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Project Management Secrets:

     A Disciplined Approach to
    Developing Small Plone Sites
What makes a
    successful project?
• Delivering a project on time
• Delivering a project within scope
• Cleanliness of i...
Guidelines
•   Do the paperwork!!

•   Scope consistently for all clients

•   Review project status frequently

•   Minim...
Document your project (1)

•   Write functional specifications someone else can
    understand

•   Do this BEFORE design s...
Document your project (2)

•   Update your project database with any status
    changes (in design, implementing, ready fo...
Scoping:
Be consistent
Scoping Components (1)

•   Complexity of design

    •   Custom home page vs a single design

    •   Overall level of tw...
Scoping Components (2)
•   Selection of products

    •   Use a consistent set of proven, stable products

    •   Or, bil...
Scoping Components (3)

•   Previous history with a client

    •   Increase scope time for needy / difficult clients

    ...
Scoping Components (4)
•   Time spent on the project

    •   Each phase of the project is allotted an
        estimated, ...
Billing:
        Flat rate vs hourly
•   Hard to quote on a flat rate basis

•   Unknowns

    •   Client responsiveness / ...
Scoping Components (3)
• Example $7,000 ONE/NW project:
      Project intake: 3 hours
      Design: 10-12 hours
      Site...
How and when to bill
•   3 Phase Billing System = Engagement

    •   First bill due when project commences

    •   Secon...
Project Status:
Review it frequently
Project Status:
       Self-Organization
• Find a system that works for you
  • iGTD has changed my life
  • Basecamp for ...
Project Status:
         Use a Database
• ONE/NW uses Salesforce
  • Can create an account and multiple
       opportuniti...
Project Status:
    Basecamp Checklists
• Better for recording minor details, not
    milestones

    •   Website project ...
Client To-Dos Checklist

•   Clients are often overwhelmed by the number of
    checklist items in Basecamp

•   Generally...
Go Live Checklist
•   Often seems like there is a backlog at this phase

•   Time constraints are also tight

•   Need to ...
Correspondence &
 Communication:
  Write it down!
Keeping track of client
          conversations
• Important details should be captured -- with date,
  time, persons invol...
Minimize Handoffs /
    Disconnects
Handoffs:
    Internal and external
•   We have outside designers and outside skinners

•   Internal handoffs from strateg...
Follow Through and
Finish Those Lingering
        Details!
Check in with the client
• Constant review, reminder of scope
  agreement
• Make sure they review and approve the site
• P...
Wrap up
• Remember to invoice
• Provide documentation, esp. for special
  features
• Test the site thoroughly and ask for
...
Postmortem
• Ask client for feedback.
• Use a form with quantifiable questions, and
  leave room for additional comments
• ...
Process Improvements
• Do a better job of analyzing metrics
• Long-term follow-up with client
• Improve scoping estimates ...
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Veda Williams Project Management Secrets A Disciplined Approach To Developing Small Plone Sites

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Attendees will learn agile, effective ways to manage development of small Plone sites. It will address writing scopes that accurately reflect the amount of work involved in the project (pricing, timeline, the important questions to ask). It will cover how to document functionality to cover design considerations and reduce vagueness. It will address how to work with designers and skinners to make sure they have the information they need to effectively create and implement the design. It will cover easy ways to keep track of a project over time and to allow consistency from one project to another. And, it will address the pitfalls of handoffs from one person to another and how to handle scope creep.

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
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Transcript of "Veda Williams Project Management Secrets A Disciplined Approach To Developing Small Plone Sites "

