As a software developers, we’ve been involved in complex projects our whole careers. We’re constantly monitoring high level business goals with the thousands of details that underpin them. But many of these processes aren’t limited to tech. Here are some of the top things we’ve learned about project management that apply easily to any industry.
1: Order Your Priorities
When everything is high priority, nothing is. A long list of to-dos, all of which are highlighted and underlined, won’t help your team focus—they might even burn out. We’ve found that ranking priorities on a regular basis forces us to always have a short-list of top-priority issues. This means our team always knows what’s next. And tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary ideas end up drifting to the bottom of the queue, where they can be systematically identified and eliminated.
2: Schema and Workflow
Because we’re writing software, we’ve always had to think about each workflow step in detail, and the data required to fulfill it. But schema and workflow are vital to streamlining any process. You need to have a clearly defined workflow with distinct steps for your team to be able to work autonomously. You also need to track what data is required for each step to avoid hangups and reduced effectiveness. For example, if you want to send out a mailer to your clients, you must collect their mailing address on a previous step. This seems obvious, but we constantly find ways ways our clients can be making better use of their data.
3: Self-Serve Tools
There are several great tools for managing, and even automating project management, so you never have to write another status report again, or guess what your colleague is working on. We are big fans of Kanban tools like Trello for simple projects, and we also help clients track more complex processes like sales or intellectual property management with Jira. These tools let anyone on the team make informed decisions about how they can maximize their time spent. They can also let management quickly identify items that have fallen through the cracks, and easily manage resource allocation, and track efficiency metrics over time.
While some of these concepts may seem self-evident, we’ve been able to save our clients weeks of time and tens of thousands of dollars in prevented waste. Every team member has ideas that seem like great ideas to them, but are those ideas really the most effective way to spend this quarter’s budget? If you want more ways to optimize your operations, if you want help getting a project back on track, don’t be a stranger. We’d love to share more details, specific to your needs, or jump right in and help you save money.