IT project management

    Management, as a technical process, is the main and integral factor in the development of projects. In the vast majority of cases, hiring an experienced manager for startups is difficult - the services of a worthy specialist are not cheap, and it will be difficult for outsiders to trust an outsider at an early stage. Therefore, as a rule, the project participants themselves are engaged in management.

    On a habr there are a lot of topics on specific aspects of project management. But the basics of management have not yet been covered.

    Let's try to close this gap.

    The main, most important points are briefly identified, highlighted and explained.

    UPD A post about management, not about managers.

    • How to manage
    • Main management process
    • No delegation? And this is good
    • Small combat sabotage group
    • System analysis
    • Divide et empera
    • Logging
    • Assessment of multiple and implicit factors
    • Time as the main factor
    • Two in one

    How to manage

    Management is management. In our case, project management.
    It is clear that project management is work on its components.

    Main management process

    The manager works with processes. Processes are an integral part of projects.

    The process can be single or continuous, but iterative in any case. This means that each process has cyclic properties - it can easily be repeated, and even to start a new process, it is possible to apply the accumulated experience - academic methods, personal experience, the experience of colleagues and so on.
    • Before the start of the process, it is necessary to formalize the source data and highlight the goals.
    • The analysis step is optional. It is carried out, depending on the scale and price of the process. If the process is expensive, all the source data is detailed, the information is supplemented by diagrams and summaries.
    • At the planning stage, methods for solving the problem are selected, and it is determined how the process will be implemented.
    • To ensure the correctness of acceptance, at the planning stage, a checklist is compiled - a list of criteria that clearly makes it clear that the project is completed.
    • Naturally, the contractor should have access to the maximum amount of information associated with the process in which he is involved - the source data, goals and requirements in the checklist.
    • If the process is not continuous, it can be completed upon achieving the goals.
    • When the process is repeated, the results of the previous iteration are added to the initial data.

    No delegation? And this is good

    One of the most popular and at the same time controversial methods of traditional management is delegation. There is a ton of academic information on how, to whom, and when to assign assignments.

    In a start-up environment, delegation is generally not generally understood. Too little money, too few people.

    As a rule, there are few direct participants in a newborn project. Hiring outside experts is expensive, and also fraught with information leakage and additional time costs.

    Therefore, to ensure the effectiveness of management (successful project management), it is advisable to pay more attention to other available methods:
    - system analysis;
    - interactive control;
    - Management of risks.

    Small combat sabotage group

    In fact, working in a limited resource environment is more effective.

    1. Excessive resources dampen
    2. In a small group, communication is shorter and more efficient
    3. A small group is easier to set up for a target
    4. In a small group, processes are more effectively controlled
    5. In a small group it is easier to protect trade secrets

    Strong corporations such as Google use the small group method to solve almost all key tasks. A team of interested specialists who works on the project is highlighted. As experience shows, tasks are being solved, and projects are being "shot".

    Do not be shy about the small size of your team. Generally, no complexes! Only enthusiasm, only objectivism.

    System analysis

    Thanks to the method of system analysis, small working groups solve complex problems. And they do it quickly and cheaply.

    I do not urge you to create tons of hard-to-read documentation. But using even some basic techniques will give your project life. These methods are:
    - separation of tasks into subtasks;
    - allocation of subprojects;
    - record (logging) of everything.

    The objectives of system analysis are as follows:
    - obtaining a transparent and obvious presentation of all the details of the project;
    - identification of potential bottlenecks;
    - identification of hidden factors, especially costs;
    - coordination of tactical and strategic vision between all project participants .

    Divide et empera

    “Divide and rule,” the ancient rulers bequeathed to us. And to this day, this project management technique is one of the most effective.

    The technique of dividing tasks into subtasks can be used both for developing a work plan, and for analyzing other aspects and situations.

    For each analytical element, for each factor and subtask, three questions are formalized: goal, objects and methods. The scale, importance and complexity of the task are evaluated. If the task is complex, large-scale or critical - it is divided into subtasks or allocated to a separate project.

    Simple is the task, which contains obviously few details. From here it is easy to get the opposite thesis - any task that is not recognized as simple must be recognized as complex, and undergo separation.

    It is perfectly normal when the content of the project is revised as a result of the development of an action plan.


    It makes sense to record everything and always. In a text editor, in the evernote or in specialized software - it does not matter. The main thing is to record, and regularly inquire that all key participants in the project are aware of the records.

