Top 11 Project Management Hacks for Software Project Managers
Learn about the project management hacks that can make your work life easy, improve your productivity, and make it easy to handle your development team.
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The purpose of project management is to complete a project of agreed quality within a certain budget and time frame. Though software development projects come with their own nuances, the principles of project management can be applied to manage software projects better.
It is because, like any other project, a software project also goes through the stages of initiation, planning, execution, and completion.
Project managers who are new to software development project management tend to make some basic mistakes in the early stages of their careers. Project management hacks can help you improve your work productivity, team performance, and overall project success rate.
In this article, I will talk about the importance of using project management hacks and the top 11 project management hacks for software project managers from my understanding and managing projects for over a decade.
Importance of Adopting Effective Project Management Hacks
Project management hacks are the tips and tricks that help you become more efficient, more productive, and make your work life easy. The primary focus of using these hacks is to save your time and make work management easy for you.
For example, using workflow automation to assign repetitive tasks or sending automated notifications once a particular stage of a task is reached is a project management hack. It helps you save time and effort.
Like this, there are various project management hacks that can help you with project planning, goal setting, resource management, team management, and so on.
11 Project Management Hacks to Drive Successful Software Development
The role of a software project manager is to provide technical guidance to the team and manage the people. Here are the 11 project management hacks you can use for effective software development project management:
Phase 1: Pre-Project Planning Hacks
1. Define the Full Scope of the Project
The first step of project management is to define the scope of the project. It talks about the project goals, deliverables, tasks, costs, and deadlines.
It is very important for a manager to define the full scope of the project before starting to work on a software project with a team.
A well-defined project scope helps you:
Align software with the business needs better and identify the boundaries and constraints of the project.
Ensure all the key stakeholders agree on what the project is all about and what your team will work on.
Reduce the likelihood of scope creep for the development team.
2. Choose a High-Performance Team
Without the right team, it is hard to work successfully on a project.
If you already have resources, assess their professional and personal attributes to find out the best-suited developers for the project.
If you are hiring new resources, participate in the hiring process to find the right talent on board.
It will help you have the right people in your team.
3. Establish Clear Communication Channels
Many different team members are involved in a software project. Also, a project can run anywhere from 3 months to a year or more. Therefore, it is very important to establish dedicated channels of communication for the project life cycle.
It helps you streamline communication, facilitate collaboration with the team, and record all the conversations for effective tracking and conflict resolution.
4. Manage Risks Effectively
New project managers tend to over-optimize the resources and set unrealistic deadlines. Try to effectively manage the project risks. Based on the severity, divide the risks into three categories: high, low, and medium.
Plan an effective solution for every risk. It will help you manage risks better and avoid project failure.
Not just that, proactively identify and assess potential risks during the project. It will help you find issues that can derail the project and develop contingency plans to mitigate the potential impact.
Phase 2: Project Execution and Monitoring Hacks
5. Break Large Goals Into Small Goals
Many beginner software project managers make the mistake of not breaking large goals into measurable small ones. Thus, they are not able to achieve project goals in time due to a lack of tracking and goal setting.
Identify and set key milestones and set measurable small goals around those milestones. Use your technical expertise to set the most useful KPIs to better track the project progress and performance of the team.
6. Allocate the Work as per the Resource Capability
In the real world, resource A is not simply equal to resource B. For example, one developer may develop a feature in X days while the other developer may take longer. One developer may be good at testing while the other is in coding or deployment.
You have to plan and allocate the work according to the resource capabilities, experience, and strengths.
Just simply equally allocating the tasks to each team member does not work. You have to be smart in task delegation and resource planning.
7. Communicate Clearly
To develop software successfully, every member of the team from business analyst and product owner to designer, developer, tester, and DevOps engineer needs to work in unison.
Communicate each individual's roles and responsibilities. Tell them how their goals impact the overall progress of the project and the performance of other team members. Give them feedback when required.
Keep the team in a loop for every change in requirement and feedback from the client or stakeholders.
It will help your team to work productively and make your life easy.
8. Use the Right Project Management Tools
It is hard to manage software projects on pen and paper or using outdated spreadsheets. Use dedicated project management software to plan, execute, and manage the project.
It will provide you with the tools to plan a project, create tasks, create a workflow, set goals, track progress, manage teamwork, facilitate team communication, share documents, and prepare reports.
It will help you stay on top of project management and work efficiently with ease.
9. Embrace Agile Software Development
More than 70% of U.S. companies use Agile methodology for software development.
Use Agile frameworks such as Scrum or Kanban for software development project management.
It will help you better control software development, manage project risks, and handle the team.
You are developing the software in short sprints, which are easy to plan and manage.
You are continuously releasing software in the market for end-user feedback and receiving client approval at every stage.
You are constantly reviewing the progress based on the feedback and adapting for improved performance.
Phase 3: Post Execution Hacks
10. Involve Team Members in Project Review
All successful project managers recommend reviewing the project performance once it is finished. A detailed project review tells you about what went well, what went wrong, and what areas you need to improve.
Do not just review the project from your eyes. Request feedback from your entire team to learn about the positives and negatives. It will help you improve significantly for the next project.
11. Celebrate the Success of the Team and Recognize the Achievements
It is very important to keep your team happy. A good project manager is also a good people manager. Listen to your team’s needs proactively. Appreciate your team efforts. Recognize good team performances and celebrate successes. This will give a huge boost to the morale of the employees.
A software project manager has to take care of many responsibilities. Anything that helps a project manager save time, work efficiently, and improve productivity is welcomed. Project management hacks are the tips and tricks that make your work life easy, improve productivity, and help your team work efficiently.
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