The ongoing digital transformation requires companies to adapt the tools they use. It is now necessary to have a website, manage social networks, set up a new HR software, digitize documents, etc.
However, for many companies that do not specialize in IT or digital technologies, implementing such solutions may prove to be difficult. Investments in energy, time, and money are high, and so are the stakes.
How to ensure the success of your IT project? We present you methods to follow and tools for a more peaceful project management.
What is project management?
We often hear about "working in project mode", or "project management", but what is it, really?
Project management is the set of practices aimed at organizing the smooth running of a project in order to achieve goals. It involves using methods, techniques, and management tools specific to the various stages of the project.
It is therefore necessary to consider a project as a succession of steps to be carried out with the help of tools, in order to reach set goals in a given time.
This definition highlights 3 key elements on which efficient project management is based:
- The project organization
- The methodology in place
- A good project management tool
Planning as an essential step for effective project management
A project must be clearly defined and organized in advance, in order to ensure its smooth running. The time factor is one of the most important constraints for project organization. Resources must be optimized in the allotted time to make sure deadlines are met.
Planning a project is the organization of its tasks within a specific timeframe. It means:
- taking into account all the tasks to be carried out during the design phase,
- precisely follow-up on your project.
Project structure and design
Define the steps
First, divide your project into several phases and list them; for example: Design, Setup, Tests, Launch, etc.
Then, you must list all the tasks to be performed within each of these phases thoroughly, integrating the tasks of all team members.
The very nature of the project design will impact the monitoring and especially the level of project breakdown. You must anticipate the project follow-up to define the adequate level of details. The same project can be broken down into 150 or 50 tasks, but this does not imply the same degree of detail in the follow-up.
For this exercise, a Kanban board (task lists) makes it easier to visualize all of the tasks and actions to be performed.
Kanban board example
Then you must switch from this Kanban view to a timeline in order to take your planning further. It is essential to schedule and view the tasks over time to assess the coherence of the actions, their parallelization and their order of progression.
Schedule view example
In order to avoid having to create and update these two views yourself, a flexible project management tool can be useful, as it offers several points of view of the same project.
Create a process
On this schedule, it is necessary to materialize the constraints and the priorities of your project. Thus, you can create an architecture of your project to ensure the proper sequence of actions.
For example, you can create a link to highlight the dependence between two tasks, the start of one of being conditioned by the completion of the other.
It is also necessary to create milestones in order to materialize important deadlines which cannot be rescheduled.
When managing an IT project, this step is particularly important since elements that can influence the duration of the project must be taken into account (e.g. the implementation of pre-launch tests).
With the materialization of these processes, the project goes beyond a simple succession of tasks and takes a more complete form, allowing a more efficient management. A visual representation of the different elements is therefore essential.
Generally speaking, it is essential to find the right balance between completeness and readability. With visual project management tool, planning becomes easier to set up and implement.
Once the project is planned and ready to start, the work does not stop there. A follow-up must be implemented to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible in order to meet the goals and deadlines.
Project follow up
Project monitoring is based on the data provided by the project members and the good use of this data by the project manager. Project members must be able to share and update information easily in order to ensure an efficient monitoring.
All team members, and especially the project manager, must be able to display clearly the tasks that are completed, late, or in progress, as well as their possible impacts on the overall planning and the tasks to come. A free access to the project schedule helps everyone measuring their role and the impact of their tasks on the overall project.
It is important to opt for familiar renditions for users, meaning identical or very close to the information entry system. This will make easier the process of reassigning tasks depending on the availability of members and the re-prioritization of tasks.
For greater efficiency, you need clear and more importantly visual schedules. You can choose a schedule in the form of a Gantt chart, which allows you to materialize the work process and the interactions between tasks over time, to anticipate the interventions of the various actors, the delays and their impacts on the general planning.
Gantt chart example
Nobody is safe from an unexpected complication. You must be able to edit this schedule in real time in order to immediately visualize the impacts of each adjustment on the entire project.
For example, if a project member is absent, should the person's task be rescheduled or assigned to someone else? A simple shift of a task in an editable schedule makes it possible to measure the impacts of each change and thus to choose the best one.
Good communication is the key to success
Effective project management also requires the implementation of specific methods. The main approach is information sharing and transparency, and more specifically communication.
When talking about projects involving several people, this may seem quite obvious. However, it is important for this communication to be effective and this is not as easy as it seems. Project members may soon find themselves drowning in messages or missing crucial information.
Make information available
The purpose of communication is to share information. To simplify communication, it is important to make sure that information is accessible. It is essential to make the information available to all members of the project so that everyone is aware of its own actions, the main deadlines, general planning and project developments.
When working with people outside the company, access to information is even more important.
Managing all aspects of the same project on a single digital platform such as a project management tool makes it possible to centralize information and make it accessible at any time. It may also be relevant to define access rights according to the profile of each member to find the balance between transparency and confidentiality.
This communication must also be two-way as each participant contributes to the project. Each member must be able to inform and alert the other members of the project and in particular the project manager. This dimension is essential to allow the project manager to have all the information, to be reactive and to update the project accordingly.
The frequency of the communication is also decisive, because one must be careful not to over-engage with his interlocutors at the risk of drowning them with irrelevant information.
There are no set rules in this area, as it depends on the project, its pace, its status (late or in time) and the company’s management style. Other factors must also be considered, such as the pace and constraints of each person (remote working, holidays, other projects...).
However, it may be interesting to take some time as a group in order to define how each participant wants to communicate, to share good practices and to agree on the preferred strategy.
With the multiplication of communication channels within companies, people find themselves in constant demand and risk losing focus and efficiency. It is therefore better to focus on a single platform to centralize communication around a project.
Expert advice: When it comes to communication, it is necessary to find the correct balance between completeness, accessibility and frequency. Less is often more!
Choosing the appropriate tools
The selection requirements
How can you implement effective planning and communication, manage a project from start to finish and make sure it runs smoothly? Companies often use a project management tool, which allows them to manage all these aspects with a single platform.
There are very specialized project management software programs, but why not opt for an accessible and cross-cutting tool? Indeed, with a user-friendly solution, project management can start without wasting time. By investing in a complete project management tool, its profitability is ensured since it can be used to drive all the business operations and office activities of the company.
The added value of a project management tool is flexibility. It must allow users to view a project in different ways depending on the type of project or desired approach.
For example, a tool like Beesbusy, which allows you to switch from a Kanban view (task lists) to a timeline view, helps you to go further in planning your project.
The human factor
In project management, you must keep in mind that the diversity of profiles that makes up a team's richness can sometimes be problematic for the project manager. Indeed, teams can group people with different professional profiles, with different ways of thinking and who are not all project management experts.
For a quick onboarding process and thus better cost-effectiveness, it is necessary to opt for an interface which allows each participant to view his projects in a way that suits him (timeline, lists of tasks...).
Access to the tool, and especially its accessibility for the project members, is therefore crucial in the transmission and reception of information. The platform should be user and mobile-friendly, intuitive, or even as familiar as some applications used by most of us on a daily basis.
The best way to choose a project management tool is to create an account and give it a try! Use it with your team and select what is best for your business.
With these tips, you will be able to give a real boost to your projects!
Article sponsorisé. Les contributeurs experts sont des auteurs indépendants de la rédaction d’appvizer. Leurs propos et positions leur sont personnels.