This got us thinking. Seeing as we have worked with quite a few businesses over the years (that wasn’t us blowing our own trumpet), we spoke to Jen – one of our senior digital project managers in London – to see what tips she has to make a project run smoothly.
1. A workable project plan
The first piece of Jen gave was to make sure that your project plan is constantly up to date and evolving as the project develops. You should all work to keep it as accurate as possible, adding in all the changes to make sure that the whole team is all on the same page. If this is done properly it means that everyone is able to refer back to it at any point and know the information they are getting is accurate. Keeping this practice up also can help to create and work to a reasonable deadline and ensure that you are on track to complete the tasks within the clients timeframe.
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2. Clear communication between teams
“Your check-ins only have to be 15 to 20 minutes but it’s a good opportunity to speak about any blocks you have in your workflow, and ask for help if you need it.”
This is something that here at Nurture we constantly have at the front of our minds because we have such a large number of our team based in Poland, but this is just as important if your whole team is in the same office! Make sure your team is speaking, helping and supporting each other to ensure that tasks are performed on time and every member of the team is happy with the process. Any kind of medium can be used, you just have to make sure that it works for you. Be open and honest with each other, have regular check-ins to check progress.
This tip fits in very well with the agile workflow, which we use here at Nurture! If you fancy learning more then check out our agile blog to see how you this style of work could help you and your team.
3. Use good tools
“It’s good to have a space where everyone can log all their work, tickets and any questions that need to be raised. It acts as a central location for all the project’s info.”
This carries on a little from the last point, but make sure you’re using tools to help you communicate. Jira or Confluence are two of the examples that we use between the project managing team, designers, developers and clients, which work really well for us. It’s also a great way of keeping everyone organised and ensuring that both the team and the client are on the same page.
4. Open relationship with clients
“Be honest, within reason, with your clients! Let them know if there are going to be delays, ensure that you’re aware of their main list of priorities.”
Having an open relationship with your clients can help in so many ways. Most of all it makes the process of working together and collaborating on ideas a lot simpler and can make the project run a lot smoother. But it’s also incredibly important to ensure that both sides knows exactly what is going on with the project, even if that is that some tasks might not be finished in time and all expectations are managed and realistic. It’s important to be transparent at every stage.
5. Set realistic deadlines
“Don’t try and take on more than you need to. Always prioritise tasks within the project and ensure this is aligned with the team and the needs of the client.”
When you are setting out the timeline for your project make sure that you are setting realistics sprints for your team, and there is a mixture of priority levels in each one. In our chat Jen suggested that about 60% of the tasks within a sprint should be a high priority and the other 40% should be smaller tasks that can, if need be, be moved over to the following sprint if not completed.
“If it is all critical you are bound to go wrong. There will be too much pressure on the team and their time will be spread too thinly. It’s about setting realistic goals and timelines for your clients.”
“My final piece of advice would be to always make sure that your project plan is constantly up to date and evolving as the project develops.”
You should all work to keep it as accurate as possible, adding in all the changes to make sure that the whole team is all on the same page. If this is done properly it means that everyone is able to refer back to it at any point and know the information they are getting is accurate. Keeping this practice up also can help to create and work to a reasonable deadline and ensure that you are on track to complete the tasks within the clients timeframe.
Thank you so much to Jen for giving us such wonderful tips, they are really useful and will really help us with projects in the future! If you have any more tips be sure to get in touch on social and share your top tips and stories – we would love to hear them!