My tech and me: Online project management

Lawrence Jones

Friday 13 March 2015

For over 10 years, I’ve been working with individuals and teams to create digital solutions. From websites to apps, the key to a great product is in a great brief and continued interaction with the development team throughout the process. It’s about being agile.

In the beginning, I attended first-time client meetings equipped with a flipchart, a pack of Sharpies and a selection of coloured Post-its. We would work through their requirements, sketching out a concept and the user journey as we went.

This would result in a brief which we would sign off, then go our separate ways – coming together at certain points in the process to review, refresh and reappraise.

But not any more.

Using the power of the cloud, online development tools like Basecamp and Redbooth, among others, ensure that my clients are thoroughly involved every step of the way, improving efficiency, reducing bureaucracy and guaranteeing satisfaction.

Brief

As a project manager, creating a good brief involves balancing two perspectives – those of the client and those of the developer. Sometimes they can be perfectly in tune, and other times diametrically opposed. When the going gets tough, each can retreat into silos, leaving the project lead high and dry.

Online development platforms enable real-time communication exchange and progress updates. Neither side has any excuse for missing information, or for misunderstanding. Changes to the brief can be quickly and clearly made by all participants, keeping the brief relevant and to the point. It also helps developers keep track of scope-creep and the inevitable pressure on the budget, enabling this to be tackled head on and in a transparent way.

Development

Online project management solutions, if used properly, can serve as an comprehensive means to provide a snapshot of progress for the client, with clear development timescales and milestones.

It’s about making the complex development process comprehensible to those who don’t readily understand it. If done well, it can ensure the whole team works harmoniously.

Testing

Notes scrawled on pieces of paper, a phone call and even an email can be missed or lost. With a cloud solution, the client is in control, ensuring that every comment makes an indelible mark. As well as providing an audit trail, customers can be confident there are no excuses for comments to go missing or be missed.

When it comes to testing, online solutions can power collaboration, discussion and development. As new iterations are delivered, online collaborative workspaces are an essential means for both processing and understanding the wishes of the client, refining these into actionable tasks for the development team.