project management

10 lessons I learnt building my own digital platform

You’ve probably sat in a team meeting and heard a colleague bemoan your IT systems, lack of customer insight or manual process and subsequently ask, “Well, why can’t we just build our own solution?”

Well, you can, benefiting from the accessibility of cloud software, the application of forward planning and some hard work.

We tried Alexa as a project management tool. This is what happened.

Home assistants are becoming increasingly popular. Amazon’s Alexa device was the top selling gift last Christmas.

While she might still be seen as a novelty by some, there are those who can see the potential of Alexa and how, perhaps in 30 years’ time, we won’t remember a time without her.

TV adverts show Alexa taking control of everyday tasks, controlling a smart vacuum, calling relatives and making purchases. But how does Alexa fare in the workplace, and can we trust her to manage our projects?

Agile development: what do marketers need to know?

How your website, app or software is produced will have a significant impact over how quickly it’s built and its quality. 

The technicalities of development methodologies can be intimidating, and appear irrelevant to marketers. But, which approach is used is a critical decision.

It can’t be left to your production team, whether in-house or outsourced.  

Building innovation into project management

If your organisation is going to do any sort of substantive innovation, it needs to take on risk. That needs a different style of project management.

Why do you do projects?

For most organisations, the answer is usually something to do with change. “We need to add new features to our product. We need to improve the user experience in our online shop. We need to upgrade the technology running our site”.

That’s kind of odd, when you think about it.

How complex can it be?

Managing complexity is tough. Especially if you can’t agree on where the complexity lies.

Sometimes decisions are easy.

You have the data you need. You know what you want to achieve. You know how things work – if we do this, then that will happen. So you connect the dots, make the decision, and all is well.

Make the same decision often enough, and you’ll define a standard, even a ‘best practice’.

Recognising risk in project management

Most of us want to work on projects that make a difference. So we have to deal with risk.

Project managers talk a lot about risk. They prepare risk registers. They analyse impacts and probabilities. They define strategies to mitigate risks.

Then they do nothing.

The rise of the temporary organisation

What’s permanent? What’s temporary? Perceptions of time frame the way we work together.

I was debating project and service management standards the other day. (Yep, I lead a sad life.)

To be honest, it wasn’t much of a debate. We all agreed on the big stuff – that projects and services overlap; that we all need to work together to deliver value; that people and skills matter more than standards and controls.  

A lot of motherhood and apple pie really. Boring.

Throughout the debate, I felt we were missing something. There was a big divergence in our underlying mindsets; we just weren’t getting at it. Afterwards, I realised this was due to the framing of the debate.

The other S&M: why ‘support and maintenance’ matters

The trick to a successful creative concept is keeping it going once the honeymoon period is over. 

Anyone who’s worked at an agency – or with an agency – will know the visceral thrill of being close to a fresh idea. The spark of inspiration; the impassioned atmosphere of the pitch; the reciprocated glory of a well-received campaign.

But there’s a boring, unsexy, and nevertheless universal truth behind every fruitful project: in-between the fertile seed of intent and the lush paradise of achievement, there’s a hell of a lot of gardening that needs doing.

Five tips for building a web application more cost-effectively

From the small business looking to improve its business processes to multinational corporations that need to manage important data and transactions, a growing number of companies are building their own web applications.

The benefits are countless, but so too are the potential risks and costs. Software development, after all, is a tricky business, and for companies that aren’t in the business of developing software, building a web application can be very difficult.

Ten tips for scoping your e-commerce platform

If tProject scoping mindmaphe last five years have taught me anything about e-commerce platform selection, it’s that the devil is in the scoping detail.

I’ve had project headaches and budget creep because I’ve not understood all the touch points of an e-commerce solution. I’ve seen vendors underestimate time and cost because they’ve not had enough detail to understand requirements.

I’ve learned that the cost (time and resource) of managing a comprehensive project scoping phase prior to going to market is the best investment you can make. Regardless of your knowledge base, you need to understand what you want to achieve with your e-commerce platform, who it affects and how you will evaluate available solutions.

This is my take on the top ten project elements you should include in your scoping phase before you write an ITT…