Monday morning – I open my email and see an email from Tim, business analyst hey saying “Hey AKASH we have bagged another Mobile application project and by the sounds of it, is going to be the next big thing”. The e-mail gave tears of happiness to accounts team, the sales manager and business development manager. I was also in tears but not happiness but what I call is tears of fear. To be very honesty every project manager gets those tears of fear irrespective of the experience they have in their pocket.
Time to buckle up and start planning. A well planned project has the highest amount of successful rate. Technically the project manager should be involved during initial stages of the project but when you are on vacation you have to pay the price for it.
These are few of the thing I make sure I do apart from standard project management practices and god gifted skills.
1.) Read the scope statement carefully. – Read the scope statement as many times as you could. Take a break and then read it again your brain will respond to it better the second time.
2.) Take out bullet points. : Throughout the reading cycle make bullet points, these bullet points could be for yourself, the team or the client.
3.) Dry run the project – Close your eyes and run the project in your mind. Compile all the features mentioned in scope document. This way you will get a feel about the project. Add stuff to your bullet points.
work out dependencies.
4.) Milestone breakings. – This is very important as you want to get money for stuff which is not tangible like documentation. team meeting coding done but that is not visible to client so break them into tangible deliverables on every milestone so that client could see yes work has been accomplished.
5.) Communicate with customer – Make or break for the project. Always setup the communication plan and make sure not just you all the stakeholders including clients do follow it.
6.) Expectations – This is very important have a discussion with client as they might have something different in mind and you might be working on something else. If its a development project more than an implementation project show some of your old work or ask the client for some reference work so that you and the team could have an idea. Rather than dealing with it later.
7.) Explain them methodology scrum or waterfall to client – Some project managers say its not important to tell the clients what methodology is being used but I generally prefer to tell the clients. For eg they might have to design their beta testing and marketing strategy differently with agile and differently with waterfall. The feature which they want to market now might not be availble till build 1.2. So explain them and discuss what they want and whether that strategy will work for them or not.
8.) Team – Choose your team appropriately. Have backup and prepare for the worst eg. resource leaving organization.
9.) Technology meeting – Sit with technology architects and get a deep picture of the project. As much as possible. This will help you answer client’s questions without going to team every now and them and will also make you more confident.
10.) Kill client anxiety – Clients become very anxious to see something working so its advisable to give them something to test as early as possible. This is very important in terms of meeting expectations as well. Use of prototyping tools could also help.
11.) Use prototyping tools. – Prototyping is very important do a prototype first. Use tools like proto.io and gather the User experience rather than spending resources on designing and then scrapping,
12.) Platform differences- Understand the different platforms and differences among them. Some features which could be easily accomplished on one platform could not be achieved on the other.