During my time working on software projects, I’ve began to spot trends in what makes a successful project. The most common trait I’ve observed in successful projects is great communication between teams, seemingly the software methodology used has little to do with if a project is a success. This post outlines some methods I’ve used in the past to successfully manage projects.
Kick off meeting
In order for a successful project all stakeholders need to be aligned on the expected outcomes. I find the easiest way to achieve this is by bringing everyone involved on the project together for a kick off meeting.
The purpose of this meeting is to ensure everyone understands why this project is being worked on, the goals (eg. what does success look like?) and how it’ll be approached. If during this meeting you have to field lots of questions, I find it’s worth cycling back round and not starting the project until the team are all in agreement.
It’s easy for project timelines to slip, unexpected things crop up and before you know it you’re weeks behind schedule.
I’ve found using check-ins for brief progress reports and accountability updates keep everyone on the same page and projects moving forward. You want to create a culture where people tell you the truth, no finger pointing when things go south here.
This can be as simple as a quick status update email where you ask for complete honesty from the recipient. This email serves two purposes, firstly it gives you the update you need and the ability to correct and issues. Secondly keeps the developer accountable during the life cycle of the project.
Over communicate all the time
Let’s clear one thing up, over communication is not micro managing.
In my opinion over communication is a great tool in helping developers retain key information, whilst ensuring that everyone heard and understands the message.
Or phrased another way, over communication helps prevent misunderstandings, keeps key information top of mind, and makes sure everyone is on the same page.
As the world is moving to a remote first way of working, its even more important to ensure everyone understands the message you’re trying to get convey.
After every call or meeting document what was said, this comes with some added benefits:
- You can easily refer back to documents
- People can read when they have time, no need to interrupt them
- Easer to reach a wider audience at once
Plan, Release, Repeat
I think it’s easy to sometimes forget that the goal is to ship projects and what ever project management processes you use is just the vessel for getting there.
There are many ways to go from idea to finished product, and taking time to step back and evaluate how you got there is as important as the process it’s self.
Keep moving forward, keep shipping.
This post was inspired by:
Efficient Software Project Management at its Roots by Gergely Orosz
6 Ideas for Effective Software Project Management by Arturo Nuñez