With all the modern project management tools available today, it’s easy to assume that project management has only become easier than ever. Unfortunately, this misconception has led to poorly executed, delayed, and over-budget websites. Despite the availability of project management tools, here are indispensable principles to make every project a success, regardless of whichever tool is used:
Create an obsessively detailed plan.
Key word: Obsessive. You want everything pinned down right from the very start. A thorough needs analysis before the project launch sets and aligns expectations between client and the development team. Project plans pin down absolutely everything from content to design, from delegation of tasks to marketing strategy, from identification of important milestones to scheduling of alpha tests and setting of deadlines. All of these things must be in an agreed project plan. Experience will tell us that having an impeccable plan significantly reduces the development time, and makes the web development processes incredibly convenient to the team and a tremendously pleasant experience to the client.
Be faithful to your milestones.
Many web development teams fall to the danger of overusing milestones. Be wary of the normal tendency to label every task completed as a milestone. In the project planning phase, zoom out to see the project from conception to launch and identify the most critical milestones in between. The time between milestones matter too. For a big project, a good practice would be to set milestones no longer than 2 weeks apart. Milestones that are too close to each other (a day or two) lose their distinctiveness and significance, whereas those set too far apart may defeat the momentum of the team.
Be crazy over time management and deadlines.
Even the simplest projects can spiral out of control with improperly managed deadlines. Web development is a complex process and so avoid falling into the pit of multi-tasking. Such complicated tasks require focus. A popular strategy among developers is the use of the Pomodoro technique in managing an endless queue of tasks. It helps you achieve your long log of tasks without getting burned out, therefore allowing to mark them off your list on time.
Test, test, test.
If there’s one place you would never want bugs in, it’s in your website. Dead links – broken ones – may seem harmless but they destroy your site’s search engine rankings, user experience, and result in lost customers and revenue. While getting a site launched is the most urgent goal of any development project, be careful not to skip the testing right before the very end. Error 404 is the last thing you will want your site visitors to end up to in your website.
As they say, “trying to manage a project without project management is like trying to play a football game without a game plan.” Let’s talk about yours.