Project Management: From Good to Great

Project Management for Software DevelopmentProject management refers to the active process of planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources to complete a unique task that aims to achieve a specific goal. Sometimes a company will outsource software development needs to an outside company. In order for software development work to be completed in a timely and effective manner, project management is a key part of this effort.  The ideal outsourcing partner will deliver the best product available afforded by time, talent and resources. The end results depends largely on how an outsourcing firm manages the project from start to finish.

When it comes to project management, it isn’t a process that is set in stone to which a standard protocol is easily implemented. Instead, project management is a strategic an dynamic application of knowledge, skills, techniques and experience. Effective project managers allow a company to tie project results to business goals, which enables better competitive positioning in the market.

7 Ways to go from Good to Great Project Management

Although there is more than one successful way to implement successful project management, there are certain common factors that tend to be present in most approaches.  Follow along to learn seven ways for project managers to take a project from good to great:

  1. Planning – Most deficiencies in a project may be the result of a poor or improper planning process from the get go. When planning a project, it’s vital to determine the project definition, the project work plan, and the project management procedures.  Having a clear illustration of these three planning criteria will facilitate a more fluid operation of the project from start to finish.
  2. Identify Risks in Advance – During the planning process, it’s important to identify all possible risk that will occur at some point in the project and asses the level of immediacy they will need in order to be fixed. Risk may be defined as high, medium, or low.  Being aware of the potential problems that may arise throughout the project can ultimately save valuable time and money if they are recognized early in the planning process.
  3. Scheduling – Throughout the project, monitoring the work plan to identify what task have been completed and what tasks need to be done will help keep team members up-to-date on the process. Monitoring the work plan schedule will help determine whether the project is and will stay on the determined time budget and allow any necessary changes to be made.
  4. Budget – Similar to the work plan schedule, it’s vital to monitor the budget of the project to determine how much money the project has consumed, and to make sure more than the original cost has not been spent. Keeping track of the budget throughout the project will help foresee any financial issues that may occur and allow the proper adjustments to be implemented to make sure the project stays on budget.
  5. Scope Management – During the process of the project, a stakeholder may request minor or major deliverables to be added that were not part of the original project definition. Being flexible and knowing how to correctly document and categorize the change needed in the project is imperative to overall success.  It’s also important that a manager recognize the smallest scope changes so they do not pile up over time and compromise the project through a phenomenon often referred to as “scope creep.”
  6. Urgent Resolutions – Even when risks and issues are identified early in the planning stages of the project, the product development team may be faced with unseen problems. Issues may become a big problem to the project if they are not taken care of in a timely manner. It does a great service to the entire project if issues are addressed with a sense of urgency to keep the flow of the project as smooth as possible.
  7. Communication – Poor communication may lead to a number of problems throughout a project. Some team members may have different expectations, may not fully know where the project stands, and may not be working on what they need to be. Communication between managers, team members, and stakeholders needs to be at the highest level possible to ensure that everyone on the project is on the same page in all steps along the way. This may be particularly important if some team members are located offshore.

Producing a great end product for a development project should be the main objective of any software firm. And implementing effective project management may be the difference between delivering a good or great end result.  For a company to remain competitive in its respective market, hiring a firm software development firm that uses best practices in project management will ultimately be a smart decision.