The basic structure of email also makes it difficult to find documents. Software that lets team members share documents can improve productivity and increase efficiency. Many software platforms allow users to upload documents to specific projects or tasks, making it easy to locate resources.
Choosing a Project Management Software
Some systems rely on message boards that team members can use to discuss ongoing issues or communicate updates. Comprehensive sharing solutions often feature audit trails that record the history of each task and project. Audit trails let project managers view task progress and investigate challenges that team members may be experiencing.
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Native messaging and meeting functions strengthen communications between team members. These features come in stand-alone versions, but can also be found in comprehensive or all-in-one project management platforms. IT projects often require a unique set of best practices and tools to move between stages of completion and offer the right amount of visibility to those involved.
To that end, many development, help desk, and QA teams use dedicated IT project management software. Compared to traditional PM tools, IT project management software usually brings a heavier focus on Agile methodologies and a set of features that cater more specifically to developers and product managers:.
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How you go about performing those skills, though, varies greatly depending on the teams you're managing, the methodologies you're using, and the tools at your disposal. Every project is different, but all projects will have a few things in common. When planning any project, you'll need to determine the following. The first step for any Project Manager is to determine what the objectives of the project are based on information provided by the stakeholders. The objectives determined at the beginning of each project will guide every decision moving forward.
As a Project Manager, you'll often find yourself faced with tough decisions. Your answers will always come down to determining which scenario best ensures the achievement of the project objectives. When it comes to objectives, the last thing you want is room for ambiguity.
When possible, use measurable numbers and values. At the end of the project, you'll look to these objectives to verify whether you and your teams were successful.
Value of Project Management
If your objectives are ambiguous, so is your success. Once you've set your objectives, you'll need to determine what your deliverables are. Deliverables are the specific components created to fulfill your objectives. When determining deliverables, be sure that you and your teams clearly understand how these deliverables achieve the objectives set forth by the project.
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Tasks make up the individual pieces of work that need to be done in order to produce each deliverable. We'll go into much more detail about task management in Part 2 of this guide.
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For now, you just need to know that every piece of work completed in a project will need to be tied to a task. Whether determining an objective, deliverable, or task, it's best to follow the SMART model for any kind of goal creation. If each element of your project meets these five conditions, your project will be easy to understand, simple to track, and much more likely to be completed on time. It requires consistent, active monitoring. Think back to the definition of project management we created in the beginning of this guide: Project management is the act of creating and maintaining an environment in which an objective can be achieved according to a plan.
Once a project is underway, your role will be to recognize and predict problems, respond to changing conditions, and ultimately keep your project moving. Your ability to accurately track your project's progress will heavily influence your success in these areas.
Luckily, establishing your own processes and adopting useful tracking tools like Backlog can help you spot and respond to problems more easily. If all tasks are complete, your deliverables should be fulfilled. Projects are typically broken down into phases.
Each phase outlines the work that needs to be done and who is involved. Generally, in order for a phase to be considered complete, specific deliverables need to have been completed and handed off. Some project teams, however, do choose to implement fast tracking, which is when phases are overlapped. A lifecycle defines the beginning and end of the project; it represents all of the phases together.
It usually captures the visioning and conceptualizing of the project. According to the Project Management Institute, most life cycles have four or five phases but some may have more. The most common lifecycle approaches are Waterfall and Agile. When defining your project, it is important to come up with a project plan that the team agrees to upfront so that it can serve as a reference point throughout the project. Make sure when outlining your plan, that throughout it you note how you plan to include user-centered design best practices and methodologies. Most project plans outline:.
A charter agreement is typically a one page document that has the sponsor of the project sign off that they agree to the work to be done as outlined by the team in the project plan.