Why use a Project Manager for your Software Development Project?
At Strides Empower we want our customers’ project to run smoothly, be delivered on time and within the agreed budget.
Sometimes, the reality is that projects can overrun — a recent survey suggests that only just over a third of projects stay within their original budget! So while your software project could still be a success without a Project Manager, we have learnt that it’s really not worth taking the risk. In this article we discuss the key roles and responsibilities and the importance of using a Project Manager for your software development project.
For us at Strides Empower, Project Management is about …
‘Gathering and managing all the experts together and getting projects delivered as promised, so the developers assigned to your project can concentrate on coding and less on management’ — Strides Empower.
Strides Empower have our own in-house Project Managers who will manage the work and performance of individuals and teams of developers on a daily basis. The Project Manager assigned to your project defines the requirements of your project, builds the project team, lays out a clear strategy for the whole project including the project scope and parameters. They clearly communicate the goals of the project to the team working on your project; the targets to be achieved, will allot budget to the various tasks to be completed and ensures that the expectations of the customer are met through timely completion of the project. Our Project Managers are highly analytical, organised, able to delegate and communicate effectively across all parties.
Project Management is important because it brings leadership and direction to our Customers’ project. It provides a clear focus and vision, ensures motivation of the development team, removes any roadblocks, and inspires the development team to do their best work!
Scrum — not the method of restarting play in rugby, a sport we love here at Strides Empower, but a term we use as the framework for project management that emphasises teamwork, accountability and iterative progress toward a well-defined goal. The framework begins with a simple premise: Start with what can be seen or known. After that, track the progress and tweak as necessary. Scrum describes a set of meetings, tools, and roles that work together to help our development teams structure and manage their work.
So how effective can our Project Manager’s be for your project?
Let me share a short example of a Customers’ project we worked on — They initially asked us for three senior full-stack dedicated developers. When we started work on their project, our strategy included setting up their small development team and as the project grew, we planned to scale the team up.
The team started very efficiently, but after about a month our developers started to face a few small management issues, as on the Customer’s side there wasn’t a main product owner. Our developers found themselves creating tasks, managing them, communicating back to the client as as well as working to meet their own deadlines.
So we made a strategic decision to add one of our experienced Project Managers to this team, to facilitate the work process as well as manage and communicate on a daily basis with the Customer. This allowed our developers to concentrate on what’s important for them — architecture, coding, and debugging.
The average cost of an effective mid-range developer starts from £23 per hour and can go up to £100 per hour. Whereas, the cost of a Senior Project Manager who can manage multiple projects at the same time (depending on the complexity) is around £20–25 per hour (if you use them on a dedicated team basis it can be even more cost-effective for you), so looking at the maths — it doesn’t make sense and isn’t cost effective to spend hours of your developers’ time managing the project on their own, assigning and creating tasks rather than focusing on what they are expert at doing — coding.
The importance of having a Project Manger on your project is crucial for the projects’ success and benefits the overall cost and efficiency of your project.
‘Let the Coders code and Project Managers manage the project’ says our Senior Full-Stack Developer Ihor.
At Strides Empower, we pride ourselves on ensuring our Project Managers support our Customers and their Projects in the following ways:
Talk your Talk in Software Speak
If you’re not up on all the latest technical jargon, this can make communicating directly with a software developer a lot more difficult, as you might find yourself buried in unfamiliar terminology — our Project Managers will communicate to you in layman’s terms. Keeping you updated on progress and provide you with answers in a way that makes sense, this helps communicating your vision all the more straight forward.
Whether we are planning your new e-Commerce site or a mobile app, clearly mapping out all of the details can be a time consuming and often a daunting task. Our Project Managers are experienced planners for a wide range of software projects! They know all the key questions that need to be asked to steer your project on the right path. Our Project Managers have experience of working on many projects — they may even ask about an aspect you have not thought about.
Your assigned Project Manager will work with you to see that your budget provides its maximum potential. As such, you should be able to achieve your business project for a price that fits your budget.
Managing your Project
With any development process, we know our expert software developers are more skilled in development and coding than developing a cohesive timeline or communication plan. This is why we recommend that your project is headed up by a Project Manager, so they can spend time planning and managing the daily project tasks (if you have more than one project, they can look after a couple of projects at the same time)— leaving you more time to focus on running your business.
Of course, a project could run without a Project Manager — however, you’ll be spending your valuable time communicating with the senior developer assigned to your project.
A Project Manager will be your consistent point of contact throughout your projects’ development. They will schedule regular call times to discuss your project, provide updates, and ensure everything is on track.
On average, larger IT project can exceed their budget by over 40%! In many cases, going over budget results from changes in project expectations. Also, failure to complete on the project in a timely manner can significantly impact a projects’ overall budget.
Our experienced Project Managers will work for you, to keep track of spending and time — they act as a designated timekeeper, ensuring that every aspect of your project continues to move along as needed. They are also responsible for verifying that you have given your approval for any functional additions or extra time that needs to be spent on your project.
Managing the Scope
At the outset, your Project Manager will clearly define the scope of your project with you and your agreed budget. Sometimes, aspects will need to be changed throughout the development process, to ensure that your project meets your business and budget goals. So, as well as controlling your projects’ timeline and budget, the scope of your project will need to be controlled too. Our Project Managers ensure that all aspects of your project — namely the resources, cost, and project delivery date — are in-line and set to provide your expected end product. If any of these aspects change, your Project Manager will do what’s necessary to maintain the overall projects’ scope.
Resolve any Issues
There may be an issue which needs addressing throughout the duration of your project for example; an unplanned issue with the software itself or a software developer leaving in the middle of the project — at times like these you may find yourself suddenly playing ‘problem-solver’.
Our Project Managers are expert problem solvers —They will keep you informed and always suggest a solution or fix — keeping the process as smooth and problem free as possible. So you have more time to focus on those important tasks for your business.
Ongoing support and maintenance are often a necessity in order to keep your software in great condition. Your Project Manager can assist with planning for future work that needs to be scheduled. Our Project Managers, can look after these ongoing tasks for you — once they have worked on your initial project, they can routinely keep track of future updates, bug fixes, or changes which need to be implemented, and ensure that maintenance is done in a timely manner.
At Strides Empower, we work closely with our Customers and value feedback at every stage, helping shape your projects’ direction and ensure a successful outcome.
Michaela Moore — Operations Manager.