Andrei, one of our senior project managers, talked us through some of the main project management tips he uses for communicating effectively with the team and with the product owner, thus deploying every project successfully.
The best online PM software for a startup
The notion of "best" is, in all cases, relative. For a startup, it’s even more relative. The proper software tool for project management depends on the needs of every startup. One of the most popular and appreciated online project management tools out there is Basecamp.
This web-based project management and collaboration tool features team discussion boards, to-do lists, a file repository, a calendar and much more.
Another advantage of the tool is the large community of users, which basically ensures that all potential issues one might encounter can be thoroughly discussed and assessed amidst specialists.
The mobile app is available exclusively in an iOS version at the moment.
However, not all startups are capable of investing in a project management tool, in spite of the obvious benefits thereof. This is why some product owners may find Freedcamp to be the more cost-effective alternative. This one is free of charge and offers an incredible range of features and options: tasks lists, discussion boards, milestone setting and time tracking.
You’re a small team? Forget about the tool, think about the methodology.
For a small team or for multiple parallel projects, there is also Asana. The other two tools mentioned above can work out as well. However, what is best to keep in mind when it comes to project management within a restricted team is not the tool, but the methodology you use.
Andrei recommends David Marquis’s approach, which basically consists of an innovative systemic perspective: instead of assigning people to projects on an individual basis, try to see all projects as being the holistic work to be done and the team as being the system which works towards realising it.
Start seeing the group representing the team as a whole, capable of a certain capacity of work. Then, split this capacity in value streams. When planning for projects, assign projects to these value streams, instead of the individuals.
The best tool for PM, Programmers’ choice
Try giving Spider Management software a chance , it can prove to be an appropriate solution if you’re looking for something user-friendly.
Likewise, you may want to look into agile project management: why not try the Atlassian tool?!
Is a Product Manager synonymous with a Project Manager?
The answer is NO. A Project Manager runs a project from the perspective of time, cost, quality and scope, while simultaneously managing the project team.
In the case of consumer goods, a Product Manager takes care of a certain line of products and promotes them on the market, to the customers. So, while a Product Manager is mainly responsible for solving the question “WHAT should be developed?”, the Project Manager will account for “HOW” that certain “WHAT” is implemented.
For software development, a Product Manager is, almost always, the CEO. This person’s role is extremely important: he will orchestrate all the activities involved into making the product fit the market’s needs. He will overlook the project manager’s work, while simultaneously assessing potential marketing methods. Acceptance testing for the product (at one end) and maintaining the team’s cohesion (at the other) are further activities the product manager has to involve into.
How to understand the project manager – tips and tricks for every entrepreneur
Seniority comes with empowerment
Andrei claims that, in order for him to feel fully involved in the process, he needs Empowerment from the product owner. This is, of course, subjective, and for a younger project manager may not be equally important. When one hasn’t got enough experience, he may feel the need for constant supervision and assistance from a supervisor. Once time passes, this becomes less and less solicited.
A senior project manager has to have the capacity to oversee the specifics of the whole project, while simultaneously acting on the spur of the moment, when an abrupt decision needs to be made.
The entrepreneur’s role is to try and understand the specific needs of every project manager, so that communication is not jeopardized in the long run.
The proper resources can save you a lot of time and money
Project Management can save time, money and ensure the smooth deployment of a project. In order for the project manager to be effective and to learn while doing, he has to look into constant methods for improving his skills.
But the entrepreneur also needs to understand what a project manager can bring to the team. Therefore, the very resources that may help the PM achieve constant improvement are also useful to the product owner, in understanding how project management works and how it can be integrated in the economy of the (mobile) product.
Photo credits: woodleywonderworks
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