Manage Your Web Development Project like a Pro: Tips and Tricks
The World Wide Web is expanding at an incredible pace. Thousands of new websites go live every day. This means there are thousands of web development projects happening at any given time; this stat alone shows just how rapidly the market is growing.
You too can develop your own website or do a project for clients as a web developer. Before you do, however, you need to know how to manage a web development project properly. A well-managed project will not only produce better results but do so more efficiently.
So, how can you manage your web development project like a pro? These next several tips and tricks will help you get started right away.
Kanban is a project management strategy first developed by Toyota years ago. Today, Kanban principles are seen in various projects, including web development projects. The system basically divides a web development project into tasks that you take across various stages.
Kanban is best implemented using a visual tool, and there is no better tool to use than Kanbanize. Kanbanize helps turn your web development project into cards and stages, which you can then organize as you go along.
Each task is represented by a Kanban card on the virtual board. You move each card from planning to work in progress (WIP) and then to testing and completion. Since Kanbanize is visual, it is much easier to see the progress of your web development project as you go along.
Apply a WIP Limit
Using Kanban is only the beginning. You can refine the strategy further based on the projects you handle. One of the refinements you can add is a limit for tasks in the Work in Progress phase.
WIP limits are not for limiting the time allocated to each task, but rather the number of tasks in a particular phase. For example, you can set the WIP limit to three tasks and allow your developers – or yourself – to direct more focus towards them.
WIP limits help you focus on the tasks in hand. It prevents you from handling too many tasks at the same time, something that often leads to the entire project not meeting its deadline and risks not being mitigated properly.
If you’re still unsure about WIP limits, the abovementioned company Kanbanize have written all about it in their guide “What is a Kanban WIP Limit?” which will be worth reading.
Use the Board
With the Kanban board set up, the next important thing to do is, well, using it. Stop using emails and text messages to discuss projects. At the very least, make sure all notes and discussions done outside of the Kanban board are added to the board.
The goal of using Kanban is gaining control over the project and its progress. The way to do that is by making sure that the tasks and changes to them are reflected accurately on the board.
The approach also prevents unwanted mistakes. It is too common for updates and notes sent via email to be missed completely. Missing a simple note or change from the client can cause bigger problems as you move forward. Adding those notes to the right Kanban cards will eliminate this problem.
A project doesn’t have to be seen as one huge work; in fact, it shouldn’t. Another advantage of using Kanban is the flexibility it offers. You are free to set your own tasks (Kanban cards) and phases on the Kanban board based on the development challenges you face.
For instance, you can separate frontend and backend tasks into big categories using different card colors. You can then list all individual tasks and assign them to specific developers using cards. The developers will be the ones moving the cards along your Kanban board.
Subtasks let you mitigate your risks better. There is no single point of failure; when a developer responsible for a task cannot be reached or becomes ill, he or she will not jeopardize the entire project. Besides, it is easier to reassign smaller tasks while maintaining time efficiency.
Set Firm Deadlines
Time management is the key to successfully completing a web development project. This means being firm with your deadlines and completing each task in a timely manner. Fortunately, Kanban cards can have their own deadlines, so you can organize each task so that they are completed on time.
When developers start missing their deadlines, those delays are represented visually. You can quickly see which tasks are overdue and make instant decisions on how to stay on track with the project. Even better, you can have contingencies for dealing with delays.
The Kanban system also makes analyzing the impact of a delay easier. What happens if the UI design is three days late? How far will the completion date of the project need to be pushed back? With these details, you have the ability to inform the client as well.
Open and Close
Developers working on the project can move the Kanban cards along the board, but only those who open the cards can close the cards. This is an effective way of introducing review and evaluation to your project management workflow.
When a task reaches the final stage, the developer can simply reassign the card back to you. At that point, you have the opportunity to review all deliverables and check if the work meets your requirements. Should changes be needed, you can reassign the task back to the developer.
Some project managers add additional phases for evaluation and review; this is an approach you can use too. That’s the beauty of using Kanban to manage your web development projects. You can make adjustments to the system and maintain a high level of efficiency at all times.
With these tips and tricks in mind, managing even the most complex web development projects will be easy. You already have the tools and the strategy for better project management. All you need to do now is create your own Kanban board and start managing your web development project like a pro.