  1. 1. Project Management Secrets: A Disciplined Approach to Developing Small Plone Sites
  2. 2. What makes a successful project? • Delivering a project on time • Delivering a project within scope • Cleanliness of implementation • Quantifiable results • Personal satisfaction? • Client happiness / engagement?
  3. 3. Guidelines • Do the paperwork!! • Scope consistently for all clients • Review project status frequently • Minimize handoffs / disconnects • Follow through and finish lingering details • Ask for feedback and take it to heart • Do proper, ongoing postmortems
  4. 4. Document your project (1) • Write functional specifications someone else can understand • Do this BEFORE design starts and get signoff from the client before starting • Document exactly what will and will not be covered by the scope - products to install, # of design revs. • Take notes on any important conversations, and keep those in front of you during the project
  5. 5. Document your project (2) • Update your project database with any status changes (in design, implementing, ready for invoicing) • Review checklists regularly to make sure all to-dos are being addressed • Log your hours consistently
  6. 6. Scoping: Be consistent
  7. 7. Scoping Components (1) • Complexity of design • Custom home page vs a single design • Overall level of tweaking required to make the design work in Plone • How deep do you want to go with a client? • Write work orders for additional design revs
  8. 8. Scoping Components (2) • Selection of products • Use a consistent set of proven, stable products • Or, bill for innovation • Difficulty of implementation of products
  9. 9. Scoping Components (3) • Previous history with a client • Increase scope time for needy / difficult clients • Risky and hard to quantify
  10. 10. Scoping Components (4) • Time spent on the project • Each phase of the project is allotted an estimated, reproducible number of hours • Build extra time into project management phase • Price yourself competitively and realistically
  11. 11. Billing: Flat rate vs hourly • Hard to quote on a flat rate basis • Unknowns • Client responsiveness / neediness • Snag in implementation • Scope creep • Repeatability can be overestimated • Helps to have a ballpark “flat rate” which also takes into account hourly estimates
  12. 12. Scoping Components (3) • Example $7,000 ONE/NW project: Project intake: 3 hours Design: 10-12 hours Site buildout: 2 hours Project Management: 10 hours Training: 5 hours Implementation: 12 hours Evaluation / QA: 10 hours Site launch: 1 hour Total hours: 50 • Project is probably underscoped • How to track staff training time?
  13. 13. How and when to bill • 3 Phase Billing System = Engagement • First bill due when project commences • Second bill when design is complete • Third bill when implementation is complete
  14. 14. Project Status: Review it frequently
  15. 15. Project Status: Self-Organization • Find a system that works for you • iGTD has changed my life • Basecamp for small details • File your email -- every day • Review your list of projects every day and prioritize • Hold “stand-up” meetings with colleagues to relay status and identify problems / needs
  16. 16. Project Status: Use a Database • ONE/NW uses Salesforce • Can create an account and multiple opportunities • Can track almost any detail you want, from training to timesheets • Can see a project timeline, up against other concurrent projects • Reusable templates
  17. 17. Project Status: Basecamp Checklists • Better for recording minor details, not milestones • Website project start • Client To-Dos • Design • Implementation • Go-Live • Focus: Client To-Dos and Go Live stages
  18. 18. Client To-Dos Checklist • Clients are often overwhelmed by the number of checklist items in Basecamp • Generally pull these items out of Basecamp and work through them via email or telephone
  19. 19. Go Live Checklist • Often seems like there is a backlog at this phase • Time constraints are also tight • Need to move some of the tasks from this phase earlier into the process
  20. 20. Correspondence & Communication: Write it down!
  21. 21. Keeping track of client conversations • Important details should be captured -- with date, time, persons involved so that scope creep can be tracked • Additional people on a project need to stay informed • Extra insurance in case someone leaves a project mid-way • File these in a central repository, i.e. on a shared server, in a folder specifically for that opportunity
  22. 22. Minimize Handoffs / Disconnects
  23. 23. Handoffs: Internal and external • We have outside designers and outside skinners • Internal handoffs from strategists to PMs • Be consistent in what you give people during a handoff • Formal introduction • Design survey • Wireframe / Site map
  24. 24. Follow Through and Finish Those Lingering Details!
  25. 25. Check in with the client • Constant review, reminder of scope agreement • Make sure they review and approve the site • Push for training • Check the deliverable against the scope • Suggest a work order / phase two for additional changes
  26. 26. Wrap up • Remember to invoice • Provide documentation, esp. for special features • Test the site thoroughly and ask for assistance • Change DNS settings and test again! • Celebrate the launch with them!
  27. 27. Postmortem • Ask client for feedback. • Use a form with quantifiable questions, and leave room for additional comments • Analyze stats over time to gauge improvement / reduced effectiveness
  28. 28. Process Improvements • Do a better job of analyzing metrics • Long-term follow-up with client • Improve scoping estimates to properly account for consistent overages • Communicate with clients more effectively • Do more face-to-face communication, esp. for training • Get more eyes on a project
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