Are you an ambitious businessperson with a groundbreaking app concept, and the necessary funds to get it off the ground? If so, then this post is for you! We understand that you are in the process of revolutionising the world, and you can trust that the rewards for your hard work are already on their way. To ensure that your success is achieved in a timely manner, here are some helpful tips to make your manufacturing process go as smoothly as possible.
Why You Initially Need a Project Manager
Douglas Crockford is a renowned figure in the coding community, and is currently employed at PayPal in the position of Senior Software Architect. His years of experience in this field have allowed him to contribute many revolutionary ideas and technologies, the depth of which surpasses the limitations of this essay. He is widely acknowledged for having created some of the most intricate programs ever devised by humans.
Despite thirteen years of experience in programming, I still find myself venturing into unknown territory with every new project. The sheer variety of technologies available today, and the speed at which new ones are being developed, make it difficult to stay abreast of the latest developments. While each project presents its own unique challenges, I have consistently encountered the same core issues.
- The project must be completed by a specified deadline.
- The budget is not what I would prefer it to be.
- The customer thinks I am more expensive than they want.
- Sometimes, I am not as attentive as the customer would like.
- The client’s explanations are not as clear as I desire.
It is evident that we require a nanny in order to ensure that the necessary regulations are adhered to, that everyone behaves in an appropriate manner, and that nothing of significance is overlooked. Furthermore, it is imperative that all participants are able to effectively communicate with each other.
The project is led by this hero.
When I initially began composing this essay, Works did not have contracts in place with project managers; however, they have since implemented them, resulting in a synergistic outcome. I can only surmise that the authorities must have realised they were missing out on an invaluable opportunity after reading the following counsel.
What Prevents a Programmer from Being a Good Project Manager
Having a knowledgeable and experienced Project Manager is an immensely beneficial asset to any team. Even if they are certified by the Project Management Institute, the level of expertise and experience they bring to the table is irreplaceable. This is especially true for technical projects, as we have more expertise and know-how in this area than any other. Our proficiency in organising information, creating specific objectives and generally managing projects makes us the ideal candidates for the role of Project Manager.
It is reasonable to assume that we would be able to manage the task ourselves rather than requiring you to pay for the services of another individual, as you already provide us with a generous amount of compensation.
You pay us to code, of course.
When we come out of the programming trance to decide on the order of tasks or discuss the amount of work that will be accomplished this week, we are not making any progress on coding. If the conversation has left us feeling overwhelmed, which is likely if we are debating the significance of a feature, it will take us at least ten minutes to get back into the proper mindset. Unfortunately, this is all about making the most of our resources efficiently.
It is of utmost importance to remember that we often fail to recognise the bigger picture due to focusing too much on the small details. This can be observed when I spend an entire day focusing on a handful of individual issues, as it can lead to my mind becoming preoccupied and losing sight of the broader context.
Upon completing repairs to the site, my brain gives me a sense of accomplishment and I feel prepared to indulge in video games. It is always surprising to me when someone notices that there is still something wrong with it since I spent the day focusing on a small component of the project and had neglected to consider the rest. It appears that this is a common trait amongst other programmers, and I’m not alone in my thought process.
The reasons a client is not a good project manager
Consequently, it is the responsibility of the customer to take on the project management tasks if the programmers do not wish to do so. Ultimately, the customer must be held accountable for the success of the project since it is their vision and direction that the project is based on.
You’re not the only one who is busy.
Many of our valued customers are just like the rest of us; they have day jobs and some may even struggle with forgetfulness or procrastination. We believe it is important to consider the possibility of having a Professional Rememberer available, even if it does not pertain to you specifically, for the sake of ensuring that the project remains on track and continues to progress.
As an experienced project manager, you have had the opportunity to manage technical projects of a similar scale, and you understand the importance of having someone on the team who can anticipate potential problems. While time estimates can be useful, unforeseen issues often arise, so it is worth considering the cost of hiring an additional employee, even if it is on a part-time basis, to ensure that the most important steps of the project are given the necessary attention.
In order to ensure the success of any project, Quality Assurance (QA) should not be overlooked. Without proper QA, the desired results will not be achieved. A competent project manager should be able to make the most out of any limited QA resources, while also carrying out QA on behalf of the programming team. Although mistakes can be made, it is important to assess whether the programmer is a poor fit for the project or if they are just having a bad day. For this, a technically proficient individual with a supervisory role is necessary. Taking the time to resolve any personnel issues as soon as possible could be the deciding factor between the success or failure of the project.
Finally, it is important to note that customers should also strive for balance and moderation. Although computer programmers are not known for being vocal, there were times I worked on projects where customers needed everything done as soon as possible. Despite the urgency, it is not possible to complete a project in a shorter amount of time than what is allotted. This situation could have been avoided if the customer had assigned a project manager to evaluate the workload and maintain an appropriate level of control. Unfortunately, this did not lead to the desired results. When dealing with a tech project, one must be able to make reasonable and objective decisions. However, this can be a difficult task, as computers do not respond to pleading or shouting. I have attempted this tactic myself and can attest to its ineffectiveness.
An Incomplete List of Technical Project Management Methods
Regardless of whether you have chosen to disregard the preceding 1,000 words and undertake your project independently or if you are planning to hire an individual and would like to gain more knowledge about the process, this list should be beneficial to you. As I have never had any formal experience as a project manager, I cannot determine what resources any specific project manager would use. However, I have had great success with the following methods:
Most people recognise the importance of breaking down a new project into more manageable components, with each portion taking approximately a few weeks to a few months of work. At the project’s initial meeting, it is a wise idea to outline these markers. The most essential element is to follow up after each marker to be able to benefit from everyone’s improved knowledge of the project and to check that the project’s targets remain roughly the same as initially thought. It is acceptable to be a bit uncertain about the methods for achieving them.
