You can choose to become a project manager or an engineer in the software industry. Now is the best time to look into a job in project management.
According to Indeed, the median annual salary for software project managers exceeds $126,000. Furthermore, this field is projected to grow at 11 percent compared with seven percent for all other management positions.
Professionals who are interested in entering the field of software project administration will discover that many of the principles that have been applied in other areas of project management can be applied to software. Johan Roos is a professor at Northeastern University College of Professional Studies.
No matter what industry, the work breakdown structure is the exact same. Regardless of whether your team is working in a software application, or building an office building, a sprint is the exact same. It is a one-to-four week process to build one piece of a larger project. This may take months or even years. It’s about how you organize the work, the people and the deliverables at the end.
Both new and experienced software project managers will find these 15 tips helpful.
15 Tips to Manage a Software Project
1. Create the right team.
You should be able to hire the software developers in your company. This will ensure that their experience and skills are aligned with your requirements. Assess the professional and personal qualities of developers who are already working on a project to find out which ones are most suitable for it. Team members who are able to concentrate on their strengths will be able complete tasks quicker, which will help project managers keep work on schedule and within budget.
2. Define the scope of your project.
A project scope statement is used to define the business requirements of the project and identify any constraints. It ensures that all stakeholders are clear about the scope and how it will work. It reduces the risk of scope creep, or adding features that are not required to the scope.
3. Set milestones and deadlines.
Although the main milestone is when the software project is complete, there are many deadlines between that date and the end. The software project manager is responsible for creating a project management plan. This includes milestones and deadlines. It should also pay attention to the dependencies of software features on other components. The development lifecycle is divided into four phases: Initiation to plan, Planning, Execution and Closure.
It is especially important to clearly define which deadline corresponds with which sprint. This will allow you to allocate resources to each sprint. Project managers can also identify any potential bottlenecks or challenges, such as features that are particularly difficult to build or features that require the completion of a design by the user experience team.
4. Set goals for your team and yourself.
The goals of the software development team are closely linked to the overall project deadlines, milestones and business goals. These goals can be both short-term (such as the output of a sprint) and long-term (such as the completion a software module). These goals should be communicated clearly and displayed visibly to remind the team (and new hires) of the overall goal.
A software project manager should also set goals for each developer. You must balance the business goals and personal development goals. This could include learning new skills or becoming a leader on the development team. To evaluate and adjust these goals, set up regular one-on-one meetings.
5. Start setting the tone.
To set the right tone for a project in software development, tell your team you will trust them, support them, and be transparent. In return, they will produce software that meets both the project requirements and the quality standards.
This support and encouragement is a great way to set the tone for collaboration throughout the entire software development cycle.
6. Communicate early and often.
The development team should communicate with each other through formal meetings and informal check-ins. The project manager will engage with stakeholders on behalf of the development group in scheduled meetings to exchange information. In the meantime, project managers can have informal conversations to ask questions, listen to their team members and build trust. As soon as issues arise, make sure that the development team or any other stakeholders are notified.
Developers feel valued as part of the larger project team when they communicate regularly. Although they may work independently, the project manager ensures that they do not feel isolated. It’s like directing a play. Everyone has the same script and has the same lines. There are far fewer questions about what needs to happen to make the play run smoothly.
7. Make your meetings memorable.
Stand-up meetings are an important part of software development. These meetings are used to review the work of the previous day, discuss the tasks for the current day, and discuss progress towards requirements, milestones, or KPIs.
Meetings should be short and productive. Meetings that last longer than 30 minutes are less efficient for the software development team. Make sure to create an agenda for each meeting and share it with everyone in advance. Also, make sure you stick to the agenda as strictly as possible.
Choose a time that is most convenient for everyone. Meetings for morning meetings are best for your team if they work best in the afternoon. Consider alternating the times of the meetings if your team works in different time zones. This will ensure that one group of developers doesn’t feel neglected.
