Business5 key aspects of successful project management in software development
Table of contents
- Personal experience
- 1. Technical and IT goals understanding
- 2. Effective communication among the IT product team
- 3. Be a leader for your people
- 4. Evaluation of the risk related to your IT product goals
- 5. Adaptability and flexibility to fast-changing IT landscape
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As an IT leader of a software agency, I have struggled with dozens of IT projects in my 10-year carrier. As a company owner, I am still playing multiple roles, usually, I supervise the project managers in our team, but occasionally I need to take responsibility for delivering a particular project scope. Each project is different, with different goals, different project teams, and different problems. Despite that project success is the main objective, we need to have in mind that each project’s success has its own definition. In my opinion, these are 5 key aspects of successful IT project management.
1. Technical and IT goals understanding
A successful project manager needs to have a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of the IT project. This means defining what needs to be accomplished, setting realistic timelines, and outlining the tools and human resources as developers, UX/UI designers, QA specialists, and business analysts needed to achieve these goals. The IT project manager has to fully understand the tech and IT aspects of these goals. He needs to understand the high-level technical background of what is he doing and how the IT goal needs to be achieved. He needs to understand the tech aspects of the components that are impacting goals and objectives. I saw dozens of times in different organizations people who were trying to manage the IT project without particular knowledge of how web or mobile apps is working. Setting up the goal, deadlines, and project plan without such knowledge is impossible and probably will end with failure, the only hope is really great team that will cover the project leader's knowledge gaps.
Moreover, it is worth mentioning that at the beginning of each cooperation with the Client, we should ask the stakeholder, project sponsor, or investor the fundamental question “What is the business goal that you would like to achieve?”. This is the best practice that I recommend to everyone who is struggling with understanding of what is the reason for any IT module that needs to be implemented. This kind of knowledge could change our understanding of the project significantly. If you think that doing the scope that our Client ordered, without asking what is the purpose or reason of it, is enough, you are wrong. In this case, project execution probably will end with failure, or outputs won't meet our Client's expectations.
2. Effective communication among the IT product team
Communication is key to the success of any project. Especially in the IT project management communication is crucial. A project manager needs to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with stakeholders, team members, and other parties like 3rd party software providers, external agencies, etc. which are involved in the project. This includes providing regular updates on progress, identifying and addressing potential roadblocks, and keeping everyone informed of any changes to the project scope or timeline.
Daily discussions with the developers and other IT specialists can be hard, different points of view, different characters need to be led toward one common goal. Managing a project and keeping communication with everyone is challenging. Especially leading communication of a remote team is totally different from leading the team that we can meet each day face to face at the office, but I think that these differences we can leave for another blog post.
In case of communication problems, I recommend starting to solve issues personally with each team member separately. When you have awareness about different perspectives on the problem you can start clarifying the issue in front of the whole team or its part. Moreover good project management software could be very helpful in keeping the proper communication in the team.
3. Be a leader for your people
According to ProjectManger.com project leadership is the act of leading a team towards the successful completion of a project. It’s about getting something done well through others.
Successful project management requires strong leadership skills, including the ability to inspire and motivate team members, delegate tasks effectively, and make tough decisions when necessary. When a project team has a problem you have to know that you will be the first person that they will contact. You have to be prepared for different personal issues, you have to be ready to talk about them with team members, help them, escalate problems higher in the organization if necessary, and give support. This is real leadership.
Moreover, leading the IT project is important and everyone needs to know who is responsible for making the final calls to deliver and achieve the project objectives. As a leader, apart from the supportive role, you would have to make pressure to achieve the deadlines, make sure of task execution, and draw the consequences when somebody is permanently not making deliverables. A good project manager should also be able to provide guidance and foster a positive and collaborative team environment.
4. Evaluation of the risk related to your IT product goals
Every project involves some degree of risk, and a successful project manager must be able to identify potential risks and take steps to mitigate them. Integration with 3rd parties tools, developers unwilling to change, missed estimation regarding to particular project requirements and many more problems may appear in each IT project management process. Key stakeholders, project sponsors, and Clients are very sensitive in this matter. The project management process should involve identifying potential issues early on, developing contingency plans, and monitoring progress to ensure that the project stays on track.
As for my failure in project management regarding risk management, I would like to cite a case where a few years ago in one of our projects, I missed one email from the online payment provider. It was one short message that they rejected our application and integration with one of its services wouldn't be possible. Without knowing it and assuming that non of this cannot happen move forward with implementing integration with them. This mistake cost us additional two months of additional work and significant delays and problems with the Client, and project sponsor. Lack of proper risk management, not outlining it as a possible risk, and lack of proper risk monitoring caused that situation.
5. Adaptability and flexibility to fast-changing IT landscape
Projects are rarely straightforward, and a successful project manager needs to be adaptable and flexible in order to navigate unexpected challenges or changes in the project scope. Project management success depends on the project manager's adaptability to the situation that she or he is currently facing. Only if the project manager can flexibly handle daily issues and navigate between them, the team is much more effective and can focus on delivering the job. Moreover, project sponsors, Clients can cause a lot of changes each day. Changing the priorities, tasks, and critical situations in the production environment, of it requires form project manager and project team members to adjust to changing situations, but everything has to be started by the project manager who with his leadership skills will be an example for rest of the project team.
I presented here different project management knowledge areas, but in my opinion, successful and effective project management is based on the 5 factors and skills mentioned above.
If you are struggling with an ineffective project management process, not achieving deliverables, the web app or mobile app is not working as expected, and the project team is not doing its work, let's contact us. I would be thrilled to support you with the Mobile Reality team to achieve your project goals.
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