From beginning to end, every Drupal project is in the caring hands of a project manager. But how, you might wonder, do PMs work? What do they do?
By the time you get the final product, your Drupal project has undergone several important stages. And if the project is large and has several phases, each phase undergoes these stages as well. Let's take a closer look.
Information gathering and analysis
At the beginning we will jump ahead slightly. What is the ultimate goal of any project? Of course, total customer’s satisfaction. How can this be achieved? We ask what the clients objectives and expectations are, and then thoroughly analyze them so they can be implemented in the best way. Each project manager is a magician to some extent — or, perhaps just a very attentive person able to listen properly.
So, at the start of our work with any client, we talk to him and find out what he expects from this Drupal project. We analyze the information and make conclusions. Often, in this process there are additional issues that we clarify. Only then do we get a clear vision of the project and what it needs.
As soon as we know what needs to be done, we can give it a price. Transparency above all! All necessary work is defined and then estimated by specialists. Also, at this stage, a project plan is made (high-level planning). We specify the following things as well:
- the potential risks
- the cooperation terms (fixed price, T&M etc.)
- the team needed
- the framework for project management (Scrum, Kanban, Waterfall, etc.).
All this information is presented for your consideration. If there are no objections, then we sign the agreement. After that is a special kick-off meeting to settle small but important details —such as what server to use, etc. We will recommend the most convenient option for you.
Well, let's start! At this stage, the most important and interesting part of the project begins.
The manager defines in what order everything should be done. He sets up the task tracker, which will allow you to monitor the progress of the project conveniently. He distributes the responsibilities. He checks if everything is ready for the start. Just like a space shuttle launch, a thorough and responsible preparation is very important.
Exact (task-level) planning
At the meeting with the team, specific tasks are distributed depending on each team member’s experience in this or that sphere.
The manager suggests the time frame for the specific tasks. The team either confirms or corrects these time frames.
Low-level tasks are usually assigned by the dev lead (the main developer on the project). For convenience, visibility and efficiency, Gantt chart or Kanban board are used during planning.
So we have the exact plan, the team, and the time frame. Everyone is working hard on the project. What does the PM do now? His mission is to motivate, create a favorable atmosphere, supervise, monitor and help solve problems. And, of course, every day the project manager communicates with the customer to give him a report, clarify any issues and, if necessary, communicates the customers wishes to the team.
The manager organizes daily stand-up meetings that help smooth interactions between the team members. Everyone has a chance to share what he is doing, what obstacles he is dealing with and what help he may need from his colleagues.
Control is one of the main functions of a project manager. We do it all the time. Are we meeting the schedule? Are we keeping within the budget? Are we straying away from the chief goal? Are we moving in the exactly right direction?
But there comes that wonderful moment when everything is finally ready and manager checks the completed work. Often, this also requires a professional eye. For this purpose, most projects have a tester on the team. Using manual or automatic tests (or a combination of both), he checks whether the completed tasks meet the required criteria.
Here’s when everything is absolutely ready. The manager presents the project to the client and gets his approval. The next step is to pass the code, the documentation, etc.
If this is not the closure of the entire Drupal project, but only of some of its phases, then the next phase begins. And on it goes! This is just the tip of the iceberg of the PM’s daily work. His work includes so many important nuances that even 10 blogs wouldn’t be enough to cover them. But we hope we have been able to describe the essentials.
The most pleasant moments of being a manager is seeing the results of a completed project. But managers like starting from the very beginning with you, too :) Tell us about that dream project. The best is yet to come!