Project management is an essential part of getting things done and achieving business goals. Through careful planning and executing, team members can collaborate to complete specific tasks or projects. However, with tech development, there are many unique challenges that “standard” task management strategies may not be able to help with.
If you want to find solutions better-suited for your tech staff, you might have to dig a little deeper. The experts of Forbes Technology Council share their go-to project management tips for tech teams.
- Align Expectations Early
Active dialogue inside the team—with developer teams as well as with business stakeholders—helps to establish a common vocabulary as well as shared expectations for the resulting collaboration. For example, a client thinks a task is simple to implement when in reality it is far more involved. Aligning those expectations early sets your project up for maximum client satisfaction. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC
- Measure All Tasks against the Big Picture
Too often, tech teams are only knowledgeable about their specific tasks instead of the bigger picture. Knowing the business drivers, timelines, other deliverables, dependencies and the like contributes not only to a better understanding of the project holistically, but can also adjust and improve how individuals work towards the ultimate goal. – Brian Contos, Verodin Inc.
- Keep an Eye on Scope Creep
Scope creep is without question the most common reason tech development projects fail. Interestingly, even if a change in scope is properly documented, vetted, approved and even announced, the stakeholders will often only remember that the project was not delivered on time and/or on budget. Deviations from scope must be resisted at all costs and saved for later iterations of the product(s). – Todd Rebner, Cyleron
- Keep Your Teams Working Closely Together
Almost everyone’s begun the transition to agile or scrum approaches for project management. But if you are incorporating machine learning or data-driven analytics into your product, project management is very different. Some organizations have data-science teams that are completely walled off from software development, but things are much more effective if the teams work closely together. – Alex Bates, The Sandbox San Diego
- Align Tasks with A Specific Business Objective
Rather than just “completing” the task, the team should also check if that task fulfills the business objective. Usually, teams focus only on completing the task but never analyze if the task achieves the desired business requirement for which it has been defined. Strict time management is another crucial aspect that each team member needs to adhere to, as that sets the discipline of the project. – Sachin Deshpande, Qualitas IT Private Limited
- Consider the Complete Product Experience
Tech teams should take a holistic view of the value they are creating for customers. It is not just about completing the work right in front of you, which a project-oriented mindset typically demands. After all, your product or service is not just a collection of to-dos and bits of technology. It is the complete experience (marketing, sales, support) and relationship that you and customers share. – Brian de Haaff, Aha!
- Run Project Postmortem Sessions
Run project post-mortem sessions, as this helps you close the feedback loop and improve. If it’s possible, run such sessions after each major stage of a project. It will help you change the focus or tweak the acceptance criteria if it is needed. Requirements of big projects can change fast, and tech people don’t like it when at the end of a project the thing they’re working on is already outdated. – Ivailo Nikolov, SiteGround
- Kill Distractions
It’s becoming increasingly clear that our modern workflows are constantly interrupted by email, Slack, texts and other messaging systems that kill productivity. Often, what author Cal Newport would call “deep work”—long, undistracted stretches where one’s expertise and mental capacity are stretched to their limits—is necessary to break through on a highly complex and difficult task. – Timothy Chaves, ZipBooks Accounting Software
- Be Flexible, But Keep The End Goal In Mind
Responding to changing conditions and necessities is as important as adhering to a project roadmap. Being flexible while keeping your eye on the prize is key in order to succeed where standard guidelines break apart. Being empirical as opposed to theoretical in challenging moments takes one far and unleashes creativity, which is key for creative problem-solving during complex projects. – Gabriel Fairman, Bureau Works