How we manage projects as a team
People say that “communication is key”. But how do you ensure that everyone is on the same page and not just nodding alone. Well the first thing is to make sure that everyone on your team understands what the project is; who has what roles; what the outcome should achieve; and of course – the project plan should be SMART! There are multiple tools out there to manage teams, some web based, some paper based and some lego based! We use a couple but are going to talk about our favourite 🙂
Here at Fruitbowl we always sit down with out clients and discuss their requirements. After the meeting we normally create multiple story boards to make sure that all the requirements are taken care of, taking into consideration the best user journey along the way. Once we have done that we like to use an online (and mobile) app called Trello.
Trello enables us to see multiple projects in one place, and create cards for each user story (as well as manage a few other bits here and there). It is our choice of tool for managing what is going on. It supports everything you could need including – but of course not limited to – adding attachments; due dates on cards; seeing visual representations of design elements; twitter style tagging so you can ask specific questions to the right person; and you can add members to a card so we can ensure that everything is assigned to the right people.
The one feature that makes it stand out from other tools such as Slack or Basecamp though is the User Roles. Within the app you can assign your clients to join the board which allows them to view progress easily and quickly which gives them peace of mind – meaning less ‘update’ phone calls which in turn allows the team to get on with doing what they do best. