Project Management and its tools

Project Management plays a key role in many companies, Walter Code included. Our Project Managers play a vital role in the success of the company, and today we are going to discuss the importance of project management and managers within companies. We’re also going to mention a couple of tools our project managers utilize to have the teams well organized and goal-oriented!

Project Management

It wasn’t until the 1950s that organizations started to systematically apply project-management tools and techniques to complex engineering projects. Since then, project management has improved significantly.

The essence of it, however, remains the same.

To achieve the set objectives within the constraints of scope, time and budget is the main goal of project management. A project manager aims to organize the team to put out a complete project that suits the client’s requirements within a given timeframe, successfully. A lot of the time, project management is all about interpreting the needs and wants of the client and communicating them to the team.

Furthermore, it is almost equally important to optimize the use of necessary resources and apply them accordingly, meeting the goals that are set.

It is the process of leading a team to work on projects, all while achieving their goals and meeting their success criteria at a specified time.

Project management makes sense only when it aligns the skills of the project participants, the resources available, and the requirements of the project, in a way that utilizes them efficiently and effectively.

When is a project successful?

In short, the performance of any project is determined by how well the four main factors are associated with the project’s contextual dynamics, which are referred to as the four P’s.

· People

· Product

· Process

· Project

The “People” — an incredibly important aspect in the process of software development that starts way back with recruitment. Training, compensation, career development, team culture, and so on have the task of bringing high levels of people management to companies.

The end goal of the people management aspect is to have employees who are willing to do their best each and every time, day in and day out, guaranteeing their maximum effort on projects.

The “Product” — a significant step before planning out the project itself, is establishing product objectives and scope. Alternative solutions need to be considered, and technical and management constraints should be identified. This is all to provide a reasonable estimate of the cost and risk, a breakdown of the project tasks, as well as a manageable project schedule.

The “Process” — A comprehensive plan for software development can be established once the appropriate framework is provided. A clearly defined method is critical to the success of any product in any planning. It specifies how the team can progress over the specified time span. There are many stages to the method, including documentation, implementation, deployment, and interaction.

The “Project” — Project is the last and most significant P in software project planning. The project manager is crucial during this point. They are in charge of guiding team members toward the project’s target and objectives, as well as assisting and advising them on issues, monitoring cost and budget, and ensuring that the project meets its deadlines.

Project Management Methods

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines product management methodology as a “framework that is used to structure, plan, and control the process of developing an information system.”

Firstly, we’ll simply list some of the PM methods out there:

· Agile

· Scrum

· Kanban

· Waterfall

· Scrumban

· Lean

· eXtreme Programming

· PRINCE2

· PMI’s PMBOK

Of course, not all of them are as used as others, and choosing a methodology to suit your needs is a key step. Sometimes, even a combination of the methods is used in order to sufficiently meet needs.

However, some of them are more popular than others, and we’ll do a more detailed overview of what they have to offer.

Agile

This methodology, which was originally developed for software creation, is now one of the most widely used. It’s especially common in agile environments, where products have iterative, incremental requirements and solutions emerge from a collaborative, self-organizing, cross-functional approach to product planning and execution. The Agile methodology is also receptive to continuous feedback from end-users and clients.

One of the pros of the Agile methodology is suggested by its name. It is conveniently Agile, allowing for changes “along the road”. Being quite adaptive means that the changes can be easily accommodated.

Waterfall

One of the more traditional methodologies for product management is this linear, sequential approach. In this case, product creation, including preparation, implementation, and delivery, follows a linear, unidirectional path, similar to that of a waterfall.

This methodology originated in the manufacturing and construction industries, where one production stage would normally be completed before moving on to the next. You can’t go back to a previous point, and any revisions necessitate scrapping the current process and starting from the beginning.

In a “battle” between Agile VS Waterfall, Agile offers more flexibility, Waterfall ensures better planning.

https://www.techguide.com.au/news/internet-news/agile-beneficial-tech-development-companies/

Scrum

Scrum is a variation of the Agile approach. Although it is an iterative method, it does support sprints, which are fixed-length iterations. A sprint can last one or two weeks, allowing for a consistent cadence of deliveries. Scrum often stresses a fixed collection of responsibilities, duties, and meetings that never alter.

Task boards and burndown charts are generated during each sprint to help team members track product development progress at a glance. Every day, team members must attend a short, intense Scrum meeting to discuss priorities and issues. Both participants and stakeholders are expected to meet at the end of a sprint to schedule the next sprint.

Kanban

Kanban, another Agile variant, literally means “visual symbol” or “card” in Japanese. A Kanban board, which visualizes a product team’s workflow, is used to implement Kanban. Work is divided into three groups on the Kanban board: to do, in progress, and completed. To aid in the visualization of the process, further categories can be added.

