You may of seen our IGTV of Project Manager Ceri Bower giving her top tips for keeping a project on track (if you haven't it's worth a look). We thought it was so useful and jam packed full of tips it would be worth publishing as blog for you lovely lot. Through out the Spindogs project process we have dedicated Project Managers who are with you throughout the process, taking the project from the initial briefing, through to initiation, testing and finally the launch. To keep your project on track here's five tops tips to make sure you are maximising your project process.
Let's get to it... over to you Ceri!
One of our key responsibilities is to ensure the project is delivered on time and within budget but how do we do that? Here are 5 strategies we use to ensure that a project is kept on schedule.
The devil’s in the detail
A project always starts with a quote that identifies the key features and functionality but these are often bullet points on a page. Before we can set deadlines and milestones we need to understand the full scope of the project and extract the detail behind it. To do this we conduct a thorough kick-off process which raises questions such as;
- What are the key priorities and user journeys per page type?
- Are there any third party integrations required?
- What testing needs to be conducted and at what points of the project?
- Is your content ready to rock or should we factor that into the project timings?
- Are your team experienced with the chosen CMS or will they require thorough training and guidance?
By going through this process we can ultimately move onto…
Setting a (realistic) deadline
Deadlines. These can often be seen as scary, unwanted pests but if the deadline is realistic and there’s been sufficient planning, they can actually be great motivators.
The key to deadlines is breaking a project down into manageable milestones, which can be ticked off along the way. Typically this would be design -> development -> testing -> launch but much larger projects may break the
development down into smaller phases (or sprints). Your Project Manager will decide the best way to chop up the project and ensure the key requirements are delivered first.
Risk management is far from the sexiest of processes but if you skip it, you’re bound to regret it somewhere down the line! By identifying potential risks to a project and asking some potentially challenging questions at the start, a Project Manager can eliminate potential curveballs.
There are an endless amount of risks to the success of a project, here are just a few of the usual suspects;
Are the key stakeholders engaged in the project and do certain elements of the project hinge on their contribution/sign-off?
Third party involvement
Are there third parties involved in the project? For example, a branding agency or an external IT company? Are they aware of the project and of their role in it?
Are you and your colleagues able to dedicate the required time to the project? Is there annual leave or other commitments that could cause blockers?
Use List Project/Task Management tools
As Project Managers there’s one thing that we love more than anything else in the world – lists. Requirements lists, risk management lists, go live checklists. Hey, even this blog contains multiple lists.
There are hundreds of tools on the market that satiate our list-constructing needs and there isn’t a one size fits all approach to every project and organization. Our Project Managers are therefore comfortable in a wide range of tools including;
- Google drive
Regardless of the small quirks and annoyances between the above and the other tools out there, the fundamental idea is the same – let’s get every project task identified, categorized, and estimated.
Hello? It’s me…
It sounds so simple but in my opinion communication is the most important factor to keeping a project on track and keeping all parties motivated.
During the kick-off process your Project Manager will ask for your communication preferences – do you prefer a weekly round-up email? A bi-weekly call? A Teams screen-share? There may be certain parts of the project where the communication is less frequent and there may also be times where we are relentlessly chasing you (sorry!)
Transparency in communication is also crucial to the smooth running of a project. Your Project Manager will let you know when things are on track but also when things are slipping or proving to be more challenging than first thought.
So there we have it, Ceri's 5 most important tips for keeping a project on track. I hope it was helpful and if you want to know more or get in touch about your next project then contact us below!