Wanna make your next software project successful? It is not enough to hire skilled developers, designers, and UX gurus. Someone has to manage it properly – make individuals into a team, coordinate their efforts and ensure the expected outcome. Who? The project manager … and the rest of the team.
It took us some time to define and assign to somebody the role of the project manager. It was a challenge to preserve the flat organizational structure of the team, to spare project managers the stress-related stomach cramps and to maximize the team know-how. Although the project manager is the backbone of a project, the project will not prove successful without the rest of the “body”.
To lay the foundation stone for success means to handle the art of communication. The same is applicable for the project manager. It does not certainly mean to control the communication and to separate the customer from the rest of the team. It does not even mean to facilitate the communication between team members and sending copy-paste emails back and forth.
A good project manager should connect people directly and ensure their easiest communication without any obstacles. They are back in the game again when crucial decisions need to be taken. The project manager should have up-to-date information on the project status from all parties and use their flair to resolve the issues. Sometimes it is needed to ask the customer, hire a distinguished specialist or consult a UX designer. Certainly, the project manager is not omniscient – he asks, manages and connects rather than just knows it all.
Support and teamwork
Our project managers are there to help the other team members to find peace and space for their work. Such a role stands in total contradiction to the urban legend of an omnipotent god-like project manager controlling the deadlines of their subjects with carrot and stick. It actually works vice versa – project manager usually receives tasks and does not assign them. Surprised? A self-driven and reliable team should work on its own with the project manager to be a shaper and/or a coordinator.
These are more or less the competencies of a project manager. Let’s look closer at the team members.
Synergy and priorities
Nobody likes waiting for another colleague to finish their job. Therefore, we follow this priority list when dealing with tasks:
- Communication – Is someone waiting for your call? Do not let him wait.
- Cooperation and synergy – Do you need to combine your efforts with someone else? Give him an S.M.A.R.T.task. The sooner you ask the quicker it can be done.
- Tinkering tasks – Are there some trivialities you need to handle? Do not slow down the whole team.
- Small tasks with risks included – Possibly bringing problems or requiring cooperation.
- Bigger tasks that are expected by someone
- Task without special requirements –You know how to tackle them, you are not dependent on anything but your own head and hands. It is doable any time like during your insomniac nights or your mission to Mars.
Following this guide, we try to minimize the waiting time and postponements. It is also easier to reveal hidden problems and risks in time having enough room to deal with them. You need to have a lot of self-determination to prioritize tasks that are not smooth at all. However, what is difficult in training will become easy in a battle. So, you will finish with no unpleasant surprises.
Obstacles along the way
For the time will come when you realize that even if you are the best in the field, you are unable or unwilling to stick to the initial assignment. It would be either unnecessarily time-consuming or too risky.
A real pro is aware of the fact that such a situation requires communication and/or assistance. It is likely that someone overestimated the characteristics of a project or counted on the ideal situation that has not to be attained at all costs. In most cases, the solution is just around the next corner – it is similar, easier and often even cheaper.
Each and every project usually strives to attain a higher goal. It is not part of the goal to follow the instructions down word for word.
Would you fancy such a cooperation between the project manager and the team for your project? Or do you want to be our team fellow? Contact us.