Be it short-term or long-term, major or minor, all software development projects need a good level of management. Agree?
The major project objectives are on time completion, cost effectiveness, sufficient scope and superior quality, and to achieve these objectives, having effective project management practices in place is a must. Why? Because from the project’s initiation to its completion, there are delays as well as risk and cost overruns that need to be minimized for a successful software delivery.
In this blog post we will cover 4 project management practices that contribute to a successful delivery of your software development project and reduce the project failure rate.
1.Initiate It the Better Way: Strategic Planning
While you’re about to kick-off a project, make sure all the people who are involved in it, directly or indirectly, are aware of the project plan. You can arrange a formal meeting or if you are working with a remote/virtual team, you can connect with them online to explain and discuss what the project is all about. Do it step by step ensuring that the project overview, its objectives and scope are made understood to everyone involved.
This is important, because it will help the team and all stakeholders to have a common understanding of how the project is likely to be executed. Don’t jump right in to begin the work; project planning is an important part and should be given your thought & time.
2. Create the Workflow
This should be thorough and purposeful! Scribble down a formal plan defining what has to be done, how it has to be done, who will be there, etc. Don’t go for a pen and paper, as those endless sheets and notes would be a bothersome task to be handled. It is better to have a central workspace where you can define everything and can take the project further till it ends. An online project management platform with appropriate features like projects, tasks, bug trackers, discussions, chat, etc. would be an ideal choice. You can easily start by creating a project, adding tasks to it, assigning people, defining its schedule and so on… With that done, you and your team members would be able to have access to project data and can stay updated with how things are moving. If you have an ecommerce software development project, check out these project management tools.
3. Manage It Well : Check KPIs
There are several key performance indicators that need a PM's attention and supervision. These KPIs are a powerful tool to keep track of how well teams are achieving specific goals. The main areas of concern can include the deviation in planned budget, estimated time, cost variance, missed number of milestones, current resource allocation, etc. So it helps managers to know where more direction is needed or where the incentives, plans and other resources, such as training, should be allocated.
The major challenge for you as a Project Manager is to make sure that your plans and processes are executed correctly. Though it is quite obvious that no software development project proceeds entirely the way it was planned, you constantly need to check that it isn’t going off the track. Along with that, a PM needs to monitor the budget and schedule of the project on a regular basis and follow the below recommendations:
- Performance Monitoring
Tasks which have been completed should be marked as ‘complete’ to reduce confusions, and if there are any pending jobs to be done, you can mark them as ‘due’. A project management tool with a Gantt chart would enable you to set dependencies between tasks and view their progress. Also, you can use online tools such as reporting software (ProofHub, Jira, Sprintly, Blossom, Asana, etc.), time tracking software, etc. to keep up with what exactly is going on in your project on real time basis.
- Don't Be Put Off By the Learning Curve
Project managers need to understand that while trying out new processes in the project, the benefits might not be as significant in the first try. With progression and experience, the cost and resource requirement for these repetitive processes will decrease, but you and your team will have to put an extra effort and time for that.
- Project Health Check
Look for warning signs to see if your project is in trouble and don’t ignore them. In case your project tasks are moving beyond their deadlines, if the deliverable quality is getting deteriorated, if your team morale is declining, then action should be taken to resolve these issues ASAP. The sooner you realize these signals, the smaller are the chances that your project goes down the curve. Review the risk management log regularly and continue doing this throughout the project execution phase. Just like SEO experts conduct SEO audits to determine the opportunities and flaws for your internet marketing campaigns, you can conduct a PM audit of your project to determine what needs to be improved or modified.
- Delegate Smartly
The distribution of work is another critical aspect of project management. Oftentimes experienced and skilled project managers fail to make it right, which at times results in a chaos. You need to see who in your team is the best skilled at a specific task. Also, make sure that your resources are having just sufficient tasks to be done and that no one is overburdened. Try to keep a timely check to maintain the balance.
- Collaborate Seamlessly
Unclear and inadequate communication is known to be the major reason behind blame games between team members. Smooth, instant and comfortable mediums can reduce chances of communication turmoil.
4. Choose Technology Appropriately
Whether you are a co-located team or a virtual one, you’ll surely need technology one way or the other to help you manage your software project. So whether you’re using tools for collaboration, management or reporting, make sure you choose the right ones. Figure out your project requirements and see the available options in the market and see which ones best suit your requirements. For example - if you’re looking out for a software to help you and your team in better communication, then seek out features such as one-to-one chat or group chat etc. rather than using emails.
These practical ways to effective project management can help you gain a clear visibility into what everyone in the team is working on and control different processes used in your project.
John oftentimes takes the lead as the Agile Project Manager and SEO expert on selected projects, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends.