Software project managers have it rough: from fulfilling the interests of stakeholders with limited resources and time, constantly-updating technologies – it seems like a never-ending battle.
To keep yourself from drowning in the project management swamps of despair, here are several tips for making sure your team and organization is as efficient as possible.
1. Team Satisfaction.
Nobody enjoys working hard for little reward or recognition. Having team members who feel like they’re taken advantage of for peanuts will be less likely to follow the goals of the business and stakeholders. That’s why it’s important to make sure that team morale is on point. Think of your team as rowers in a boat: when everyone is happy and feeling fulfilled, the boat will move more quickly. When just one rower feels empty, neglected or exhausted, the boat will move slower.
2. Define Success.
Do your stakeholders know what a successful project is? Find out. It is crucial to make sure they—and your organization — understands the criteria for what a successful project is. Finding these definitions early in the game will prevent them from feeling like something is lacking. Ask your stakeholders what their interests and expectations are, as well as some measurable business goals that everybody can get behind.
Can you quickly figure out which tasks need to accomplished? Can you consistently monitor your work plan? If not, the software project will take longer to complete. A development platform that is fast and accurate drastically helps speed this process along. BMC Helix delivers cognitive service management with a variety of services that can help you in more ways than one.
It’s easy to make commitments. It’s even easier to make commitments that are beyond the realm of possibility. To increase your team’s overall efficiency, don’t promise everyone everything under the sun. When there is a gap in the schedule or project functionality, commitments to customers or stakeholders are put on the line. That’s why it is imperative to never make a commitment to someone for the sole sake of keeping them happy.
More often than not, stakeholders tend to request changes quite frequently. These changes usually happen while the project is already underway, which can be frustrating. They may typically be major or minor additions outside of the original scope everyone agreed upon during the initial stages. Be wary of requests for changes, and negotiate with stakeholders that if you agree to their changes, doing so will push back the completed product/software. Any additional work always means additional time. Show evidence.
Building a solid plan involves mental agility more than anything else. You have to think extensively about goals, outcomes, solutions to problems and their alternatives, listen to team members, etc. – it is a delicate balancing act. Writing a cohesive plan could be considered an art form. This is because building a plan reduces the amount of surprises that could setback your organization or software development team. This means taking the following into account, and planning possible tragedies accordingly:
- Analyzing (and adhering to) a realistic budget
- Calculating resources
- Defining team role responsibilities
- Finding possible risks
- Defining target dates
- Subcontractor relationship management
Adopting the IEE Std 1058-1988 “IEEE Standard for Software Project Management Plans” template will make the process a lot smoother for everyone involved.
7. Constant Communication.
If miscommunication occurs during any part of the project, the entire thing could come crumbling down. This can be prevented by keeping everybody (from stakeholders, team members and even management) in the loop. Make sure everybody is on the same page.
These strategies for improving software project management is by no means exhaustive, as people (and software) is forever “upgrading.” Remember that no paycheck is worth sacrificing your health over a project, and that no software is ever set in stone.