ECommerce business growth relies heavily on the development and implementation of new software solutions. These solutions can bring value to the business in a variety of ways, from boosting its efficiency to improving user experience and customer retention. However, taking on a software development project is a complicated endeavor with many factors that can affect its success. In fact, a study found that only 35% of all projects are completed successfully with (almost always) full benefits. Therefore, it is very important to know how to execute a project successfully and what can you do to help ensure its success.
When talking about a project that helps your business grow, the role of the project manager should not be underestimated. 94% of companies that were surveyed by Capterra agree that project management is crucial for business growth.
Having a dedicated person who oversees the project opens up a variety of possibilities for improvement. An experienced PM can help you choose the right project management methodology that will increase team efficiency and make sure that the project and, as a result, the entire business, runs like a well-oiled machine. In fact, PWC found that 97% of companies believe the right project management methodology can greatly increase business performance. Therefore, consider obtaining a dedicated project manager before you are starting a new project.
How to execute a project successfully?
Let’s now move on to some of the steps that you can take to ensure the successful execution of your project. For this, we have consulted our own project manager, Olga Ievchyn, who has significant experience in overseeing successful project delivery.
Documentation is crucial
Let’s start with the basics – documentation. On paper, everyone understands how important it is to keep it for reference. However, as practice shows, very often the process of preparing the documentation is postponed in favor of other project-related tasks, and then never come back to. This is a mistake and a very important one. What may seem at the time like just a mundane or time-wasting task can have an impact on the entire project.
Projects, especially long-lasting ones, are prone to staff turnover. Proper documentation is a great resource that your employees, especially new ones, can refer to if they are not sure how a particular feature works. This will save time and allow them to focus on the project.
Additionally, documentation can help you keep track of all decisions and changes that were made on the project. If you need to learn why the project went in a certain direction or why a particular decision was made – documentation will help you do it quickly.
It’s very difficult to find an answer to your question if there is no documentation. It usually involves spending lots of time talking to people and digging into code. Having a piece of document that can answer all of your questions is both easier and quicker.
-Olga Ievchyn, Project Manager at Forbytes
Clearly define project goals from the start
A clearly defined set of goals from the beginning of the project can be the difference between success and failure. Research by PMI found that 37% of all projects fail because of the lack of clearly defined project goals.
A list of goals for the project benefits everyone involved. It creates a clear sense of direction for the development team, which is one of the most important requirements for an effective team. Additionally, having a clear goal can raise your team’s morale, and prevent people from burning out.
The clients have much to gain from it as well. Defining these goals compels them to think about what they want their business to achieve, and allows them to align the goals of their business with the goals of the project. This greatly increases the chances of project success, since a study found that 44% of projects fail because the goals of the business and the project are not aligned.
Also, this can have an immense impact on how effective the project manager is at his or her job. With a clear end-goal in sight, your PMs can create effective roadmaps and make sure that teams stick to them. As a result, it becomes more likely that the project is delivered on time and does not exceed estimated budgets. For example, when we began our cooperation with Trademax, a clearly defined set of goals helped our team to deliver the first working prototype of the Product information management solution in just 6 weeks!
Finally, there is a somewhat hidden benefit of setting project goals, namely, it helps PMs identify an unproductive project that no longer brings value to the business. With this knowledge, they can recommend to terminate it to save both time and money for the client and focus on other, more important tasks.
Unit testing saves production time and cost
Another very important step of how to execute a project successfully is unit testing. By requiring your team to perform unit testing on a regular basis you can decrease the time it takes to deliver the project, as well as reduce its cost. It’s a well-known fact that the more code there is – the more likely it is to find bugs, and the more time and money it will take to write and perform tests.
In fact, when writing his book, The art of unit testing. Second Edition, Roy Osherove conveyed a case study that tested the effect of unit testing on project delivery time. He took two similarly skilled teams that worked on very similar projects for two different clients. The first team performed regular unit tests while the second one did not.
Although it took the first team twice as long to finish coding (14 days vs. 7 days), their integration and testing times were greatly reduced. In the end, it took the first team just 22 days to release their project with only 11 bugs found in production, while the second team had to spend 26 days to release theirs, with 71 bugs found.
Tests are stories we tell the next generation of programmers on a project.
Manage risks, both positive and negative
As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, risks can sometimes appear out of nowhere and may be difficult to predict. However, it is important to have a risk management strategy at hand that will help you adapt quickly.
Again, having a project manager is particularly beneficial in such cases, since they can implement strategies that will reduce the impact of negative risks or even prevent them altogether. Moreover, an important thing to keep in mind here is that risks can be both negative and positive. An example of positive risk is a team overperforming and completing a task before the deadline.
An experienced project manager not only can take advantage of positive risks, he can also increase its impact on the project.
Ensure the success of your project
There are many things to keep in mind when you are taking on a project. An experienced project manager can help you ensure that it reaches success and brings value to your business. If you require assistance with your project – feel free to contact us!