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Wired Sussex Breakfast Session: Better Project Management

Last week we held a Breakfast Session on Better Project Management’  and invited seasoned experts Nadine Schofield from Project Management on Demand and Rifa Thorpe-Tracey from Refigure  – to share their knowledge about project management and answer questions.

Spaces for the event were in high demand so, in case you missed out, we want to share as much of the conversation as possible. Below are the key points from the session:

Wired Sussex Breakfast Sessions Project Management

Start a project by writing up a statement of work

  • Always begin a project by writing up a statement of work/project specification document. This will then serve as a written agreement to refer back to at any point.
  • This statement of work should include:
    • Objectives of the project and a detailed description.
    • Summary of the stages of the project (discovery/research, development & delivery) and how they will be managed.
    • Rough timeline.
    • The team and their roles on the project.
    • Budget & invoicing schedule.
    • Change control e.g. number of meetings and time spent on the project that is included in the cost, and additional charges for extra time spent on the project.
    • Glossary of terminology within the document, for example definition of ‘a round of amends’.
  • A statement of work could be prepared for a client, and also a supplier / freelancer.

Keep organised

  • Try to ascertain and maintain clear processes from the start of each project.
  • Hold regular progress meetings with the whole project team. Take notes at these meetings, write up notes into a weekly progress report to record any amendments / agreements made and then share this report with the project team.
  • Create project numbers and filing systems for all project files that are scalable.
  • Back up everything you save.
  • Ask your team to complete timesheets for each project to allow you to reconcile the time spent vs the time quoted for.
  • Follow up any agreements or amendment requests (with clients and / or suppliers) with written confirmation.

Project management software

  • There are lots of different project management tools available, but it’s important to understand what you need from a tool, what budget you have available and understand what options are out there to choose the tool right for your business and projects.
  • There are a number of different tools available including:
    • MS office – Excel is a keen favourite!
    • Google docs – Similar to MS Office but all online.
    • MS Project – MS project management software
    • Basecamp - project management software
    • Asana - project management software
    • Teamwork - project management software
    • Smartsheet - project management software
    • Trello – team communication tool
    • Tom’s Planner – online project planner and Gantt software
    • 10,000 ft – resource planning software
    • Harvest – timesheeting and financial software
    • Jira - software development tool
    • Agile – an approach that  help teams respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences, known as sprints.
    • Waterfall - an approach that views progress as steadily flowing downwards (like a waterfall) through the various build phases of a project.

Useful Resources

  • Interactive Project management (book), Nancy Lyons
  • The Lean Approach (book) Eric Ries
  • Brilliant Freelancer (book), Leif Kendall
  • - Blog with project management guidance.
  • Prince 2 - project management training courses / qualification
  • Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter to hear about upcoming events and project opportunities.

Feel free to share your thoughts, feedback or other top tips to best manage projects by tweeting us @WiredSussex using #WiredBrekkie.

You can check out upcoming Breakfast Sessions here. We hope to see you at a Wired Sussex event soon!

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