One can hardly find a software development project without deadlines. Everything that goes on in project management, in any case, is related to deadlines. And, there is always at least one – the final deadline – that looms over everyone involved in the project.
But the problem is that deadlines exist to be broken. Of course, this is a joke, but it does have a great degree of truth to it. Many managers and teams fail to meet them in a timely manner. This is especially the case with software development, where so many members are involved, so many processes occur, and so many deadlines are missed. A new Sprint that ends in 5 days? Forget it, it’s unreal!
There are many reasons why your development team fails to meet deadlines, and it is not the purpose of this article to describe all of them. Here I would like to speak about the ways a manager can impact his dev team and colleagues to help them meet deadlines.
1. Remember Real Deadlines and Avoid Fake Ones
The fact is, any deadline exists to be met in a timely manner. But many project managers adhere to the practice of setting faked deadlines. The reason is quite obvious. If a one-time limit is missed, even if it is not real, the next one is obligatory to meet.
For example, a manager says that the deadline for an upcoming Sprint to integrate the product is in 30 days. But he keeps in mind that the date is mostly fake, thus preparing for him and his team something like a time gap between a real deadline and a fake one.
This is a managerial failure. Colleagues will notice that the manager sets fake deadlines and they simply will not take them seriously. Set only real time limits, even if they are too strict.
2. Explain the Importance of Each Deadline
Would you agree that most people like details? Be as precise as possible and explain why it is necessary to complete this task today and not tomorrow. A phrase like this, “I need you to develop the feature we discussed yesterday by the end of tomorrow,” sounds less important and evoking than, “I need you to develop the feature we discussed yesterday by the end of tomorrow as your work is the start of a new Sprint that is scheduled to start in 3 days.”
3. Let Your Team Set Deadlines
Very often, deadlines come from someone who is not involved in project processes – it can be a sponsor, a client, or any other stakeholder. These people only want to have a good working project in the end. Other things are not for them. In such cases, team members do not accept those time limits as they simply do not understand them.
This is the case when a manager can turn the situation around and benefit from it. If you come to your development team and ask them to set deadlines, they will agree to do that. And the end product will be all the better for it.
4. Do Not Forget About Project Management Software
For me, this point is very important. You barely find a project manager who performs all tasks without a special tool. Managing a software development team requires deep knowledge and great planning skills.
Gantt charts have proven to be very effective in planning. That’s why plenty of popular tools are based on them. It’s even better if a manager can work in online Gantt chart software with immediate access for any participant.
So be sure you follow these tips that can influence your development team and help you to release software on time and within budget. And do not forget about special tools that significantly simplify all the work in a project.