated?
  • Where is your site hosted?
  • How much is it cost­ing you per month to host?
  • What provider are you using to man­age your domain name (for exam­ple GoDad­dy, NameCheap, …)?
  • What provider are you using for email (for exam­ple Gmail, Fast­mail, Out­look, Zoho, …)?


  • Have you ever had any secu­ri­ty issues with your site before?
  • Do you have con­trol of all the asso­ci­at­ed accounts or is there anoth­er com­pa­ny or per­son involved?
  • Do you store any cus­tomer data on your own site?

Your Social Life 

  • What social-media relat­ed accounts do you have (Twit­ter, Insta­gram, Youtube, Face­book, Vimeo, …)?
  • How impor­tant are they to your business?
  • Do you share links from your web­site to these accounts?
  • Do you use posts from these accounts on your web­site any­where (embed them in blog posts, share feed­back on the homepage)?
  • Do you get much traf­fic to your site from these accounts?

Your Orga­ni­za­tion

  • How many peo­ple will be involved in the cre­ation of your new site? What are their roles?
  • How is your team structured? 
  • How do you man­age the approval of work? Is there a sin­gle per­son who leads or is it by committee?
  • Do you use a project man­age­ment tool like Asana or Jira to man­age to work?