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25 May, 2020
By Boris Abazher
TRIARE Workflow 5: How a Project Manager Bridges it All

We have reviewed the major steps in developing an app:

  1. We completed satisfying estimates;
  2. Provided appealing UX/UI design;
  3. Based on that, we moved to develop Android and iOS mobile applications.

Importantly, often a Project Manager (PM) makes all the necessary estimation and becomes a bridge between each stage of the project until the successful delivery. How does our process differ from others in terms of project management? Perhaps, not much. Except for us taking it seriously and paying attention to each detail. Let’s walk you through 5 steps.

I. Discovery: analyzing the potential

PM starts with the evaluation of the project: what’s the business case and its feasibility? He or she asks the client about goals, needs, and a northstar — similar cases that the development team can refer to. It is enough for a client to describe the needs and functionality in plain English, and we will turn these ideas into a real business machine that will exceed all expectations. 

PM helps crystalize your vision.

From our experience, a client usually has a vague idea of what the final result should look like. It is why a crucial skill for a project manager is to help guide him through the real-life application of the project. At this stage, a friendship between the client and PM establishes. Based on trust, it allows proceeding with the feasibility study: a raw estimation of what resources are needed and how much that would cost. 

Greatest challenge: it is hard for a client to forget his solution and return to the root problem we are trying to solve here. It is the job of the PM to document client motivation and explanations as well as team suggestions during all meetings. Later, this will transform into the clear timeframe and task requirements.

II. Planning: preparing for success

Much like in our article on estimation — workflow part 1, — PM gets hands on a range of characteristics for the project:

  • Scope: general objectives and requirements;
  • Definition: objectives that are broken down into smaller tasks;
  • Tasks: deliverables that need to be produced; figuring out if any tasks are interdependent;
  • Delivery schedule: expected milestones and deadlines;
  • Cost estimation: based on the above assumptions;
  • Organization structure: development model, its hierarchy and communication within a team;
  • Quality objectives: specific requirements and their regular revisiting;
  • Risk and complexity: evaluating risks using a risk register template;
  • Procurement: any materials to be sourced? If yes, we define them.

Remember: we at TRIARE want your business to succeed, not just develop another website. Therefore, an active role of the PM, his empathy and curiosity are integral to the project.

III. Design: How PM manages design

Having a fundamental understanding of the customer needs, the developer knows what architecture to prepare and the designer starts his sketches. As an experienced offshore website development company, TRIARE assists clients with rapid prototyping. 

Fail fast, adjust early.

We achieve this with wireframes and mockups. It is a mission of the project manager to save your budget and test many hypotheses quickly while preparing the fundamentals of the future website or app. Pieces of data are shared with the client and a developer to examine the idea before building it or adding more features. 

Greatest challenge: not to fall in love in design and seek for optimal user experience.

If you are familiar with a dedicated team model, you may know how important it is to achieve a continuous flow of information between departments, especially those of development and design. Thus, our PM may invite both a senior designer and a lead developer for a starting meeting (often they are invited to the second call with a client; another approach that distinguishes us from other outsourcing firms). 

IV. Development: How PM links tech to design

The amount of code lines does not equate to quality. At TRIARE, we don’t aim to mount an Everest of estimates and overload an app with “cool and trendy” libraries. Rather, we are seeking a simple and yet genius solution to achieve a functional, beautiful, and exciting project. The one that will be both user-friendly and profitable.

With these thoughts in mind, the project manager keeps a continuous communication among all stakeholders. What communication tools to use? It doesn’t really matter, but it should be one and consistent across the entire organization. What project methodology to apply? There are plenty of them. We rely on a lean approach while managing more with doing less (unnecessary) work. Our workflow is agile by definition.

PM as in Pacemaker

Besides, you don’t have to wait for too long since we deliver the project in sprints. PM checks with the dev team at each milestone confirming the right direction of work. This flexibility is especially handy when a partner changes the direction of work rapidly.

V. Launch: How PM oversees a QA team

TRIARE team has launched a bunch of projects, including a dozen or so startups. Our skilled PMs led projects all the way to product release and beyond, getting prestigious awards and top charts in the Play Market and App Store. However, it would not be possible without another crucial link on the team — quality assurance specialists.

Starting with the alpha version, the project manager invites QAs to review the app or a website. It is more for additional feedback rather than bugs. First, because our developers rely on automatic testing to avoid these bugs. Secondly, the core functions matter more.

Soft skills are equally important.

Critical to the project: full and open conversation regarding the product. Sometimes the QA team nudges into revisiting a feature. Or a designer gets into a battle over functionality. These are part of the creative process. The hard work of the PM is to handle such conflicts productively and continue to explore both user and customer needs. 

Afterword from your project manager

One of the most joyful aspects of working at TRIARE is positive feedback from a client. There was a case when we responded to urgency and had been working on resolving it between 2 and 6 am. A PM, CTO and lead engineer were terribly tired but worked consistently to fulfill the needs of the client. We know that what for a developer is a few hours of coding, for a person on the other end may cost a whole business. It is why we approach each project responsibly and with reliability while building a lasting and joyful relationship with the client.

Here are some quick tips to sum up this article:

  • When you found the right web development company, trust it till the end; 
  • Don’t fall in love with old solutions you already had;
  • Project manager is like a friend who oversees all five stages of development;
  • PM helps you to ride the creative process efficiently;
  • Great PM should always be available and connect you with each stakeholder: from a designer to various developers and QAs.

We’ve got you covered.

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