In 2013 I laid the foundation for making our web development projects run smoother, help our clients see progress and better manage the chaotic production time that these projects seem to attract. There were brilliant successes along with the pitfalls and setbacks, but we’re still here and now is the time to change for the better. Looking back, I found three things to work on this year to avoid some of those setbacks.
1. Move everything to the cloud
In my first year as a serious project manager, I’ve bumped up against one obstacle time and time again: sharing. Making sure everyone on my team has access to a document is hard when I hadn’t figured out how to use Google Drive, and was relying on printing out the necessary documents. My goal this year is to use as little paper documentation as possible and instead let technology take care of the sorting and sharing of project related notes and documents. With tools like Google Drive, this is looking like a productive year.
2. Using Agile-Fall in a digital agency
Agile development is a big thing in the software development industry. In a small business that does multiple web development projects at one time, I found that implementing the full scope of the agile process would be too much. Looking at the agile model, it works best when you have one team, working on one project, producing one solution for a client. In my world, I have one team, working on multiple projects producing multiple solutions for multiple clients. It’s not a perfect fit, but many ideas in the agile methodology fit with website development.
Last year, the first steps were implemented in becoming more agile:
- Pre-planning and the Scope of Work became more broad
- Projects were divided into 1- or 2- week cycles with an agreed list for the deliverable
- Cycle reviews were held with the clients at the end of each cycle
- Changes were managed during the cycle review and in the time between one cycle finishing and the next beginning
While not all of these steps happened all at once, they were gradually implemented into each new project and helped focus the team on smaller, attainable goals, instead of trying to tackle a big project all at once.
This year, I hope to implement Scrum techniques for daily standing meetings and to exercise more control over cycles.
3. Documenting where projects succeed and fall short
Simply being a part of the success or part of the problem won’t help you grow. Documenting and being able to look back on a project to see how challenges were overcome or why a project got out of control is a good way to learn from the past and grow into the future.