Project management lends itself to disaster or triumph depending on a few factors. As a result, the name of the game is controlling those variables as much as possible. Being efficient is part of why you are managing this whole dang thing, so at Hero Digital we optimize with these effective bits of planning.
Make time for testing AND fixing. For any sort of tech project (designing and/or building a website, app, etc) always expect to find issues during testing, and plan time to fix them. A lot of people put placeholder time slots at the end of their schedule, as a formality, to set aside time to test, but forget they’ll actually need to FIX the majority of issues unearthed during that time. Failure to plan for “fix & verify time” results in stressed teams and flubbed deadlines.
Set internal deadlines. Generally, “we’re sending this to the client/stakeholder at 2 pm” does not mean that 2 pm is the deadline for the full team. Internally, we want to set a deadline for 2 pm the day before the deadline, which can then give a window for adjustments without causing undue heartache.
Don’t wait for people to approach you with issues – they won’t. Sure, there’s a rare breed of folk out there who may bring up issues unsolicited, but the majority assume that someone else has thought through the details, or that you are already aware of whatever is blocking them from moving forward. Being approachable as a leader is great, but it’s not enough. Practice proactive communication if you want to catch problems before they snowball.
Understand if your team members have competing priorities. Work with other stakeholders to resolve these, if possible. Having multiple accountabilities stinks, especially if the people you’re accountable to aren’t aligned on what items fall where in the pecking order. As a PM, one of the most helpful things you can do for your team members is to be aware of their full workload and help to demystify the prioritization whenever possible; this helps increase visibility of potential overwork, decrease stress on the team member, and reduce the likelihood for abrupt context switching.
All set on the project management front? Head over here to read about how good design can save time and money.