Web-based and brick-and-mortar companies share many of the same challenges, from inventory management to cyber security to supply chain issues to personnel problems. However, web-based businesses are different because their personnel don’t always work in the same location. Rather, employees may work remotely or in offices far away from each other. This creates distinctive challenges, such as how to successfully manage new projects effectively with little or no waste.
Project Management in Web Companies
In traditional companies, project managers can physically gather a team together when launching a new project. Everyone is in the same room during the planning. After duties are assigned, groups meet face-to-face and managers can easily check in with team members at any time.
In web-based companies, project management is a bit more challenging. Team members might be in-house or off site; they may never be in the same room, or even on the same continent, at the same time. With less face-to-face communication, important information is not always communicated, and the nuances of body language are lost. There are ways, though, to make even remotely managed projects more successful. Following a step-by-step process can make any project go more smoothly from the planning stages through completion.
The Project Management Process
Project management in IT companies or other web-based businesses often skips over the formal planning process in favor of starting the work right away. However, the time invested in proper planning usually pays off with shorter project duration, better results and lower costs. Dividing a project into steps is the easiest way to manage it:
- Identify the Project: What is the history behind this project? What are the needs to be filled or problems to be solved? What is the goal?
- Visualize the Outcome: Determine all of the desired outcomes and business benefits of the project. Visualize what a successful product launch looks like. What must happen to deem the project a success?
- Create a Work Plan: Create a detailed list of the tasks that need to be accomplished to reach the project goal. Determine who will be involved and their detailed responsibilities. Define the project scope, deliverables and individual expectations. Set milestones and deadlines. Decide which tools and resources are needed for both in-house and remote workers. Identify risks and make contingency plans.
- Execution: Once the project is executed, the work plan may need to be adjusted to respond to actual events. Documents can be quickly organized, updated and shared with both in-house and remote team members through web-based applications such as Basecamp or Google Drive. Keeping everyone informed at every stage is critical.
- Monitoring: Project management in IT requires close monitoring and control. The project manager’s job is to determine if all deadlines are being met and whether or not the project is moving forward according to plan. Constant reviews of milestones, revising the work plan and reallocating resources are typically required. Periodic risk assessment can keep small problems from turning into big issues.
- Completion: Once all objectives are reached, the working part of the project is considered complete. Typically, however, a closing report is created by the project manager, outlining successes and setbacks along the way, including projected vs. actual budgets, changes in the scope of work and recommendations for the next project.
Project Management for Web-based Companies
Web-based and IT companies are constantly creating new projects to improve their products, upgrade their services or meet customers’ changing needs. Effective project management can make the difference between a successful launch and a costly failure, making it a vital part of successful web-based businesses.