Good Process Management is Good Project Management

24 Aug 2015, Posted by William Newell in Technologies
Good Process Management

All of us producing mobile applications, web apps, and software in general are always focused (or should be) on user experience—bringing relevant content to viewers in the best possible way. Whether you are working on a game, an educational product, an ecommerce site, or any other type of product, the common thread is that you are conveying an idea, information, and often a call to action.

Top executives (no matter what size the company is) often spend a lot of time defining the strategic market, and selecting the “right” developer for a project. Once they select that developer they try to negotiate an airtight contract to ensure timely and cost-effective delivery. This are of course important factors, but much like John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”  Often “Your project is what happens to you while you are paying attention to other things”.

I have implemented hundreds of projects and can’t tell you how often a project fails because the basics have not received enough attention. I started noticing this disturbing phenomenon many years ago and have given it considerable thought.  In my view, the problem is usually caused by one or more common missteps—lack of focus, lack of resources, or limited project management expertise. Over the years, I have seen companies underestimate how much effort and time it takes to complete a quality product and, perhaps even more confounding, underestimating the value of strong project management which inevitably causes chaos and poor results.

I don’t think it takes a genius to remedy this problem.  It just takes focus and applying some simple (commonsense) steps

  1. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish

  2. Almost all projects start with writing, whether it is a script, a description, or documentation of facts, pay careful attention to what you write. Keep things organized. Remember other people have to read and make sense of this content.

  3. Be thorough with your business plan, analysis of the market place, creation of a business model, and survey of the landscape. I know no one likes to do this, but without it there is no end goal for the project, no understanding of why it will exist, who it is for, and how it will succeed.

  4. Don’t take on more than you can chew. Review what you are already doing. If you or your staff are completely booked, and what you want to start is mission critical, consider dropping other things or adding resources. If you can’t do either, then you’ll need to make a conscious effort and work more hours. If the goal is worth it, this should be fine right?

  5. If it needs to happen fast and it is important, don’t schedule vacations during the critical path. Your presence does not have just a practical impact on the project, it is also your leadership that is needed. Nothing is more demoralizing and uninspiring than working around the clock without leadership

  6. Project management and quality assurance are not an afterthought, but an important key to a successful project

  7. Make sure you have competence (not necessarily you personally).  For example, if you have a technology heavy project the person(s) directing the project should understand technology well.

  8. Set up a realistic time frame to complete your project. Consider that you need time to define and design it in detail, time to execute, time to do a limited launch so that you can do focus groups to test and make adjustments, and finally launch a product.

  9. Be prepared to support your service or product when it launches, not only from a service perspective, but have an active plan to promote it. “If we build it they will come” is not true in business.

  10. Be prepared to make adjustment. When you launch something on the web, mobile platform, or TV, your products and services are received by a community of people. These people communicate and expect to have the best experience possible. With their input you will be able to perfect your offering


I hope you find these thoughts helpful for your next project. There are many great developers and consultants that can help you, but the best developers in the world can’t straighten a crooked tree.

Love to hear your comments and suggestions. I will be posting regularly again. And if you need help my company North South Studios, in Los Angeles can help you.

Post a comment