Project management. It’s a broad term that can mean many things to many people across various industries. Every company tackles projects in their own way; company culture will always play a role in the dynamics of project execution. But but most likely, SaaS companies with strong project management will measure the success of any project by how well deadlines, budgets, and expectations are met. Consider your company’s project management workflow a process to be honed. With the right systems in place, your projects will run smoothly and efficiently, eliminating guesswork and miscommunication, leading to a stronger, more reliable product.
Assemble your team
In any heist movie, there’s always that montage scene where the lead guy/gal assembles the squad. There’s the driver, the tech nerd, the con artist, the right-hand man, and the ringleader. In these movies, the ringleader always brings in the best of the best, and with those people in place, the heist is executed with ease. When spearheading any project, assemble your team with the precision and foresight of a heister. Who is your designer, your developer, your marketer? And who is corralling all of them, your project manager? The right project manager is crucial; this person is responsible for driving the workflow of your team.
If you put the right people in the right roles, a project will run smoothly simply by having everyone play their part. Be sure, though, to set them up for success. Bring all the right stakeholders into the project early and agree on key objectives and goals from the start. Make sure the whole team is clear on their roles and responsibilities.
As mentioned, it’s important to establish key goals for any project right from the start. Be absolutely certain each team member can answer these questions:
- What is the deliverable? When all is said and done, what are you handing in? This can seem simple, but important to establish so that everyone knows exactly where the finish line is.
- What is the budget? Not all projects will have monetary budgets, if they are internal, but sometimes it’s important to budget resources, not just dollars. For example, how many employees can we afford to designate to the project?
- What is the timeline? Set it and plan accordingly.
If possible, over-communicate these items.
Get systems in place
Your projects will only run as smoothly as the systems you’ve put in place. There are dozens of tools out there to help your projects run like clock-work. Software exists to aid your scheduling, your communication, your task-tracking. Use what works best for you.
But even the best software can’t help you if your team isn’t on the same track. Conversely, you could execute your projects with nothing more than post-it notes if everyone is working as part of the same machine. Just as everyone needs to know a project’s expectations, they should be using the same systems throughout the lifespan of a project.
Before starting any project, establish these systems for your team.
- A “source of truth” – whether it’s a document or a software tool, this is a place for everyone to reference the goals, roles and responsibilities, and an archive of notes and documents regarding the project
- A task-tracking tool
- A method of tracking your KPIs – most projects tie back to these goals for your company, so your team should know how their project is impacting them.
- Documentation of metrics and methodologies – this will only make future projects stronger
- A meeting structure that works for your team. Maybe you meet every day to update one another on your progress, maybe it’s every week. But make it consistent.
- A project roadmap – so that everyone knows where you’re going, and when
Deliver, deliver, deliver
Once you have established a strong team, made expectations clear, and let your systems run as they should, all that’s left to worry about is handing in your deliverables. If you have been diligent about upholding your project management systems, there’s no need to stress this piece of the process. By the time your deadline rolls around, you should feel confident that your project management will yield a strong, high quality deliverable.
Of course, with every project, the unexpected obstacle can pop up, throwing off your timeline or confusing your workflow. In these instances, a successful project manager is there to direct the team back on track, communicate clearly to all parties involved, and to organize a post-project debrief in order to help the team learn from any mistakes and improve processes for the next project.