Efficient, effective project management.

It’s the secret behind the world’s most successful digital products.

After all, apps and websites don’t just spontaneously combust into revenue and lead generating machines.

(That’d be cool though, right?!)

So if you find yourself in the role of project manager, you have a hefty responsibility on your shoulders. You are essentially the quarterback of the project.

You are responsible for the successful delivery of the project within a specific deadline and budget. You must manage the development of the product by aligning available resources and managing issues and risks.

It’s certainly no easy task.

But that’s okay— we’ve got you covered.

Here at Caffeine, we’ve managed many successful mobile app and web development projects. And we have a deep understanding of what works…and what doesn’t.

In this article, we’ll break down seven awesome project management tips for your next development project…

…so you can lead your team more like Tom Brady—and less like Geno Smith (sorry Jets fans!).

7 Project Management Tips for Mobile and Web Development

1. Create a Detailed, Actionable Plan Before You Start

The key here is to break the project down into smaller, measurable milestones. What are the features, and when should each be ready for delivery? Which team members are responsible for each feature?

You should identify the scope of the project, define team member responsibilities, and set measurable goals to determine the project’s progress.

One of the best ways to do this (if you follow the agile methodology) is through an agile project charter. The agile project charter provides a picture of where you’re headed, why you’re going there, who will be impacted, the most prevalent risks, and who is going to help you. It’s a high-level initiation document, no more than a few pages long, that will be out in the open and easily accessible to all members of your team (so they can reference it).

It has four main components:

  • The Project Vision: The “Why”
  • The Project Mission: The “What”
  • The Team: The “Who”
  • Success Criteria: The set of goals for the team to use when they need to work through issues or differing expectations.

2. Orchestrate a Well-Structured Kickoff Meeting

The kickoff meeting sets the foundation of the project. It’s a meeting between the main sponsor of the project, the product owner, the project manager, the members of the development team

It’s also the best opportunity for you to energize and motivate your team.

Your main goals with the kickoff meeting are to align the team with the project objectives, and discuss any misunderstandings or issues regarding the project.

Here’s a basic rundown of what you should cover:

  • The purpose of the project
  • Deliverables and goals
  • Key success factors of the project
  • The communication plan
  • The project plan.

3. Use Project Management Software

To make management easier, you should manage your projects with a centralized source of information for your team to access. After all, you don’t want developers wondering whether a feature is finished.

The solution? Project management software.

Project management software allows your team to remain connected while working on the project.They’ll get things done faster, and avoid unnecessary confusion.

Basecamp and Trello are two great project management software solutions—and they both offer free trials, so give them a try.

4. Be Assertive

There is no room to be passive as a project manager. Avoid sitting back and hoping for a problem to disappear. Instead, be diligent and assertive.

Address critical issues the moment you become aware of them—so you can settle them before things get out of hand. Whether it’s a lack of productivity, inner-team conflict, or anything else that can potentially derail the project, make sure to step in and speak with all parties involved and encourage an honest and direct conversation.

5. Communicate Clearly

It’s crucial to communicate needs and expectation with designers and developers. This can be difficult, because project managers and designers and developers come from different spectrums. Project managers are more often “idea people,” while designers and developers are more technical.

Focus on communicating the right idea, and paint a clear picture of the software solution that you want design/developers to create.

6. Focus on One Project Milestone at a Time

It’s easy to get ahead of yourself, especially if the project garners success in its early stages. You may be tempted to move on to later aspects of the project before the fundamentals are completed.

But this can be very damaging to a successful project. Think about it: you wouldn’t develop the seating of your restaurant before the kitchen— so you shouldn’t develop the frontend of your software before the backend.

The key is to achieve small goals, while staying focused on the bigger picture.

7. Test Deliverables Prior to Release

Avoid rushing through the project. You should test every deliverable in your project before its release (yes, even the small ones!). When it comes to mobile and web development, even a small mistake can cost far more to fix after release than prior to release.

So, make sure to budget testing into your project’s timelines.

The objective is to find bugs and glitches in your software or issues with your product.

Conclusion

Effective project management is often the difference between a successful mobile app or website that achieves its business goals, and a mediocre app or website that may not even make it to the launching stage.

It’s a complex process, but if you do the things listed above, you’ll increase the chance that your app or website is developed on time and within budget—and you’ll give it the best chance at success.

What project management difficulties have you faced when building mobile apps or websites? Do you want help managing/developing your next mobile or web project? We’d love to help you out! Contact us today.

Dustin DeVries

Dustin DeVries

Living and breathing software strategy and architecture, Dustin has been building software for over 20 years. He really enjoys working with clients to determine the right technology, whether it’s a web application framework like Django or NodeJS, or a simple CMS solution like WordPress. He received his BS in Computer Engineering from Texas A&M University.During his spare time, Dustin enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, playing guitar, running, and hanging out with his family.