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Improve development-productivity with efficient project management

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 by Servage

Keeping a project on track can be a bit tricky at times, so developing some efficient project management techniques helps us to synchronize the steps with clients and the development team. Project management creates a collaborative environment with accountability.

I discuss project management here from the project kick-off stage, so we can build trust with our clients from the beginning.

Tools for Project Management

Most established web development companies use automated software to manage projects. Many employ the latest project management software that is available for free or they pay for a proprietary system. For startups, or a team of freelancers, finding suitable project management software can be a somewhat daunting task. Not to mention the challenge in affording them. For their needs, they could use simple spreadsheets to help manage their project efficiently.

Whatever you use for project management, the main ingredients remain the same. Let’s review what should be considered during the preparation phase for project management tasks. The goal here is to improve productivity and profits of both web developers and clients.

Ways to Manage Project

Generally in project management, we focus on the responsibility of the team members and the resources that support them to accomplish our tasks on time. We first need to define the tasks as soon as we get a nod of approval for the project from the client. Foremost, we must decide the project start and end dates. This directly indicates our commitment towards project completion, while helping the client to realize their responsibilities in the early going as we collaborate on reaching the goals at the deadline.

The next step involves separating tasks and arranging them into a logical sequence. The end of one task will initiate the start of subsequent tasks in a strategic sequence, without the need to go back and forth frequently. Once you name and designate all tasks on your sheet or software, then the next step is to assign responsibilities of those tasks to team roles. At this point, you need to provide details of the project and its specs, so you can appropriately decide which department will accomplish the specified task.

Be careful here; if you just name the departments (i.e. Graphics Design, UI Design, QA Team, etc.), it won’t work efficiently, unless you have a big project where department heads or an established project manager has authority to assign tasks. Therefore, assigning specific and accurate responsibilities to a particular team member will better serve your purposes here and keep the ball on the track. Specifically, you note the name of each team member who has to do that defined task and then indicate when that task starts and when it must be completed. This motivates them psychologically to finish their task within the given timeframe, otherwise they hold up the entire chain of events within the management of the project.

Impact of Monetization Terms

In the software industry, everything is calculated in terms of hours and its costs. We can apply this same method for our team members as well as our clients, so they realize the importance of each task and their cost within the project. This monetization of project management can be a double edge sword. On the one hand, you may place responsibilities on the web development team and explain how they can contribute to making the project profitable by finding ways to accomplish tasks rapidly without losing quality.

On the other hand, your clients will curtail themselves from demanding unwanted features or functionality in the projects. The reason is made obvious to them, for as soon as they add anything extra, you will adjust for that task with expected hours and its cost. Those figures will direct them automatically. They will then only add such things if they are willing to pay while realizing the visible delay to the overall project’s deadline.

References & More Reading

Manage Your Web Design Projects Better with an “Action Register”
How to Get Your Web Development Projects Off to a Good Start
Avoiding Unscoped Work from Unreasonable Clients

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