New product development requires excellent project management in order to be successfully completed. Software project management is an active process that includes planning, resource management and organization in order to complete the development of the new product. Proficient software project managers will ensure that they deliver the very best possible end product by using whatever resources are available to them.
The variation seen in software project management is quite considerable. Excellent managers will be strategic about the application of their skills, experience and knowledge in order to plan effectively, manage the project and complete it. Here are a few suggestions to help you improve your own process of project management.
7 Tips for Improving Project Management Efficiency
You won’t necessarily find SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for successfully managing your software project. However, you are still able to make some improvements in order to augment the overall effectiveness of your process. These 7 tips will help you improve on your skills ensuring that you run things a lot more smoothly.
1. Proper planning
Proper planning is a critical factor in the management of any project. Truthfully, most of the deficiencies that are found in many projects result from planning poorly or have a planning process that is not well thought out from the very beginning. Since each project has a planning phase, this is where you need to establish the definition of your project, create your work plan and also identify the basic management procedures. Once you clearly understand the project, you will be able to manage the project more smoothly from the beginning to the end.
2. Risk Identification
One of the things that you must do as you are going through your planning process is to figure out what could possibly go wrong and at which stage it could happen. This type of risk assessment helps you in assessing just how possible it is for that particular risk to occur and also create a contingency plan should it become a reality. In defining risk, you want to place the possible risks in three different categories: Low, medium or high. With heightened awareness of the various problems that could crop up as you work on your project, it can save you much money and time overall, especially if you have assessed these early during planning.
One of the important things that must be done during the entire project management process is to figure out which tasks need to be done and to monitor your work plan in order to ensure that they have been completed as scheduled. This will be great for ensuring that all your team members know what is happening and where they are in the process at all times. As you monitor your work plan, you can take note of what is on schedule and what is lagging behind and then make whatever changes are necessary as quickly as possible.
You will need to come up with a budget for your project ahead of time. Just like you will be doing with the schedule of your work plan, you will need to monitor the project’s budget consistently throughout the process keeping track of your expenditure in order to remain within the budget limits you have set for yourself. One of the most important skills that any project manager can learn is to ensure that the project operates without spilling over the budget limit. The key to ensuring this happens is to carefully and frequently monitor it and make changes as needed.
5. Managing the project scope
It is not uncommon for the stakeholders of a project to request that changes be made when the project is ongoing. The changes requested are in addition to what was originally defined in the scope of the project and could be major changes or minor ones. If your project is to be successful, you will need to know to steer through any change requests effectively. This is a critical factor if your project is to be successful. Over time, you may find that your clients keep requesting small changes in the scope here and there, which can accumulate considerably amounting to ‘scope creep.’ It is possible for these changes to impact your deadlines, budget and resources negatively, so keep an eye on them.
6. Resolve issues urgently
Even after you have planned like you should, carried out your risk assessment and come up with risk mitigation plans and contingencies, you may still run into problems that you have not foreseen. If you do not resolve them in a timely fashion, they can end up being big problems. As such, you and your team will need to be focused on ensuring that problems are fixed urgently. This will ensure that your project moves along smoothly.
This is a big deal in software project management because any communication breakdowns can create problems. You will find that sometimes your team members may not fully understand the project status or their expectations may be different. The key is to ensure that communication between stakeholders, team members and management is honest and frequent. In order to succeed as a project manager, you will need to make sure that everybody is reading from the same script at all times.
The goal for your firm when it comes to software development should always be to create a fantastic end product. The difference between producing a mediocre product verses a great one may well lie in your implementation of effective project management.
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