Old school is still cool
You have certainly wondered many times what’s the best project methodology for a particular type of IT project or for the projects in general. Numerous discussions of established and/or self-declared experts at expensive and fake glamorous conferences should offer a wide array of latest tools, techniques and revolutionary knowledge that will shake the business world and completely change your understanding of work. Long story short, it’s a bunch of bullshit without a brace. Why did I say this with so much certainty and dosage of roughness in expression? The answer consists of two simple yet powerful words: business and life experience. I know you’ll say: “Look at this fool, he thinks he has picked up all the world’s knowledge with 27 years only on his back and a bunch of successful projects.” You have the full right to say that, just as well as I have the right and requisite to transfuse my thoughts into a written word. I think that everyone can learn something new and useful from each other. 🙂
NO PROJECT IS THE SAME
No illness is manifested on every man equally because no man is the same. Analogously to that, no project is the same, because you’re always doing something new. Many of you will say: “But that’s not possible, there is certainly something we apply the same way from one project to another.” Of course, every time before you even blink, you always have to specify the following:
- project requirements;
- communication personnel;
- communication channels;
- delivery of required materials;
- determine the time you are available for active communication;
- determine the time you have for creative work and project execution itself and
- the project completion date.
Experience taught me that if I’ve ignored only one of the above steps, it was very likely that I’d have encountered problems in project realization. The fact is that no problem is unsolvable, but why should we complicate our lives, if we can foresee and eliminate problems at the very beginning. So, make sure to keep these tips in mind. It could help you one day to save time, money, nerves and keep the project on the track.
PROJECT METHODOLOGY I USE
The choice of project methodology depends on the above-mentioned steps and while all the conditions aren’t fully met, I don’t recommend that you rush into the project. It would be very irrational for me to say that there is a project methodology that could squeeze into the “one-size-fits-all” concept. Certainly not. According to my experience so far, agile methodology (most commonly SCRUM), as a result of the increasing number of requests for innovations proved to be the best. Agility is actually the ability to respond to changes in order to gain profits in a turbulent business environment. In essence, this is the ability to balance between flexibility and stability.
The group of authors issued the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (2001) in which they set four fundamental values of agile project management:
- people and relationships in front of the process and tools;
- working the product in front of extensive documentation;
- co-operation with the customer before negotiating the contract and
- responding to change prior to monitoring the plan.
Taking into account the fact that drastic and rapid changes in the business environment happen on a daily basis, can be said that the agile methodology that was conceived in 2001 can be called “old school”. Sure, but it’s obvious that the highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of the product that has value to the customer. Agile processes support changes so that the customer can take the best of it as an advantage over competitors. Contractors who will be using the product and developers must work together on a daily basis throughout the project. Projects are being built around motivated persons who provide the environment, support them and believe they will do the job properly. Agile processes promote sustainable development. These values are still valid today and according to all the official research, they bring the best results in IT projects. When we consider everything, agile methodology definitely deserves the “oldie but goodie” title.
TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES I USE
Today people are nominally connected more than ever, but in reality, they’ve never been more alienated and never less understood each other. In a multitude of tools and techniques, you need to choose the ones that are useful to you. This could be extremely difficult and ungrateful because it can cost you a lot of time, but if you have exactly defined features that will help you communicate with all the participants and track the project progress, you’ve narrowed your choice to just a few.
I like to keep things as simple as possible so I use Trello as an easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage my projects and organize anything, also trusted by millions of people from all over the world. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enabled me to organize and prioritize my projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. It allowed me to dive into the details by adding comments, attachments, and more directly to Trello cards and collaborate on projects from beginning to end. But if you are looking for another solution, Active Collab represents almost an identical alternative. If you have perplexity about which one should you choose, read this detailed comparison and find out what suits you best.
Furthermore, there’s one very simple but extremely useful tool (except e-mail haha) I use every day – Slack. It brings all the communication together in one place. It’s real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams. Its use helped me eliminate infinite communication through private Facebook profiles, WhatsApp and Viber messages and/or calls, and so on. Its use also helped me at least somewhat maintain my private time and space that clients disrupt almost always, thinking that you must be devoted exclusively to them 24/7.
Lust but not least, the simplest tool I use is not even digital, it’s very palpable, it’s – notebook calendar. Computers, tablets or smartphones aren’t always available, the battery is always low. In that case, nothing works better than good old pen and paper. There is monthly and a weekly calendar, a daily goals section, and even whiteboard paper for the times you need to do some temporary doodling or sketching. Definitely perfect solution for modern times problems. Content can’t be irretrievably destroyed unless you lost it or burn it. 🙂
Considering a great number of available studies, project type, and project clients, agile methodology, contrary to the traditional has the ability to respond to changes in order to profit to a turbulent business environment, i.e. the ability to balance between flexibility and stability.
SCRUM is the most common methodology of modern project management because it accepts reality, it adapts to the changes that are present in the software development process which is in exponential growth, and provides continuous monitoring and transparency.
Three simple tools and techniques: Trello (or Active Collab), Slack and notebook calendar raise the efficiency of available resources enable more developed systems and procedures that effectively optimizes the connections, information, decisions, documents, and activities and lead you towards the overall success of the project.
I know, you will probably say that I’ve discovered “hot water”, but if only one dash from this blog post helps you in your future business, I think it has fulfilled its purpose. 🙂