    Everything was written down not only by Stalin, but also by all the advanced scientists, entrepreneurs and ascetics.
    Dana Scully recorded in detail on the recorder the process of opening the aliens, and notes on the investigations. If at some point you become bored with writing, remember her.

    Assessment of multiple and implicit factors

    When assessing risks, as well as choosing strategic and tactical decisions, it is necessary to evaluate unknown, implicit or complex (multicomponent) factors.

    As part of a low-budget startup, it is difficult, and often just pointless, to carry out examinations. For decision-making, there are quite effective low-cost techniques.

    One of these techniques is the use of weighting estimates.

    A table is compiled. Horizontal - solution options, including hypothetical ones. Vertical - factors. Subjective assessments are put down in the cells - the degree to which factors influence the effectiveness of the decision in question.
    You can use the results in different ways, summing up scores in different directions and according to different principles, find the average, etc. In this way, you can evaluate both methodologies and choices in a variety of situations.

    This method is also one of the means of resolving disagreements between project participants. Controversial options for resolving a problematic issue are meticulously detailed, a questionnaire is prepared from the abstracts and questions, and each of the participants fills in its own version. It is not difficult to identify the leading option, and the participants will most likely agree with the expediency of its choice.

    Time as the main factor

    Calling something “expensive,” the programmer implies the cost of resources on a machine or network. Likewise, an IT project manager means time. Literally, time is the main dimension for which estimates of the type “expensive” or “acceptable” can be applied.

    If your project requires tens of thousands of dollars of software, or is it a game project where you need to pay thousands of designers' work, this is not so scary. As part of the analysis of the investment project, these costs can be estimated, and adequately compared with profit.

    But the most expensive waste, and one of the most serious troubles that can happen to the project, will be time lag.

    This issue was disclosed in detail in a post on risk management .

    Everywhere and always it makes sense for the project manager to look for ways and means of saving time. This will serve as an assessment of priorities, and a deeper analysis in order to find bottlenecks and actually minimize labor costs, planning and monitoring work at different levels and other actions.

    A good way to manage and optimize time costs is phasing, and possibly a faster opening of the project on a smaller scale, with an eye to further development. In fact, in almost any plan, some of the actions can be transferred from preparatory to combat, or under another pretext - simply postponed. To save the most expensive - time.

    Two in one

    Preparatory measures and the project in working mode are two different projects!

    Naturally, working with them makes sense individually. Naturally, at first it makes sense to design the second, and only then - the first. In the vast majority of startups, extra actions are taken, extra expenses. And they are not so difficult to reduce - if you first focus on the question "what do we want to have," and only then - "how do we want to get it."

    While there is no project, all actions, before profitability, relate to the first part. When the project works, all actions relate to the second. Naturally, different mechanisms work at the same time, completely different specifics, therefore, it is necessary to work with these stages in different ways.

    Marketing and business model, of course, belong to the second part. Most of iterative costs (including advertising and technical support) can also be attributed there.

    The package of actions required from zero to the opening of the project is in the first part.

    By the way, it is easy to distinguish an experienced IT entrepreneur from an amateur. Experts in banks and investment funds often use this method as well.

    Experienced usually does not allow gaps in the presentation, and has a clear vision of an already working project. The description of the business model cannot be limited to one or two sentences, because he already knows the mass of details of his and competitive projects, as well as the specifics of the industry.

    Inexperienced always focus on the actions associated with the opening of the project, but have a broad understanding of the further development of the project and the normal mode of its operation.
    For example, here are some of the differences in the subject area, showing the difference between the stage projects:
    Preparatory workMain process
    Software purchase or programmingTechnical Support
    DesignBusiness model, revenue plan and expense plan
    Research, first marketing and advertising planningMarketing and implementation of an advertising plan
    Determination of the composition of specialistsPHOT

    Both processes have iterative features and common objective features, but at the same time have a lot of differences.

    An expert whose opinion may be taken into account by an investor will be interested in the following.
    • Separate cost estimates for two phases
    • Separate time estimates (time to get the prototype, alpha, beta, discovery, time to profitability)
    • Assessment of the business model and its detailed parameters
    • Estimating the costs of marketing and advertising before the opening of the project and in the process

    The calendar schedule is usually compiled in quarters.
    In the process of business planning, it makes sense to try to predict the development of the project at least 1-2 years in advance. But that is another topic.

    Maybe something is missing? Let me know - I will write in the following topics.

    Thank you and good luck to you!

    Also popular now: