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Top questions a PM should ask before start a web project

12.05.2017
Top questions a PM should ask before start a web project
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If you are going to build your own website or app, you probably want to know how to hire a top web developer, because your web resource surely deserves one. If you decided to outsource your web project to a third party IT vendor, remember what you need to take into account when you start outsourcing.

When you hire a team for your site development, they should contain three main types of IT experts involved in creating your future web product. They are web designers, web developers and SEO people. A team should also include a person for organizing the work of all these specialists, distributing tasks among them and guiding the whole developing process itself. This person is the project manager (PM), who you will negotiate with the most.

We have previously described how we manage Drupal projects and, in particular, how we estimate them. We have also busted myths about project management. Today we are going to give you more insight about PM’s daily routine and tell you about challenges this person is facing before your project starts.

Basic questions a PM should ask before a web project kickoff

Is the SOW (Statement of Work) completed and exhaustive?

The SOW has to cover all the important issues to clarify everything from the very beginning and to confirm the project acceptance by both parties, whose expectations should coincide. This document must lay out the scope of the project, including out-of-scope items, highlight required functionality, integrations with third-party services, training expectations and assumptions. The Statement of work determines the start date, the expected deadline and the budget. Also, it explains the agreements about any changes, in order to handle any future requirements that may come up during the project developing process.

What are the stakeholders’ traits?

If a PM and his or her web development team is truly client-oriented, and this is the main strategy that determines their working process, then a stakeholders’ personality and knowledge base really matter. A project manager should get answers to such questions:

How flexible, open-minded and collaborative is the client?
What are their character traits?
Are they often inclined to change their mind?
How clearly do they see the final result?
How well do they grasp the technology and its possibilities?
How well do they understand project’s purposes?
What are their preferences?

A project manager can obtain those answers through the conversations with the business development team to get a piece of advice on collaborating with a client. Colleagues who have previously worked with the same client are also helpful and can give more insight.

What about project management methodology?

The PM is responsible for selecting the most effective and appropriate approach and methodology to manage a project. The stakeholders’ personalities, team capabilities and specifics of the web product should be taken into account here. He or she should also find out whether all stakeholders are well acquainted with the process and its related tools and educate them if they are not.

Among all the project management methodologies, the most popular are Agile, Scrum, Waterfall and Kanban. The most traditional workflow is Waterfall, which is appropriate when no adjustments are expected during the project.

In Kanban, the work is organized and visualized on a Kanban board, which has “in progress,” “testing,” “ready for release,” and “released” columns for every work item to pass through, from left to right.

Scrum is one of the many iterative and incremental agile methods. Scrum presupposes having cross functional team, a product owner, a scrum master, many discussions, sprint planning meetings and feedback. It fits well for a collaboration with those stakeholders who frequently change their minds.

Agile is actively used by Apple and Philips. Such business giants as Nokia and Intel appreciate this methodology too, as well as Microsoft and Exigen Services. The stakeholders and developers work together in face-to-face communication to align the product with company goals and customer needs.

How to distribute tasks among talent resources right?

A project manager has to possess all the necessary information about all participants in the process and guide the web development process itself from the very early steps to delivering the results stage. The PM is like a connective link between the client, who provides requirements, and the development team who will actually execute all the necessary actions, such as write code, install modules, create layouts, do testing and so on. To organize a development team’s work in optimal way, a PM should find out:

What are the best talent resources available to fit the specific needs of this project?
Who can best cope with a particular task?
What were their previous experiences on working with a certain technology or system?
What are the preferred working styles of the team members?
What is the productivity and working pace of each person?
How willingly are team members to interact with each other?
What motivates them the most?
What situations can be predicted?

So, before starting a web project, not only a client, but every PM as well, should ask some important questions. The answers to these questions determine the future success of the project, which all the people involved are interested in. Tell us about your project and our PM, along with the team of experts, will make it come true.

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