Due to the fact that estimations are often unreliable and can be used to hold us programmers accountable, we generally have an aversion to them. It is reasonable to accept that estimations can be inaccurate as they are based on a variety of factors that are not always known. Furthermore, since our jobs are relatively secure and a certain amount of pressure can be beneficial, it is acceptable for estimations to be used against us.
Consequently, it is recommended to request quotes whenever you begin to work on a new milestone. It is advisable to anticipate one or two lines of code and a time estimate for any significant feature. As a precaution, it is wise to double the initial estimate for any optimistic scenarios, as this additional time will be helpful in mitigating any unexpected risks.
User stories are concise descriptions of a single piece of software functionality that are usually small enough to fit on an index card, and they are often accompanied by a visual element which serves as a record of their primary characteristics. User stories provide a connection between the customer’s requirements and the programmer’s instructions to the machine. They are simple for the customer to complete in a short amount of time, but also detailed enough for the programmer to obtain a full understanding.
It is undeniable that having a clear, well-considered design is essential for a successful project. Without a design in place, developers are constantly being pulled out of the ‘zone’ to make decisions which could have been avoided with a good plan. This not only disrupts productivity, but can also result in extra billable hours for the client. Design should not just be seen as a necessity, but as a valuable tool which can save time and money in the long run.
Compositions, often referred to as comps, are typically created in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Sketch by designers. If you are creating a composition yourself, there are various online tools available, such as Balsamiq and InVision, that can be used. It is important to ensure that all User Interface (UI) components are accounted for and considered in the composition, even if the colours and styles of the comp do not need to match the final product, as these can be adjusted easily at a later stage.
Despite the fact that lengthy meetings may be unavoidable at times, it is important to ensure that the amount of time spent in the meeting is not excessive so as not to overwhelm the programmers. I have encountered clients who mistakenly assumed that I would remember every detail from a two and a half hour-long discussion, only to be disappointed. To avoid such situations, it is best to hold a ‘stand-up’ meeting, which typically lasts for 15 minutes. The idea behind this type of meeting is that everyone participates and keeps it brief by standing.
At team stand-ups, each member provides a brief status update while rotating in a circle to ensure that everyone is aware of each other’s progress. If the team works remotely and does not want to get on Skype daily, a worthwhile alternative is to use 15Five. Team members can enter their input at any time that is convenient for them, and 15Five encourages them to give more in-depth responses by asking survey questions.
It is feasible for an individual to organise their workflow using a combination of sticky notes and Google Docs (where each person’s responsibilities are colour-coded), but it is not essential as there are many other tools available to assist in finding a suitable solution. Popular choices like Basecamp, Trello, and Pivotal are renowned for their convenience, but Pivotal stands out for encapsulating the entire agile methodology in a streamlined format. Ultimately, whichever tool you decide on, it should at least provide the ability to:
- Making tasks
- Set a deadline and a priority
- Task and subtask connections
- Assign several outcomes, such as “finished” or “testing failed.”
- Show all of the assignments made to a certain user.
You will certainly recognise the value of this high-level view of the project when a project manager shows you 40 urgent tasks that all have to be finished on the same day, all marked with a bright red colour.
The use of a source control (or versioning) system for your project may not be something that you think about often, but it is an essential tool for your success and it provides the best possible backup system. Having a reliable versioning system in place is incredibly important for any project, as it allows you to keep track of changes and easily revert to previous versions if needed. Additionally, it functions as an effective backup system, allowing you to access previous versions of your project in the event of a data loss or other unexpected issue.
Despite Subversion (SVN) being commonly used for legacy projects, most current projects are now utilising Git. For commercial undertakings, Bitbucket is a favoured choice due to its capacity for limitless private repository hosting. On the other hand, Github provides limitless public repository hosting free of charge, and is the repository home of the majority of open-source projects across the globe.
No matter which version control system is employed, it is essential to record each code commit with a brief description of the work done. Additionally, these systems ensure that code is stored remotely, avoiding the possibility of developers overwriting each other’s work. This provides the ability to view all code changes over a certain period of time and create new branches for code that is not intended to go live immediately. Moreover, a command called “blame” can be utilised to identify the author of a line of code and the time it was committed.
The best is source control.
Despite the fact that this approach can be costly, it is not regularly utilised in projects when the budget is limited and a few freelancers are all that is available. Therefore, as a new business owner, you should not feel bad for not taking this route, as there may be other more cost-effective options. However, it is important to consider this option as it provides the most comprehensive bug testing. This involves programmers spending extra time and valuable hours to create tests, which are in essence small code blocks, which then confirm that software components will act in a predetermined and consistent way. As an illustration, a test could be created which verifies that when the “login” button is pressed, a popup window with a username field is displayed.
The remarkable advantage of tests is that once they have been created, they can all be executed using a single command. For example, if a new version of the software is released and I have developed 200 tests, I can run them to make sure that none of the 200 features have been impacted by any issues. While it may not be perfect, it is the closest way for us to guarantee programs that are as error-free as possible.
With more than a decade of experience managing online projects, I have gained a great deal of knowledge on project management. While I cannot guarantee that such knowledge would pass the strict inspection of the Project Management Institute, I hope that the information in this article will be of benefit to you. If you are unable to hire a professional project manager, it is important to have an understanding of the inner workings of your project; this will empower you to make the right decisions and guide your project to success.