Developing a project from a ground zero is a complex endeavor. There are hundreds of tiny decisions you need to make to keep the work top of your mind. At the end of the day, much of the tension comes from trying to balance three essential factors: team competency, time and money.
Let’s assume that your team is comprised of highly competent, creative and knowledgeable people who know how to balance their workflows within the given budget and deadlines. Let’s say that the communication between team members is organized and everyone is truly focusing their attention on building the best possible product.
But, something is missing. The project that you’ve been working on for months doesn’t live up to the client’s expectations. Some things went astray and the quality significantly dropped. Under the assumption that your team is performing well, a good place to start your examination is the time and budget.
Your team is falling behind schedule
One of the hardest things in project management is to clearly define the time needed to complete the project. Before initiating the project, you must consider both the highly unpredictable nature of the development phase to be able to make an accurate estimate and the capacity of each member of your team. Ask your team members to create their own time estimates and compare it with your own estimate. If these two don’t match (if your estimate is much more optimistic than theirs), organize a meeting, look carefully at the project and figure out the optimal solution that will work well both for the client and your team.
Further actions are determined solely on on whether the client has set a deadline or not.
The client has set a fixed deadline
If the client has set a fixed deadline, you simply don’t have the possibility to throw more time into your project. In other words, if your estimate that a certain task will take 40 hours to get completed, and a person you assigned it to thinks it will take double more time, you’ve got a problem.
You certainly don’t want to push your employees to fit within timelines because this may cause frustration and decrease the quality level of the final product. In such case, you as a project manager need to bring in additional help and redistribute the workload so that you and your team don’t have to worry about extending deadlines.
By redistributing workload on twice as many people, you should be able to get it done twice as fast - at least in theory.
The client hasn’t set clear deadlines
On the other hand, if there is no fixed deadline, you and your team have the freedom to organize your time in a way it will benefit both you and your client. That means that you have to take some time aside, discuss all the things that may fall outside of the scope of your team, consider potential bottlenecks and finally create the best time estimate for your project development. Once you make sure that you and your team are on the same page regarding the time, you are ready to inform the client when he can expect the project to be finished.
This should give your client insight into how much they should invest in the project and help you and the client agree on the budget.
Working with a small budget
Another thing that can prevent you from delivering the best quality product is tight budget. Since most of your work happens digitally and there are no large expenses for office supplies, a tight budget means that you have limited number of working hours. Simply put, if you want to complete your project within a defined budget you need to cut down on working hours without derailing the quality of the final product.
The least painful solution is to hire freelancers who offer their services at lower prices than full-time professionals. Once you hire a freelancer, include them in a project and let them focus on their tasks. With ActiveCollab you can easily view the timeline of all your team members regardless of the physical location and time zone they belong to.
The lack of client’s feedback
Finally, the quality of the final product heavily depends on its functionality. At the end of the day, the main purpose of entire project development is to create an end-product that actually works but also makes client happy. While clients usually don’t have the necessary knowledge to understand the technological processes, their opinion regarding the quality and the esthetics surely counts. Involving your clients in the processes and allowing them to provide regular feedback is of paramount importance for achieving the highest quality of the product. And what is most important, there will be no take-backs.
At the core of ActiveCollab business is the belief that the client should be an integral part of the project. By letting your clients provide regular feedback and take part in discussions and decision-making process, you are more likely to build a top-quality product.
We know that there is no clear, linear path to reach success and there is no secret formula that we help you struggle all the challenges along the road. However, we believe there are ways you can bulletproof yourself from the time and budget issues that can hinder your team’s productivity and cause your project to fail.
Here, at ActiveCollab, we strive to help teams stay organized, streamline their processes and ensure that everything is in line with the level of quality we aim to achieve.