Our Specialist Project Management areas such as ISO13485 are shown on the right
Specialist Management Areas…
Software and IT projects in general have had a poor reputation for late delivery, high costs and dubious quality. A lot has changed over the past few years in the software industry – mainly driven by the speed of the web and constant demand from users for new functionality.
At Webopius, we LOVE managing technology projects and we run them with a conviction that borders on the obsessive. You don’t even have to use us for the whole project – if you just want solid, capable management of your existing project, team and suppliers, we can help. It may sound far too simple, but the way we run any project is based around these basic rules:
- Understand the scope
- Break the project down into clear, achievable, timeboxed tasks
- If it’s software, deliver working prototypes early, deliver wireframes earlier
- Track and Communicate progress
- Test, test, test
- Use proven, off the shelf components where at all possible
- Build in capability for change
All of our Project Managers are now certified at PRINCE2 Practitioner level.
Understand the scope
Absolutely vital but often overlooked. State clearly exactly what the project should and shouldn’t deliver. Often called the ‘requirements phase’ or ‘requirements gathering’ in more formal quality systems but can be just as simple as a clearly defined list of deliverables.
Webopius project managers spend time understanding your project brief. This is the stage to get creative and brainstorm ideas for your project – the more the better. We help you evaluate each one in terms of potential impact – benefits to your business and users, time, resource, cost, complexity.
For an online project, this is the stage to consider the functionality and size of your site – user projections, static pages, dynamic pages, content management, workflow, e-commerce, user geographies, SEO, social networking, groups, blogs, forums and more specialist functionality.
At the end of this stage you have a working software contract. It states your project’s objectives and measures of success.
Break the project down into clear, achievable, timeboxed tasks
Every problem can be solved if you break it down into smaller solvable tasks. This is just as relevant to software projects. We won’t name names, but many a software project has milestones entitled ‘design database’, ‘implement store’, ‘user admin’ with vast voids of impenetrable development magic taking place between dates that span months.
4 weeks is the goal.
When we manage projects, we try and set fixed time periods (timeboxes) of 4 weeks or less to achieve specific tasks. Scrum developers call this the ‘sprint’. The team determines the time period and at the end, we try and deliver useable software. Each timebox adds incremental functionality to the product, allows the team and your company to see value. Quickly.
If it’s software, deliver working prototypes early, deliver wireframes earlier
You’ve seen from timeboxing above that when we manage projects, the goal is to deliver functionality early. The cost of changing something is far less if feedback is given early. Ideally, issues will be spotted at the scoping phase but sometimes you can’t beat actually seeing something to be able to give feedback.
Wireframes also play a valuable role in our project management toolkit. Before writing a line of code, we will work with you team to create sketches and graphic prototypes of your product. You can refine, comment, adjust, tweak and play until you are happy with the look, feel and functionality.
Webopius Project Tracking
Track and Communicate progress
Arguably the most important aspect and the one we really get obsessive about. If Webopius are running one of your projects, we make sure we track every key task and communicate this to your team and senior management.
You will get your own private project area on our website and will have LIVE access to your project dashboard [example shown].
Every week, we get the team together and review progress. We set the objectives for the week and get feedback from the team on successes and failures. More importantly, the plan gets updated and we create an agile approach to delivery.
Every two weeks (or more frequently if you wish), we will present an update your senior managers and SHOW THEM the project as it progresses gaining valuable immediate feedback.
We use Google Docs as a core platform for this feature which means the data is available for you securely from any web browser.
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Project Dashboard Gauge
Test, test, test
At every stage of the project, we quality assure. Not just at the end of the project and not just after code has been written. Quality is the whole team’s responsibility – the developers build as many checks into their code as possible and build it for maintainability. The developers are also involved in the quality process across as many environments and numbers of users as possible.
Use proven, off the shelf components where at all possible
Bespoke costs. In the software world, building your own code is rewarding and can give you a competitive edge in certain cases but it takes time and can often be incredibly complex.
At Webopius, we approach things from another angle. We look for off the shelf, successful products that meet most of your requirements – then we tailor, mould and enhance them to perform exactly as you’d expect.
The advantage is that we’ve built up decades of experience in products such as WordPress, Xigla Absolute news manager, ASPDotNetStorefront, Drupal, SQLServer, MySQL and many other content management and e-commerce platforms. We know their strengths, we know how to integrate them, we know how to make them look unique and we know which product to select when.
When project managing for you, we will always look for the most efficient, timely and cost effective solution to your needs and the first place we look is for proven, robust yet enhanceable products.
Build in capability for change
Change is often shunned but in the technology world you have to embrace it. If you build a website, expect it to need a refresh every six months or so. Even if it’s just a case of updating the database, content management system, e-commerce platform or look and feel – it will need updating.
Our project managers work with the developers to plan for change from the start. We look at all the potential change elements and build the system to cater for as much of these changes as possible. Templates are used, Skins are used, common areas for libraries, database access layers, stored procedures, CSS style sheets and plugin components.
Webopius project management can help…
If you are currently running (or want to run) a web, software or general IT project, talk to us. We are happy to be involved at any level – from a simple opinion to complete life-cycle management of a project.