Software development projects can often be difficult to manage. You might find yourself in a position where there is no clear path forward. Project managers often get into the habit of managing tasks in a way that doesn't hold up well to scrutiny.
It is at this very moment that you are most likely to find yourself in need of a plan.
Start with asking yourself - What is the goal of this project? How does it fit into your department's goals? Is there another way that you could achieve what needs to be done with less effort or more quickly?
Once these questions are answered, direct your attention towards specific problems. Is there a task that is taking too much time?
Whether you're new to project management or yet to start your career as a project manager, this blog post will help you navigate through your first few months as a project manager.
There is no one size fits all approach for project management, however, there are some tools and techniques that you can use which will make your job much easier.
Let's discuss them in detail.
KPIs or key performance indicators, are the milestones that represent what you want to achieve. Especially for software development projects, KPIs can be a great way to track success.
For example, if the goal of your project is to create an application that will increase sales by 30% within 12 months, then you might set KPIs for acquiring new users and average revenue per user in order to measure progress towards this goal. This would give you a better sense of how your project is progressing. Smart project managers leverage project management tools and free Gantt chart software available online to ensure their KPIs are tracked seamlessly.
Here are some ways you can benefit from setting up and tracking KPIs:
It's important to set achievable goals and work towards them as well as make sure that you understand what kind of KPIs will be helpful for the success of your project. Remember, this isn't an absolute science and it might take a little time before you get used to tracking progress in this way.
Once you have KPIs set up, you can start keeping an eye on how your team is performing against them and see if there are any issues that need to be addressed within the project itself or with its members.
KPIs give you and your team a clear vision and keep everyone on the same page when it comes to achieving goals. Ensure you keep evaluating KPIs to ensure progress is being made towards achieving them.
You can leverage the right KPI tracking tool to keep everything in sync. Most tools come with features like data integration, customizable dashboards, and web and mobile accessibility. These help with tracking even the minutest of details, ensuring you are well aware of where you're headed.
When it comes to project management, communication is key. If your team feels like they are not being communicated with properly or that something important has been left out, then there might be an issue.
Work closely with each member and make them aware of what's going on at all times. Check in with them and make sure they understand their roles. If you notice that something isn't working, address it before things get out of hand.
Here are a few other points you can take care of to ensure effective communication amongst teams:
It's important to show appreciation for members who are doing a great job as well as those who might need more support than others in the project. Hold meetings where you announce the performer of the week or month, and appreciate your employees who are contributing the most to the growth of the project.
The communication tools should be flexible and accessible even after work hours. As the culture of work from home is on the verge, there should not be any location or time-based restrictions. Your employees shouldn't feel stuck while working on projects.
Pick communication tools that ensure intact privacy and offer flexibility. With this approach, you can mitigate communication barriers and gaps, and build a positive workplace culture. You need to figure out a way to establish a secure work environment to keep your clients' and employees' data safe.
Every member of the project should have a clear role and understanding of what their responsibilities are. This is another way to make sure that everything is being communicated properly.
Here are a few things you can keep in mind:
Each person in the team has different skill sets which will affect how they approach certain tasks, evaluate the individual skillsets of your team members and divide the tasks accordingly. You can do a thorough audit of your team's past successes before assigning them roles for any new endeavour.
If you have a person on your team who is more analytical and likes to look at the big picture, then they might be better suited for business analysis or high-level design specifications. On the other hand, if you have someone who can take something from concept all the way to implementation, then they might be better suited for tasks such as coding or unit testing. You need to make this judgement to ensure maximum efficiency.
Having a clear division of responsibilities will make your team more efficient and less stressed out because everyone is on the same page. You can create a vision board where you have everything laid out for you and your team to follow.
You can leverage robust management tools like Trello, Asana, ClickUp, or Monday to keep track of what's happening in real-time with each member so you never miss a beat.
Regardless of the size of your project, these tools bring more agility and responsiveness among your team members.
Development projects have interdependent tasks that need to be carried out in a specific order for the final product to work properly.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure you have a robust development workflow:
Creating an efficient development workflow is key to project success. This means that everyone has their own tasks and knows exactly what they need to do at any given time.
You can create workflows using tools like Trello or Asana which will keep everyone on track as well as give them an idea of how long their tasks might take to complete. Using the right team management tech will eliminate your manual efforts, and you can focus on other tasks that require your strategic guidance.
Every member of the team should also be able to see how far along other members are in terms of task completion so there's no room for confusion about who is responsible for what.
Using a team management software eases the job of tracking the overall development workflow as it makes everyone's progress visible.
Workflows can also be used as a means of managing time and deadlines because everyone will know exactly which tasks they need to focus on next, how much time it's going to take them, and when the deadline is coming up.
You can allocate due dates or task completion time for every task and your team can follow it up while working on their specific roles.
Based on the project's requirements, you can define a bespoke workflow that matches the client's demands. The workflow should be based on priority with respect to the overall timeline of the project.
When both things go hand in hand, development flow improves naturally, allowing your team to complete tasks with more flexibility and freedom.
It's important to measure your project's progress at certain intervals to bring in agility to your projects.
Here are a few ways you can strengthen your progress measurement efforts:
You don't want to micromanage but you also need to make sure that everything is moving along as planned and if something isn't working properly, address it immediately before things get out of hand.This is another way to avoid stress, confusion, and misunderstandings.
Your project management tool will allow you to see your progress in real-time as well as give you a clear idea of how far along everyone is with their tasks. Having this information readily available means that if something isn't going according to plan, you can address it immediately and take corrective action for specific tasks so the entire work chain remains intact.
Keep a track of the progress of all departments and map it with the overall project's timeline to measure the throughput. You need to ensure all teams are progressing at the same pace.
As a general rule of thumb, if you have more than two people working on the same project, then it's important to delegate specific tasks.
Here's how you can do it efficiently:
Task assignment can make all the difference in the end outcome of your project. Make sure you do not overload any member of your team with tasks more than their potential.
You can also assign more than one person to the same task, but this needs to be done sparingly. If everyone is working on their own tasks independently and no one has a problem doing so, then there's really no reason why you need them all assigned.
Follow the right type of leadership practice while delegating the tasks. You need to match both your team member's strengths and the project's challenges. It also frees up time for everyone so they can focus on their own specialties instead of getting bogged down by the tasks they don't do as well.
These easy steps will help you manage any software management project with more efficiency and agility. Let your teams complete milestones with ease and be more productive. If you are starting a new project, the right combination of tools, strategies, and tactics will ensure everything is on the right track.