Every assignment is recorded on a Kanban card, which is then shifted from one category to the next as the process progresses. The Kanban process’s visual design allows all team members to stay on the same page while also allowing them to easily spot opportunities for process change or enhancement. It, for example, automatically identifies process bottlenecks and gaps.

Which methodology you use can be a combination of several factors. You can even combine methods in order to suit your needs. Whatever the case, we hope this breakdown of some of the most popular methodologies comes in handy.

The tools

In order for project managers to successfully lead teams during projects and to say that their project management was effective, several tools may help. Of course, these tools are not necessarily the only tools out there, let alone the best ones, but they are the ones that suit our team’s needs the most and we can confidently say that they help.

Again, we’ll start off with a list:

· Jira

· Confluence

· Aha!

· Trello

Now, after listing them, we’re going to break down the benefits of using them to help project management.

Jira

Jira Software is part of a suite of tools for managing work in teams of all sizes. Initially, it was created with the aim of serving as a bug and problem tracker. They have since developed into a powerful work management tool for a variety of applications, ranging from requirements and test case management to agile software development.

Atlassian named its product after “Gojira,” which means Godzilla in Japanese. The idea for the name came about because, before they developed the tool, Atlassian’s coders used a bug-tracking software tool called Bugzilla.

“It is built for every member of your software team to plan, track and release great software” — Jira

The beauty of Jira is that it offers you several methods of project management, within one software. Scrum boards, Kanban boards, Roadmaps, Agile reporting — all offered via the platform. In essence, whether you like to-do lists, boards, graphical reports into team performance, or more, Jira offers it.

Confluence

Another tool from Atlassian, Confluence, is a wiki-based communication platform that assists teams in effectively collaborating and sharing information. With the Team Calendars add-on for Confluence, we can capture project specifications, delegate tasks to individual users, and manage several calendars at once.

“Confluence is your remote-friendly team workspace where knowledge and collaboration meet” — Confluence

Documentation, a knowledge base, and all the intel about product requirements can be easily accessed through Confluence. The documentation mess is solved by having various templates to suit your needs.

Within Walter Code, Confluence is used as a place to document strategies at project and testing levels, as a knowledge base, a spot for PI planning, code documentation, etc. Generally, we find it’s transparency and visibility, along with its versatile features, quite useful!

Aha!

“The world’s #1 roadmap software” — Aha!

Aha! is a product roadmap tool that allows product managers and marketing teams to identify the why, where, and what of products before they are built. It’s a solution that allows them to track and learn about what’s being built in the software that’s tailored to your team’s needs.

It standardizes practices across the organization and project templates drive repeatable success. It allows you to allocate resources in real-time which helps when estimating the effort and budget required to deliver projects. Progress is calculated in percentage, giving an extra boost of morale and confidence to the team while working on the project and checking off steps.

Aha! is mostly used by product managers, stakeholders, and, within certain teams — developers. Essentially we cherish it as an idea verification spot, with its clean interface adding a certain depth to the decision making project since everyone can vote on items, for example. Later on in a project’s lifecycle, it is a great way of check-ing on the progress, along with the roadmap which proves quite useful.

Its integration that it provides with other tools makes it quite attractive for many teams, and quite easy to implement.

Trello

Last, but not least, we have Trello. Trello is a visual communication tool that makes organizing and prioritizing tasks enjoyable, versatile, and satisfying. A Trello board is a collection of lists with cards attached, each with its own set of powerful features and automation. It is usually used for less complicated, easier projects and is quite thankful when it comes to its simplicity and overall transparency. You could say it’s an honorary mention within this competition, but it certainly deserves a spot in the list due to its innovation, overall looks, and ease of use.

In a way, it’s Jira for projects where Jira isn’t used - usually, less complicated projects without a lot of information.

That’s it for the list of project management tools that aim to help project managers facilitate their teams onto tasks more successfully. Which exact tool you decide to use is mostly up to you and your team. Even combining them isn’t out of the question, since their features can be neatly combined to provide the best of both worlds. Say Jira and Confluence, one for the progress tracking, the other for planning and documentation…

Some tools are more enjoyed by teams than others, but in essence, they offer similar features, vital for making project management and the entire project lifecycle more transparent, easier to work on and it brings a whole new aspect of collaboration within projects, especially in the time of remote work.

Conclusion

Overall, we hope that this topic was something you found interesting and helpful. Project management plays a vital role in our company as it determines the success of our projects, long-term, and helps us to provide our clients with the results they require and meet their needs.

We’ve mentioned a couple of parts that make up project management, but all of this may not apply to your team exactly. The key moment in project management is setting it up and making sure that the setup meets your team's needs, rather than fitting a stereotype or adjusting to an already used system. So, take the time to find out which method of project management works best for your team, and watch the efficiency increase almost instantly!

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