IT project management tools. Part I
In each IT project, tools for task management, communication and improvement of programming work are used. The main purpose of using these tools is to increase the efficiency of work through, inter alia, improving communication, minimizing the number of errors, controlling the stages of the project and schedule, or increasing the quality of the written code. In today's post, we will focus on the methodologies used in project management.
25th August 2022
IT projects are extremely diverse. There are many differences that make them require an appropriate approach to their management, but there are also many similarities that make it possible for us to use commonly available tools for management, merely by mapping the specifics of a particular project onto the overall project delivery scheme.
Project management aims to organise and optimise software and application development processes. In the past, many IT companies did not realise the importance of project management. There were also times when companies did not have specialists such as a Project Manager.
Essentially, the company based its work on the programmer or team of programmers and the client. They were the ones who communicated with each other, discussed requirements, workflow, etc. This organisation of work had many disadvantages, as the programmers had to deal with multiple processes instead of performing direct tasks. As a result, they often faced work overload, low productivity and missed deadlines.
Although the situation is different today, customers of software development companies do not know which process management approach fits best in their case. So if you are a business owner or a startup, this post is for you, as it contains a lot of information about the most popular project management techniques and methodologies and which tools to use in which methodology.
The most commonly used project management methodologies.
Although the methodologies listed below differ in working style and key functions, they all focus on delivering a high quality outcome.
1. AGILE - an agile project management methodology
is an IT project methodology that primarily provides flexibility. It focuses primarily on meeting ever-changing requirements and continuously improving the work. This approach to project organisation makes it possible to divide a complex project into small programming tasks and short cycles (sprints). At the end of each sprint, the team reassesses the work done and, if necessary, sets new development priorities based on the results.
Thanks to the Agile method, the team is always in contact with the client and is ready to provide progress reports, receive feedback and meet new requirements. In addition, the client can actively participate in the development process, so project control increases due to frequent meetings and constant communication.
2. The Scrum method
is an Agile-based methodology that has similar goals, but differs in its strong focus on teamwork. The so-called product owner is responsible for the entire product development process and the end result. This person has to think like a business analyst, a marketer, a customer and an end user in order to meet the customer's requirements.
Scrum is based on six basic elements:
The principle of transparency, control and adaptation is key. The principle of transparency means that every participant is free to observe every Scrum process. Project control involves getting feedback and validation of results from the customer and using a common whiteboard to organise and track the workflow. Adaptation processes generally involve frequent Scrum meetings, risk management and product changes.
Time boxing. At the end of each sprint, the team must complete the planned amount of work and get it ready for customer review. If the customer approves the results, the team will receive further instructions for the next sprint.
Scrum focuses on people, as the quality of work depends primarily on the overall performance of the team. Daily meetings help monitor the team's progress and keep each member motivated.
Specialists organise the team work themselves. If someone leaves the team for any reason, another team member or a group of specialists can replace him or her without losing productivity.
The team prioritises tasks based on their business value. In order to meet the client's requirements, the team must first provide the highest-priority functions.
Large projects are broken down into smaller tasks. This helps to establish clear responsibilities for each team member and define the most efficient ways to implement changes
is another popular Agile platform that emphasises the importance of a continuous workflow, taking into account the capacity of the team and the transparency of processes between its members.
The primary tool here is the Kanban board - a space where teams and the customer can see the progress of tasks.
Kanban principles in the product development process are as follows:
A list of work processes, columns and lines on the Kanban board. These elements cover the entire scope of work that needs to be done. They also allow you to check the status of tasks and the progress of each specialist in the project.
Work In Progress (WIP) limits define the amount of work that a team can complete based on its capacity.
Organising Kanban tasks allows the team to continually develop, test and deliver new functionality.
4. Extreme Programming (XP)
is a methodology that focuses on improving software quality and increasing responsiveness to changing requirements. Essentially, XP refers to traditional software development practices, except that they are taken to extreme levels in terms of speed of execution. Extreme programming aims to reduce the costs and other resources associated with programming by eliminating unproductive activities and shortening programming cycles.
The most important technique here is paracch programming, which means that two programmers work together on the same computer. One of them writes the code and the other checks each code string as soon as it is ready. After a while, they swap roles to increase productivity and code quality.
incorporates all the basic principles of Agile. However, the most distinctive features of Lean focus on the following principles:
Anything that is not of value to the customer and users is considered wasteful. This could be extra features that have not been discussed, delays, defects, etc.
Making decisions as late as possible. The team needs to make decisions based on current performance, not assumptions or forecasts.
Deliver as quickly as possible. This principle applies to having the right people in the team, simplicity of requirements and technical solutions, quality of the building, etc.
is the traditional approach to project management. As the name suggests, the development process has to proceed like a waterfall, with all the steps to be completed in a well-defined order. A general list of Waterfall processes includes requirements analysis, design, implementation, validation and software maintenance.
The main principles of Waterfall are:
requirements and dependencies must be established before the programming process begins,
management must have metrics and documentation,
quality should have a higher priority than speed,
the next stage cannot start until all tasks at a specific stage of the project have been completed,
How to choose the right methodology?
Although the methods listed are different, they have been developed to ensure high quality projects by reducing development costs, managing resources efficiently, reducing risks, etc. The choice of method depends on the project and the client's priorities.
Therefore, the client and the project manager should keep two points in mind:
Project evaluation. Here, questions such as "What is the size of the project?", "How complex is it?", "Will there be any changes or experiments?" are important. We need to answer these clearly and before starting the project.
Identify priorities. While some PM models focus on processes, tasks and risks, others focus on people, teamwork, resources and productivity. Decide what is most important to you.
Whatever IT project management methodology you choose, it is important to choose the right tools. In the following post, we present a list of these systematised according to the objectives they serve. It can be said that no two IT projects are identical, so choosing the most appropriate methodology and tools is not easy. Since DevsPower's specialists work on different types, sizes and complexity of projects, we have decided to use such combinations of methods that allow us to achieve the highest efficiency. Our goal is to be appreciated by our clients for the commitment and high quality of our work.
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