Behind every successful campaign is effective project management. From supporting your client to identify their outcomes, establishing a clear brief and timeline for deliverables, to the actual process of overseeing a team to ensure everything happens, there is a lot to juggle when acting as a project manager.
Brew Digital are experienced project managers; bringing everything from the multi-facted Adaptavist.com site to the smaller, specialised PSL community site to life (check out all our Case Studies). We’ve taken our years of experience and pulled together some of our top tips to help you become a better Project Manager.
1. Agree the scope of the project early
It may seem obvious, but so often projects become unstuck or suffer from feature creep as a result of expectations not being clearly articulated and agreed. Avoid the headaches down the line by taking time at the start of a project to really define what it is you want to achieve.
Brew Digital use discovery sessions to find out what your objectives are; what's essential and what's ‘nice to have’. And, if there’s discordance over what that looks like, we also have Decision Sprints, which can get everybody agreed on an outcome in just two hours.
2. Create a plan and delegate appropriately
Once you know what needs to be done, it’s time to decide the logistics of who, when and how. As Project Manager, it’s your responsibility to create a plan that outlines key milestones, and allocate the task to the relevant team members. Be cognisant of an individual's strengths and weaknesses, and accommodate them wherever possible to get the most out of them.
Depending on your management style, you might want to further define the parameters that your team needs to work to, or you might trust them to do what’s best. Just remember, as Project Manager, you’re ultimately accountable for project delivery. You might also want to consider using a project management tool such as Jira, Trello, or Asana to track progress and get a visual representation of the project timeline.
3. Never underestimate the importance of communication
This applies to all stakeholders; your team members, the client and anyone you need to liaise with as part of the process. Agree when you'll check in with stakeholders to share project updates, communicate any changes to timelines or chew through challenges that have arisen. Depending on the scale of the project, the team you’re managing and the client’s particular wants, the levels of communication may vary from project to project. But it’s still useful to have pre-agreed check-in points to ensure KPIs are being met.
4. Prepare to be flexible
Even the best made plans can run into challenges. Having the ability to think on your feet and adapt to a changing situation calmly and confidently is a vital skill to develop. Whether it’s staff illness, uncooperative code, or a stakeholder that changes their mind, you should be prepared to have contingency plans in place.
Linking back to communication, when you become aware of changes or challenges, you should inform your team as soon as possible and work with them to come up with a new approach. At the same time, you should ensure your team feels empowered to come to you with any problems, and trust them to propose solutions. Read here about Retros.
5. Evaluate the process
Congratulations on completing the project! Whether it was a smooth process or fraught with challenges, there will always be something to learn from it. Take the time to get feedback from the client, and then have a debrief with your team to discuss what worked, and what could be improved upon. Project management, like so many things, is something that you never stop learning about, and if there’s even one small thing that you can apply to your next project, your work will be all the better for it.
We’re certain that if you apply these tips, your project will be in great shape! But, if you don’t feel ready to lead a project yourself, or want to get more expert insight to support your work, Brew Digital is here to help. See what you can achieve with Brew Digital in your corner.