8. Collect requirements and then let the team do their thing.
Gathering requirements is a key responsibility in managing software projects. This allows you to understand the needs of your users and help them make decisions about the software. This involves meeting with both internal and external stakeholders to determine their needs and to decide what software to build.
For feedback, send your requirements to the development team. Experiential developers can advise project managers if something is clear, logical, or not working.
It is a good idea to let developers write code once the requirements have been established. You can take care of the technical and administrative aspects of the project and be available to help the developers as needed. However, try to keep out of the way. Delays will result from interruptions, complications and complex processes that are required to complete simple tasks.
9. Identify practical and measurable KPIs.
KPIs, short for Key Performance Indicators are the metrics that determine the success of a software development project. While KPIs may vary depending on the project, they are discussed often during the gathering of requirements. They help the development team assign an quantitative value to how the software application must perform to meet those requirements.
An example of an e-commerce metric might be the number online shoppers who can place orders without the app crashing. It might be the time it takes to retrieve data after a user clicks “submit” for a research app.
10. Keep your team informed.
The sprint is a time when the development team completes their work, but the project manager stays in constant contact with all key stakeholders. These include data analysts and user experience designers as well as sales and marketing personnel and the executive team. The project manager also talks with customers and groups of customers if the software product is being created.
These meetings allow the project manager to ensure that developers are meeting the requirements of the customer and the project. The project manager must relay feedback from stakeholders to the development team in order to reset priorities and provide new features.
11. Your team can achieve success.
Software project managers who are skilled in managing software projects know their developers’ strengths and assign them tasks that match. While you don’t have to be an expert in their technical skills, it is important that you know what they are good at and what they enjoy doing most. While some projects may give you the opportunity to teach developers new skills, others might have priority or time constraints that require you to use a developer’s strengths.
Avoid task switching when giving work to developers. This can cause team members to lose focus and can lead to delays. Also, avoid adding people to projects unless absolutely necessary. Too many cooks could lead to broken code. Instead, change the mindset and practices of those who are already familiar with the requirements and the project.
12. Reduce risk and quickly resolve problems
Every project is subject to risk. It is essential to identify potential risks early in a project. This saves time and money. Every time you outline a requirement, set a milestone, or define a task, think about the risk that could be involved–insufficient data, bugs in the software, incomplete designs, potential lack of buy-in, and so on.
Next, consider how you and your teams will deal with each risk. Also, consider the priority level of the risk. For example, a wrong color in the interface is more likely to pose a risk than incorrect information in the database. It is better to resolve issues immediately, as this will reduce the chance of a minor issue becoming a major problem and allow the development team to get back to their scheduled tasks quicker.
13. Always test, and then again.
Software quality assurance is crucial to the success of a project. It involves testing software throughout its development lifecycle. Software that is slow, unstable, difficult to use, or full of bugs is not likely to be sold.
Software should be tested at least once per milestone. The code must be tested by a different team than the one that wrote it. Tests should not only verify that the software meets project requirements but also focus on stability, security, speed, and usability. It is important to immediately address any problems or failures in the code.
14. Recognize the value of hard work.
Software is designed to simplify complicated tasks. This is not an easy task. It is not easy to write code. A single mistake in one set of code could cause the entire application to crash. Understanding how software programs solve problems or accomplish tasks often requires deep analytical thinking. It’s easy for sales and marketing to identify a “win”, but it can be difficult to quantify it for developers.
It is important to acknowledge the achievements of the development team throughout a project. Team members who have found creative solutions to complex problems can be recognized at scheduled meetings. Invite them to demonstrate their solution or talk about how they solved the problem. To show the rest of the team how they are progressing, share your successes.
15. Regularly evaluate the project.
The software development lifecycle is broken down into a series sprints. Each sprint provides an opportunity to assess project progress. You should look at each sprint and the entire project, and not just the sprints. Focus on successes, failures, and areas for improvement. You can share your evaluations with the development team (to improve their work process) and with the wider stakeholder group (to influence how projects are developed in future).