How to project manage on big-time #AppDev briefs

In order to run an effective developer team, you must have both people management and process management abilities. The app developer manages the work, quality, budget and deliverable dates, and you need to be an effective project manager to take care of the schedule and assure the work is completed on time and within budget.

Practice Meeting Fundamentals

  1. It's your responsibility to make sure that the client and all the team members are meeting on a normal scheduled basis
  2. Ensure that all the team members are aware of the subject of your meeting and are prepared to discuss any topics tightly related to the meeting.
  3. Make certain your team understands that this client will be there which they should meet on time
  4. Make sure client status meetings and problem solving sessions happen several times a week minimum

Managing expectations

Sometimes providers consider it wise to provide more options and functionality than the client has requested. This is referred to as gold plating expectations and it is actually is not a good thing. This is a poor idea for 3 primary reasons.

Your primary focus should always be to deliver precisely what the client is expecting in a timely manner and on budget. As a result of doing additional work you increase the likelihood that you go over budget and overtime. It’s difficult to explain to a client a missed deadline or a cost overrun due on the extra features that the client may not find useful.

Your role on the team is to be an effective project manager, not to undertake business decisions on behalf of the client. Clients get many reasons for excluding and including certain specifications from the project. By working on extra work you may add something to the project the client does not want, while not working on something that the client needs.

The best way to add value to your client service experience is to deliver ahead of time and under budget. When a client spends less money than expected or gets the product ahead of time, the result will be extremely pleased clients.

Managing clients with Unrealistic expectations

Now and again projects come with clients who might have unrealistic expectations. Hopefully, you’ve taken the time in the beginning to help manage these expectations. However, some clients will still place extremely difficult deadlines. Some might do this as sort of stretch goal. Others often have a legitimate business reasons, such a difficult delivery schedules.

Find out the real causes of the deadline to find out the risks for not completing on time. A better understanding of the deadline is make it easier for you to motivate your team in order to reach that deadline. You will probably need to meet with your group to explain to them in more detail why it is so important that client meet this certain deadline.

You do have some options so as to help meet the deadline.

  1. Look for areas where you can improve your approach
  2. Work with the team to develop ideas and techniques that will allow them to deliver the project on time. 

If the client decides to add scope during this time period you have to tell them that they’re either going to choose between meeting the new deadline or adding scope, and be clear that there are actually no other options.

Talk to your client about prioritizing features together with specifications. This will allow you to put the less important items last, thereby minimizing your risk of not meeting the deadline.

Inquire if at this time there are any features or functionality they live without until after the project deadline
Increase resources.

Talk your client about adding new resources to the project to help you meet your deadline. A highly skilled project manager will have several solid developers within their network, able to come on for a short period of time and allow you to meet your deadlines.

This might not be friendly for your budget costs but it can be an option depending over the significance of meeting ones deadline.

Manage scope with iron fist. This does not mean that you have to be inflexible, but it does mean locking down scope changes.

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