5 Ways to Keep Your Tech Project on Track
As a business owner, there's nothing more frustrating than having your tech project go completely off the rails. Whether you're creating a new website, updating your existing website, developing an app, or adding a new feature to an online tool, failing to keep your tech project on track has both budgetary and organizational impacts.
If your timeline goes out the window, you often end up spending more money than you'd planned. Just as bad, you can also miss out on the revenue you could have earned if you'd hit the target launch date. Plus, there's a knock-on effect on anything else that depends on this particular project being completed.
The solution to all of these challenges is good planning. This guide will show you how to keep your tech project on track by creating a workable project plan and timeline.
1. Decide on Project Scope
An obvious place to start is the scope of your project. This means identifying why the project is important and what your final goal is. For example, you might want to create a one-page website as a home for a new tool so you can attract new customers.
A challenge for many tech projects is that they can seem huge and be overwhelming. To get off on the right track, break them down into smaller mini-projects. For example, if you're making an app, you could break the project down into five stages:
- Coding the app
- Designing in-app interactions
- Creating app content
- Testing the app
- Marketing the app
If each piece of a big project is a mini-project, you always feel like you're getting closer to your goals.
2. Adopt Scrum Methodology
Still on the challenge of getting projects completed, consider using Scrum methodology to complete your project. Scrum is an agile process that's often used to software development and other tech projects on track.
- Divide projects into development sprints of a few weeks. The idea is that at the end of each sprint, you have something you can integrate into the project.
- Keep scrum teams small and have a captain who is in charge of keeping the sprints focused on the original goals.
3. Set Realistic Deadlines
Another common challenge that small businesses face when they work on tech projects is having impossible deadlines. In part this is about communication, which we'll look at later. But it's also about being aware of what's actually achievable.
- Talk to the team who's actually doing the project and find out what they think they can do when.
- Build those deadlines into your project planning, using a timeline tool.
- Divide deadlines by project stage.
4. Use Project Management Software
One challenge some projects face is that there are many moving parts and it's difficult to have an overview of what the status is of everything that needs to be done on a project. A good way to address that challenge is with project management software. This type of software makes it easy for you to:
- Add, assign, and schedule tasks
- Know who is responsible for particular parts of a project
- Visualize the overall project
- Track project progress
5. Communicate and Collaborate With Shared Tools
Finally, one of the biggest pitfalls for tech projects is failure to communicate clearly and regularly. If key people don't know what's going on with a project, then it's almost impossible to keep it on track.
In fact, you end up with the famous tree swing issue, where what's communicated, what's understood, and what's delivered can be three different things.
- Use collaboration and communication tools like GSuite, Zoho, and Slack to share information. Many of these integrate well with project management apps, making it easy to have a one-stop-shop for all project information.
- Make sure everyone is using the same tools consistently, so there's one source of truth.
If your small business follows these five best practices, your next tech project is more likely to stay on track and on budget.