Posted 03.09.2011 by Jack
- "Project management is a discipline to embrace." Micahel Marasco, Director, Farley Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Northwestern University
- Cost of failure becomes much higher when Drupal is being used at a higher level
- Nicole Lind, SVP of Operations at Treehouse Agency, works with Lifetime, FastCompany, TheStreet, Waitingforsuperman.com, Energy.gov (launching in 2011)
- Amy O'Malley, Senior Project Manager, Palantir.net, works with Red Hat, Micron, Chicago Public Media, Barnard College, Field Museum of Natural History (launching soon)
- Joel Sackett, Senior Technical Project Manager & Creative Manager, Phase2 Technology, works with THe New Republic, RarePlanet, etc.
- George DeMet, Founder and CEO of Palantir.net
How does PM involvement impact the various phases of a project and the organization... and should it?
- Project management should be involved in every aspect of a project
- Project phases: transition from sales, project initiation (internal), project initiation (external), project execution, project transition
- Project manager should have impact on contract/statement of work/work agreement (Jack: moot if your project manager is also your sales person, contract writer, etc...)
- The earlier expectations can be set, the better. Shared understanding of where you're going means easier to understand whether or not you're getting there.
- Identify risks as early as possible
- Project manager should have input into the team composition for a project
- Have conversation with internal stakeholders to make sure they're as clear as possible about priorities, budget, etc
- Surface risks to external stakeholders as well as internal stakeholders
- Project manager can be an end-to-end person in the project
- Project manager can be an advocate for the client AND for the internal team
How should we partner with clients to ensure project needs are being met?
- An effective partnership starts with...
- Understanding the clients' (business) goals
- Establishing a shared vocabulary
- Internal company (organization) speak - the way the client talks about things internally
- Project specific terms, e.g difference between launch and final code release
- Ask key questions early that will help guide conversations later
- Ask the client which two are most important: budget, time, or scope?
- What do you expect this CMS/Drupal/website to do for you?
- More example questions are in slides that will be posted online
- Conducting a full discovery (if possible)
- Not every project can include a full discovery
- Business requirement documents (???), wireframes, designs, meetings, existing website, third-party integrations
- Discovery can be the place to push back against timelines, launch dates, etc that don't reflect the scope of the project or the lack of knowledge about the scope
- Set schedule in week/multiple week chunks, tie schedule to client/stakeholder deliverables
- If client has already done extensive internal discovery before coming to you, it's still wise to examine those carefully rather than just accepting what they've figured out
What are some ways to mitigate risk...
- When is it OK to say no?
- Usually when the risk is too high!
- Recognizing and avoiding the Software Death March (?)
- Criteria for project and/or vendor selection is not met as outlined:
- Vendor Risk:
- applicable skills
- portfolio fit
- resource availability
- Stakeholder Risk
- expectation for cheap, fast, or good
- Appropriate budget
- Reasonable timeline
- Stakeholder preparedness
- Usually when the risk is too high!
What is the difference in managing a Drupal project versus any other technology project?
- People think that modules, installation profiles, distributions, etc mean plug and play operability without much work, when there's usually a decent amount that needs to be done to get to what the client needs.
- Explain what you get out of the box with Drupal core, installation profiles, distributions, modules, etc so they know how much work it takes to get from out of the box to ready for client
- Questions about software licensing -- different because of GPL
- Q: How do you deal with sites launching late because clients haven't gotten their content in/haven't been trained on it? A: This happens all the time. Make sure you put that in the schedule explicitly, do training as early as possible.
- Q: How much time should you budget for PM? A: Big factors are size of project/budget and the kind of client. 25% of development budget is a good rule of thumb, plus what kind of reporting/communication that client requires. Also depends on composition of team and who the developers are.
Much more information is in full slide decks that will be posted online for the sessions.