I’ve been doing marketing for technology firms for years now and one of the things that always surprises me is that people don’t seem to understand what marketing is, or really what the point behind it is. Marketing isn’t about how a home page looks or how clever an ad can be. And it’s really not about “finding your voice”, “picking your corporate color palette” or naming a new product. Don’t get me wrong – those are all things you do want your marketing people involved with and ultimately guiding decisions for. How your home page looks matters and presenting a consistent sense of design does say something about your company. The creative stuff is critical, and I don’t mean to downplay the contribution great artists and designers make to representing ideas in the world. But the suit doesn’t make the person. Marketing is ultimately about building an engine that can take your business somewhere (and look good doing it). It’s about a system, and it’s about the destination. You put dollars and time – fuel – in one end of the engine and get interested, prospective customers out the other end. And like all systems, you can build good […]
There are a lot of software tools available that you can build your project management process around. Many choices exist other than the ones I’m mentioning in this post. I have actually used these in various capacities, so my input is from my experiences using the software. No matter what you choose, remember that the software doesn’t manage projects for you. You still have to actually use the software. You will have to build schedules, assign people, and communicate clearly. It’s a tool, not magic. So, be prepared to develop a project management process no matter what you go with, and to use that process. The key is to pick one and go for it. And don’t look back. Embrace the one you choose with all of its strengths and weaknesses and build your project management process around your choice to customize it a little into being your own. Basecamp 2 You got me. This one is my favorite by far. It is simple, and that’s what I like about it. Building your project management strategies around Basecamp 2 is straight-forward. It isn’t “scary” to a client and you can get them to interact with it, in most cases, which lightens […]
Project management strategies help you finish projects on time, on budget and within scope. Easily said, but how do you create a system around project management? These 6 tips will help you get there. 1. Stop Using Email The number one way to start developing your own project management strategies is to stop using email as a project management tool. It is not a tool for managing projects. It is a communication tool. By eliminating it as the way you communicate about projects, your inbox will be cut in half – perhaps even as much as in a fourth. You won’t hate your inbox as much and you can get back to using it as a sales communication tool or to share those cat videos with your sister. The next added benefit is that you won’t be responding to the squeakiest wheel or the person with the request that just happened to be at the top of your inbox. If you are using project management software properly, you will know what your priority is and be able to address requests accordingly. 2. Determine Your Project Management Strategies Before you choose a software, you want to have a rough idea of […]
What happens after a project rolls out and the software you have created is being used everyday? Software needs to be maintained and supported. New ideas need to be implemented, features need to be modified, and issues need to be resolved. So what are the options for managing this work and how valuable is it?
Build solid unified teams for your software development projects by identifying common enemies to rally against. In this case of software development projects, here are three things that everyone wants to avoid: blown budgets, scope creep, and missed deadlines. By framing these as common enemies, the entire project team will work together to defeat them on your way to successful project outcomes. Budget Regardless of how you define the budget of your project, nobody wants to spend more money than expected. If you’re billing hourly, sure you can charge for everything you do, but the client still has an expectation (hopefully clearly defined by you) and isn’t going to be pleased if the cost of the project exceeds that expectation. If you’re billing a flat fee for the project, then you need to make sure you don’t end up giving away a lot of valuable work just because your client asks for more stuff. Even though the client won’t get charged more, you’ll eventually resent working for free. A blown budget in either direction makes for an un-unified project team and opens a door to adversity and blame games. The budget, however defined, is the responsibility of the entire team. […]
Being a great developer doesn’t automatically lead to successful software development projects. You also need to know how to successfully execute and manage your projects. The very first step to awesome project management is having a project management process and knowing how to articulate it to your team, both the developers and your clients. For over five years I’ve been teaching software consultants how to implement a simple Agile project management methodology. From the experience of working with several development shops I have identified ten elements of a software development project. Whether you know it or not, you’re dealing with these project elements every time you build a new custom application for one of your clients. Learn the ten elements of a software development project so you can audit your own process and find out where you can improve Join me on Wednesday, October 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT) for a FREE webinar about the Ten Elements of a Software Development Project. Here’s what you’ll learn: The ten elements of every software development project Whether or not you have a consistent process for each Where you should focus your process improvement efforts There will be plenty of […]
I recently had the pleasure of exploring Agile software development and project management with Matt Inglot on the Freelance Transformation podcast. Matt has been running a web development agency for over 10 years. In the first seven of those years, he made a lot of mistakes and just wasn’t getting ahead. Eventually he started making great decisions and transformed his business to create his desired lifestyle and achieve financial freedom. The Freelance Transformation podcast is all about sharing the tips, tricks, and techniques Matt has used to build a successful agency. Beyond the podcast itself, Matt shares recommended resources and articles to help you achieve your freelancing goals. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE EPISODE Elusive Moose is all about helping software developers and consultants manage successful businesses. We’re offering a FREE Moose Guide to help you learn more about the Ten Elements of a Software Development Project and figure out where you should be focusing to improve your project management approach. Download a FREE copy NOW. * You will be subscribed to our email list and receive super helpful tips and advice from Molly Connolly and me to help you manage your software development consulting business. Unsubscribe at any time, but I really don’t […]
Dear Molly, Scheduling time and “fires” – we all have them. Things come up. It’s hard to say no to “emergencies” from clients and things like that. How do you keep things on track when things are always happening? Fighting Fires in Milwaukee Dear Fire Fighter, The key to retaining existing clients is to provide great, prompt service. One place to start is to define what constitutes an emergency. In my case if a clients’ server goes down and they have active users who are unable to work because of it, it’s an emergency. But make sure you qualify that. “Hey the server is down this Monday but I know you don’t run your weekly reports until Friday, are you OK if I get to it on Wednesday?” But let’s say you’ve qualified a real emergency. Your repeat business and referral business depends on you resolving emergency situations immediately. So you have to plan them into your day. At our 2016 Find Your Moose conference in Chicago, I’ll be talking about portfolio management and delegation. In an ideal world, for any given project you have at least two people assigned to the project and knowledgeable of how to solve a […]
Nick Disabato (aka Nick D) is a designer. He runs a solo design consultancy in Chicago called Draft that uses research-driven A/B testing to generate revenue for ecommerce businesses. It’s a thoughtful design strategy that works. Nick will be speaking at the upcoming Find Your Moose 2016 conference in Chicago on September 7 & 8.
In this expert interview, Molly talks with Jeffrey Scornavacca. Jeff is the Principal of Silver Lake Productions and oversees all database development, project management, and business analysis. Like many of our members, Jeff understands both business needs AND technology-based solutions. He bridges the gap between business and IT to solve his clients’ problems. Check out the full video (with an Elusive Moose membership) to learn more about Scornavacca’s approach to working within large organizations to provide high value solutions including: How to communicate the value of your work to your client Tips for navigating the bureaucracy of a large organization Ways to align with your client for success One of the benefits of an Elusive Moose membership (less than $17/month) is exclusive access to our Expert Interviews video series where we tap into our vast network of colleagues and experts to learn from their experience through personal stories, tips, and techniques. These interviews are informative and inspiring as our guests have faced and overcome many of the same challenges you face each day. Along with Expert Interviews, Elusive Moose members can experience the best sessions from our Find Your Moose conferences through our conference video series, explore techniques, processes, and methodologies through our exclusive Moose Guides, and receive discounts on […]