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Maciej Szymczuk
Regional Director
USA

(+1) 929 262 9149

maciej.szymczuk@softwarehut.com


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Let's talk

You have a dream. Many of us do too. 

But you know what the problem is? Most of us can’t put it into words – no matter how hard we ache to achieve this. 

Of course – it’s impossible to know something, if you aren’t able to explain it to others. 

I’ve worked alongside many Project Managers with a simple task – but often overcomplicated. They’re put in charge of communicating, and realising their company’s business objectives, to new IT Development teams

Sounds easy – right? It is. 

But only with the correct kind of thinking: asking the right questions, needs awareness, having a clue. Some PMs forget the most rudimental things, with costly consequences. 

I’m here to help. 

Welcome Aboard! 

Define 

The first thing you’ll need to do – is define the idea. 

Describe your vision. What’s the problem facing the world, what voids, or missing elements have you recognized? Perhaps you’re rolling out a ground-breaking product or putting it more broadly – have a general vision to change the world. What’s the solution – and what does it do?   

Whichever this is, it’s important to tell your Software House what this is, and to share your way of thinking. 

Brief 

Your software house will need some basic information. It’s the short form description of your project, what you need, and how to achieve this. Describe the workings of the IT Project in the simplest formula – as well as the scope of the work needing accomplishment. 

Specs 

Things are getting technical here, but there’s no need to get too deep into the subject. Your job is to remain on the surface.  

You can be concise but leave the diving to the divers.

Here are the Basics 

Goals 

To put it simply, what do you want? 

Consider the business goals for your company, and what tangible objectives have been presented. This of course differs from the goals pertaining to your cause. In this instance, you should also keep in-mind whether this project fits into your defined future vision. 

These must be understandable, in terms verified by both the Developers, and your organization. The best way to do this, is setting universally-agreed metrics. Consider specifics, such as website visits, click-through rates, checkout rates, bounce rates, or just Euros, Pounds, and Dollars.  

Sometimes goals are driven by inspiration, such as a leading trend, or a competitor’s product. That too can be enough to help with your brief as well. 

Scope 

We’re going to meditate, and look ‘deep within’, for this one. That’s because here’s where the IT project will do some preliminary soul searching

The scale of the project, what needs to be done, where it will feature, how, who’s involved – all need identification.  

Here are some questions to kick-start the thought process:

  1. Is this a Mobile App? 
  2. Is this PC-based? 
  3. Or maybe it’s an embedded system?
  4. What kinds of functionalities will it have? e.g.:
    • Content Management System (CMS)?
    • Built-in Search Engine?
    • Navigation; GPS or Custom Mapping?
    • Will it Need Accessories, or Wearables?
    • Any special Infrastructure?
    • Data Security, how rigorous? 

Imagine you’re exploring a tropical garden, and underneath the stones, lie the clues to your IT Project. Leave none of these stones unturned.   

Time 

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was the Valley of the Kings, or Silicon Valley, for that matter. 

Some projects will take more time than others, especially if you want to do it right. The deadline has a direct impact on the outcome of the project; the ways in which it will be done, and the kinds of aspects you would like to include in it. 

As a rule of thumb, realising it ‘fast’ will mean ‘this quality, whereas achieving it gradually will mean ‘that quality’. This has more dramatic ramifications when considering a budget too! But we’ll get to that later. 

One thing is certain in this world: nothing ever takes five minutes, nor does it cost five dollars. 

State of the Project 

As new Project Manager, depending on the project and situation, you may be building something from the ground up. Be sure to let your new developers know the current progress of your project, as any existing information will surely help. 

Maybe you’ve already created a complete, or half-finished prototype? In this case, let them know either way, and be sure to share any essentials. 

Most crucial to note, if you’ve completed something like this before, albeit unsuccessfully, then be sure to inform of this as well. The key to success is communicating outstanding issues which may have occurred in the past. 

If it works with personal relationships, it works in IT projects too! 

Greet the Team  

Meet the people! And be sure to ‘talk, and talk, and talk’Precise understanding equals success

Did you know, that understanding each other is responsible for 98% of the IT business? Everything’s built on communication, managing expectations, and navigating between stakeholders.  

In projects as advanced as those in IT development, take care to avoid costly misunderstandings! 

Have you communicated and defined your project parameters? Did you ensure they’re understood to the finest detail? Lastly, does your IT Development team speak your language?  

Remember, if you can’t communicate, you can’t create. 

Budget 

It’s a big deal. 

Enough money might even stop the earth’s rotation. Thus far, no project in history has approved such an amount. Not yet, at least. 

In the case of your project – know how much is your organisation willing to spend? Keep this in high regard to your expectations as well. 

To put it simply: the greater the budget, the wider the possibilities range. New functionalities need time to test, whereas features will need development funding too. Money plays a decisive role in final quality. Bugs and glitches are best addressed with room in the budget to deal with this issue. 

Always prioritise to realise. 

Mock-ups & Wireframes 

Sometimes, we have no idea what’s going on. But then again, sometimes we have clues. 

Details are undoubtedly helpful – as are any specifics. Sometimes a basic vision is the framework for excellence – be sure to share any preliminary thoughts and plans with your development team. A trustworthy software house should be able to provide professional, concise, and non-judgemental feedback to your proposition. 

Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb idea! 

The Master Checklist 

Consider this a gentle reminder, rather than a ‘make or break’ list. In-fact, it’d be a surprise if you had ready-made answers to all these points. 

The most important thing is to know what there is to know, and what questions to ask ahead. This will help you identify the competency of your next IT development team too! 

  1. Dream. Do you have a vision? Problem, solution, dream. 
  2. Be specific, but not pedantic. There’s a balance, respect it. 
  3. Explore within. Ask yourself lots of questions.  
  4. Have conviction. The strongest people and projects know who and what they are. 
  5. Establish parameters. What metrics define your success? 
  6. Be Realistic. Time and money are tangible factors with tangible consequences. Know this. 
  7. Details. Share as many as you can. 
  8. Execute. Go for it – with confidence. 

As fundamental as these points are, it’s ok if you don’t have answers to some of the questions. Just be sure to give them a think. 

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Senior Project Manager

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