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    Ongoing observations by End Point Dev people

    New Tools — Old-Fashioned Project Management

    Elizabeth Garrett Christensen

    By Elizabeth Garrett Christensen
    January 24, 2018

    A productive meeting
    Photo by Kennisland, CC BY-SA 2.0, cropped

    In the last year at End Point, I’ve managed projects in Trello, JIRA, Redmine, Basecamp, RT (Request Tracker) and a few others. The market of project management tools is wide and varied…​and they are all great. Well, maybe that’s a topic for another post.

    However, I’ve been thinking lately—​as I kick off yet another project—​that no matter what tool you use for managing your project there are some fundamentals you should never forget. For those of you deep in the mud of project management tools I have some reminders for you:

    Communicate with your client

    No matter what tool you use to manage development, don’t let fancy apps or tools take the place of actual one-on-one time with your client. Hearing from them in their own voice about their needs and how the project affects their business and goals is invaluable. No project can succeed without the stakeholder’s vision.

    Don’t stop talking to your client once the proposal is written or the project scope is done…​create a way to talk to them often. Talking to your client can take many forms, but an old-fashioned phone call is always a good way.

    Show measurable progress

    I have noticed that the more granular your project management tools are, the harder it is to see the big picture. Don’t forget to take time out of the day-to-day project to create a way to show your clients and stakeholders regular progress.

    Even if you’re tracking each individual feature in a project management tool such as a Trello board, remember to merge it all into one development site your client can see.

    Support your team

    Even though you can run a report and show your team how many tickets they’ve done or how many issues they’ve closed, reach out and support your team on an individual level. Congratulate them on successes publicly and personally, outside of your management system. Talk to them about failures and create a path to repair and support them with future work.

    Sometimes just having a team demo features to each other can be a great way to build camaraderie and show off each other’s work.

    Deliver on time and on budget

    And of course, no matter what tools you’re using and what apps you’re building, the goal is the same as it has always been: deliver your project on time and on budget. I know that’s not as easy as it sounds.

    Scopes change, projects grow, budget needs morph. A good project manager is looking at for all of those changes and checking back in with the client to confirm they are on board with the direction and budget changes.

    I’ve got a dozen Redmine tickets to update…​until next time!