Project Management Success: 7 Critical Factors You Need to Know

Written at Jul 31, 2023 2:22:35 PM by Anastasia Starchekova

Becoming a project manager (PM) in a tech startup can be challenging, especially when you have multiple projects and a small development team. In such a fast-paced environment, you must ensure that every minute of your team's time is spent on the right tasks. 
Imagine you have just one week to fix a list of issues that a client sent you on short notice, and you have multiple clients with specific new feature needs that need to be implemented before they go live. This is where the role of a project manager begins. Below, I describe the main challenges we faced and how we overcame them through our two-week Sprint and daily development process. Here are the best practices we use to make sure new items are delivered on time and to the client's satisfaction: 

1. Prioritisation 

Before every sprint, we hold a planning session with the business analyst (BA) team. We ask them to create a separate list of items for each client they lead. If there is the same issue across multiple clients, this helps identify the priorities. The rest of the sprint time we use for new features from the roadmap. 

2. Task Assignment 

It is important to assign tasks to the right developer who can fix them quickly based on their previous experience and skill set. This ensures that tasks are completed efficiently and on time. 

3. Clarifications 

To speed up the process and ensure that everyone is on the same page, we arrange a refinement session between the BA and development team to clarify all the items assigned for the sprint. During the development process, developers may also need clarifications from the business side or clients. It is crucial to ensure that all clarifications are provided in a timely manner to avoid any delays. Here is where the project manager needs to communicate effectively with the team. NB Chasing a team can be the only annoying part of the PM role, but some people (I) enjoy it 😊 

4. Development Work 

Before starting the sprint, we ensure that the development team estimates all the tasks assigned to them. It helps to see that they are not over-assigned. Daily stand-ups are the best way to track progress, update remaining hours, and see if we are on track with delivery deadlines. 

5. QA Testing 

After the development work is completed, we assign the tasks to the QA team for testing. If any bugs are raised, we need to check with the BA to see if the bug needs to be prioritized over the other items. Meanwhile, developers still need to follow their assigned priorities. I call it a "super agile approach" to real-life decision-making. 

6. UAT Testing 

When items pass QA, the project manager chases the BA to test the deployed fixes in User Acceptance Testing (UAT). 

7. Release 

In our process, we release all new changes in pre-prod every Friday. In some urgent cases, we do this right after it passes QA as a hotfix. Every Friday, the project manager must check that all items that passed testing have been deployed into pre-prod. 

In summary, the main challenges we have faced in our tech startup were team members struggling to follow the development process, difficulty in tracking the estimations and meeting short deadlines, ever-changing priorities, limited capacity for fixing bugs, and most importantly how to plan the Sprint and keep it on track without over-assigning people. The development process we created helped us overcome these challenges. We hold planning and refinement sessions with the BA team before every Sprint, assign tasks to the right developer, keep on track time estimation, and ensure proper communication to avoid delays.   

We now have great Project Management, BA, and DevOps teams ready to take on the next what are you waiting for? Get in touch and find out how distriBind can help you to seamlessly implement a Digital Data Exchange to deliver Automated Back Office processing. 

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Anastasia Starchekova

Project Manager