Digital solutions are an everyday output at Waracle. But, what is the most important aspect of kicking off a new client digital project? As a Project Manager (PM) at Waracle I’d like to explain our project management process.
As a PM in an agile organisation I’m responsible for ensuring the smooth delivery of projects. It’s commonly accepted that the traditional role of the PM is radically different in Agile projects, some may say defunct, as the role is distributed around the team, and the team has responsibility for delivering the project. In practice I see my role as combination of Product Owner and Scrum Master. I provide the link with the client to ensure we deliver the product they want, while acting as a facilitator for the internal team to ensure they can work as efficiently and effectively as possible.
AGILE AT THE CORE OF OUR DIGITAL SOLUTIONS
Waracle is an organisation with agility at its core. We follow agile processes from top to bottom whether using Scrum or Kanban as this gives us the flexibility to benefit our clients as previously discussed in our blog on Agile vs Waterfall development. In giving strong cross-disciplined development teams the responsibility to go forth and produce quality software products, we satisfy our diverse range of clients across many sectors including fintech, digital health, energy and more.
It’s clearly very important that we define a detailed project charter early on so that we can accurately estimate what’s involved, which resources will be required, what the project schedule will look like and provide an estimate of the cost of delivering the project. This will all be defined throughout our Inception and Elaboration phases.
A Project Charter is often known as a formal document that initiates a project. It contains many details such as who the project manager is, what the budget will be, defines the requirements of the stakeholders, and any significant assumptions or constraints or risks of the project.
I’ll run through our process for putting together this document which for me aims to be short (about 1 page long), succinct and sets out the project in an unequivocal manner.
ASSESSING EACH DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PROJECT PROPOSAL
Assessing each project’s viability involves getting a cross section of technical resources together (developers, design, UX) to:
- assess the project scope and put together questions clarifying requirements for follow up meetings with the client
- explore the most efficient way of delivering the project
- explore the risks, constraints and any caveats related to the project
- investigate which technologies are most suitable to deliver the requirements
- produce an estimate for the work duration and budget required
For me, putting together a Project Charter is the most important aspect of a project. In asking questions, no matter how stupid they may seem, I then have a model of the whole project to work from.
The process of producing the charter summary involves many individuals in several departments. Our business development team will provide the initial strawman description of the project, or highly detailed documents, for the technical team to consider along with an introduction to the client’s Product Owner. The technical team will pour over the detail of the project proposal and determine areas they want clarified and start to consider the various options for the most appropriate technology.
Depending on the project, the design team will switch on their creative juices and start to produce some initial high level designs that carefully consider User Experience concerns while providing a positive impact to the customer and end-user.
As PM, I have an overview of this activity and communicate any queries to clients and disseminate any responses they provide to all the those involved in these phases of the project; it’s often the small details that clients mention in discussion that turn out to be significant to our design process.
When the Project Charter summary is completed, it’s important to discuss with the client to make sure it fits with their expectations. This is a good opportunity for the client to highlight any additional expectations, or new requirements, that they had not previously mentioned or have been uncovered as part of the joint discussions. Why not check out our clients page to read about some of our digital solutions?
Once this clarification discussion is completed with the client, the project summary can be updated (if required) and we can run the most recent proposal through with the tech team to finalise the choice of technology to meet the requirements and provide an estimate. This project summary, estimate and timeline, along with a list of the risks, caveats and assumptions make up the core of the project charter.
In some cases, the Project Charter will be a little longer as there may be different ways of delivering the MVP (Minimum Viable Project depending on competing priorities of the client. In these circumstances, we will document different variations of the project so the client can choose the direction they go in.
Our experience shows us to really focus on The Project Charter. If it’s inaccurate, it could provide inaccurate costings and timeline or could potentially deliver the wrong product. The latter can of course be dealt with in our Agile approach. Our development processes aim to produce working versions of products on a regular basis so that clients can review their product and provide feedback that can be integrated into the ongoing development of the product.
Finally, on the development of the project charter it’s helpful if the person writing the project charter, and those contributing to it, are going to be the same people that develop the project. This team will have spent several days deeply evaluating the ins and outs of the project, and will already have spent time with the client, and can hit the ground running as we finalise the Elaboration phase and head into construction.
WHY WORK WITH WARACLE?
Waracle’s client base means no projects are the same which gives us a huge variety to work with. The good thing is we have a solid process for assessing and managing projects regardless of what industry it comes from. We are digital product specialists, with a proven track record in process improvement, mobile app development and broader digital and agile transformation. Contact us today if you’d like to discuss your mobile app, IoT or digital health project!
Waracle are one of the UK’s largest mobile app development, Internet of Things (IoT) and digital solutions companies. Known for being mobile experts, we create some of the most exciting mobile and IoT apps on the market. Creating Mobile Web, iOS, Android, Hybrid, Native, Internet of Things (IoT), Voice and Augmented Reality (AR) mobile apps for Clydesdale Bank, ScottishPower/Iberdrola, Sainsbury’s Bank, NHS, Scotrail, Scotmid, Peak Scientific, Waracle is a trusted digital transformation partner. If you would like to learn more about other trends affecting mobile app development, download one of our free whitepapers on mobile trends and mobile marketing.