An invaluable person in every IT team is the project manager. The project manager is the person who will define the scope of a project, collect the requirements, bring the team together and make sure that everything runs smoothly till the end of the project. However the most challenging task an IT project manager will have to undertake, especially when the project is software based, is the selection of the methodology that best fits both the project and the client and eventually this is what will define whether the project will be successful or not. A project with a well-documented idea, specific requirements and established functionality will probably need a rigid methodology like the waterfall approach. On the other hand we would suggest the agile methodology to clients that are not entirely sure of what will the functionality be or UI/UX look like.
There are many project management philosophies and methodologies available to IT teams and Project managers to implement. Each one with its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.
Why choosing a project management methodology is so challenging? The answer is that on one hand the human factor is always unpredictable, maintaining an equilibrium between the client’s needs and the developers’ workload is very important (yes developers are considered to be human on contrary to what most people believe), and on the other hand when software is involved things can get really bad really fast and this can be irreversible. Furthermore the project manager should take into account the Lifecycle of the product, the Market Sector of the industry the Product itself, the Size of the project, the Technology and the Situation that lead to this project making the methodology selection an ever harder task. However an experienced project manager has his own toolbox, a set of methodologies and frameworks that help manage the various projects.
These tools can overlap in some processes but in most cases vary in every possible way, from the stages of the project to the way the components are implemented. However we at Publisto identify the following stages/phases that fit most projects:
Concept/Idea: When we design our own products like StoryChaser game or the QTales platform our team of PMs, Developers and Designers take long brainstorming sessions with a single purpose – to develop a protocol with defined target markets, product concepts and attributes. When clients bring the idea to us our goal is to research and consult on what the protocol should be.
Engagement: Each project is unique and must be approached very differently from the next because of client requirements and demands, in the engagement phase, our project managers and business developers meet with the client and discuss possibilities and begin to extend the communication process between the teams. This is often the most important phase as it sets the standard going forward and is when the responsibilities are set.
Analysis/Feasibility: The analysis phase is when our Project Managers along with the developers analyze and evaluate the requirements set by the client and their expertise on the matter to assess the feasibility of the project in terms of time, cost and quality.
Strategy Planning: During the strategy planning the project manager selects the appropriate methodology the project team is going to follow. Milestones and deliverables are set, roles are defined and the project is ready to begin.
Design/Development: Whether you use waterfall or Agile, Scrum or Kanban during the development phase the software engineers transform requirements into pieces of code and eventually releases of the product and deliverables. The project manager is responsible to filter the changing requirements and to assure that the team is being productive.
Deployment/Testing: This phase indicates the formal testing of the solution. Testing can be done either incrementally or at the end of a development phase if following a waterfall approach. After the project has been built, tested, and proven to work as designed and specified, the project is ready for installation or rollout.
Quality Assurance: In the quality assurance phase, the solution is validated and tested against the initial specifications of the project.
We at Publisto have being doing a lot of Agency work the past couple of years with big or smaller clients with complex and more straightforward projects or products. Each time a client comes through our office’s door an experienced Project Manager is responsible to follow the aforementioned process to transform his idea in a successful project.