Review, documenting and tracking are the facets of project management we have presented so far. While they are important, they are not actually the keys to successful project management. The keys to successful project management are two intangible skills you will need to consciously apply during the project: communication and problem solving.
Returning to the theme we opened the chapter with, project management is really about open and honest communication. The goals are not to micro-manage the developer; assuming they are incompetent or dishonest. However, attempting to have open and honest communication will confirm or put to rest your suspicions.
The successful app comes from a good relationship with the developer. The best perspective might be to see yourself as a facilitator for the project during this stage. In other words, try to be helpful and encouraging rather than judgmental and pushy. Keep in mind that projects such as this will have hiccups or road blocks. Something may be more difficult or take longer than the developer anticipates. Delays should be built into the schedule from the beginning to account for unforeseen setbacks.
Generally, a positive approach is best. Just because something goes wrong or gets a little off track, there is no reason to get angry or be negative toward the developer. Be prepared to make adjustments as the project unwinds. If the developer feels you are being unfair, have unrealistic expectations, or believes you are being overly critical or unprofessional, they may simply stop working on your project. Losing a good developer means lost time and probably lost money. So avoid going negativity and use it only as a last resort. After all, the goal is to manage the project to it successful conclusion.
While communication is one key to managing the project successfully, the other is being willing to engage in problem solving. In even the simplest of development projects, things will go wrong. The unexpected will happen and Murphy’s Law will apply. Successful project management is really about using a combination of communication skills and problem solving skills in conjunction with the team members to find solutions and paths forward.
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