Being a Project Manager means always striving to bring out the best from projects; best from the time-frame you work with, best from colleagues, best from any unexpected situation or bump on the road during the product development. That s our default mode.
However, there will come a moment in every PM s life when things start lagging. It is easy to start getting reluctant in these moments and all of a sudden you have trouble catching up with the tasks, fearing that the team won t hit project milestones as a result of this situation.
The PM Toolkit for Project Success
After years of working in project management, you encounter a lot of such moments both in your and your colleagues teams. The good news is that gets easier as your experience grows, especially if you have the right assets to help you navigate throughout this period.
Here are some guidelines and project management tools for running projects that enable the successful delivery of the software product, no matter the circumstances. If you ve found yourself in a situation mentioned earlier in this post, you can use this list to identify the moment where things went wrong and learn how to avoid the pitfalls next time around.
Let s dive in!
Pre-Planning and Planning
Pre-planning is the stage you should never, ever overlook this activity sets the foundations for successful product delivery.
The goal of pre-planning is to:
- Identify the product vision
- Define the product roadmap
- Build an architecture blueprint
In this phase, you define the MVP scope, prioritize features, gather technical requirements, and do a high-level time and cost estimation.
Once pre-planning is complete, it s time to plan!
During this phase, you need to work out releases and iterations for the first few releases. This will ensure there is cadence around what will be released in the next couple of iterations.
Release planning can be done right after the backlog is created or after the first iterations are complete.
Goals-Setting: The How-To
Once you have defined the outline, it s time to focus on the release goal to build a shippable product.
There are various techniques you can choose from, and one of the most popular options is definitely SMART goal-setting. There is a good reason why this technique has remained so popular for a long time it really works!
SMART goals characteristics:
Your job is to ensure that goals are clearly defined. Goals must be defined in such a way that they are very easy to comprehend, they need to be significant, yet simple. Clearly defined goals should answer the five “W”s: What? Why? Who? Where? Which?
Once you have defined specific goals, you need to ensure that they are measurable. Assessing your work and tracking the team s progress become tremendously easier after implementing this step.
I can t stress enough the importance of setting realistic, achievable goals. Wrong assessment at this point can pose many challenges down the road. Once your goals are clearly defined and you know how you will track them, it is your responsibility to create general guidelines on the best approach the team can take to accomplish each of these goals.
Relevant goals are realistic, reasonable, and result-oriented. For each goal that you set ask yourself the question: “Does this goal support the product needs?” and “Is chasing this goal a good investment of our time?”
The more relevant the goals, the more remarkable the results.
Always set a suitable deadline for your project, respecting the team s capabilities and product time-goals.
Brainstorming and Balance
Once the hard work of planning and outlining your work is done, what s next? The brainstorming, of course!
Lay out all the team s tasks to be done in the upcoming period. Go through the list, task by task, and write down everything that comes to your mind in regards to how that specific task/objective should be approached. This will waken up creativity with the team members and bring innovation to the process.
Here are some suggestions to follow and ensure that you have examined every angle of the project:
- Set a reasonable Group size
- Look out for anchoring
- Make sure you invite the people with the relevant skill-set
- Define a clear and concise goal(s) with subgoals
- Share ideas in writing to ensure every voice is heard
- Make sure everyone reads out their ideas
- Arrange team building game to strike the balance between productivity and fun
- Create and Lead Creativity Exercises
Use The Right Tools:
There are many great tools out there that can be used to manage projects. The key is identifying the ones that are right for building your product just because something worked for one of your previous projects, doesn t mean it will work as well this time, too.
Always remember: If you invest, you get the best!
To conclude this quick project success guide, we prepared a list of coordination and collaboration tools that will help you run the project successfully, especially if you have various people working remotely:
- Atlassian (Jira and Confluence (Knowledge Base)
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra.”H.E. Luccock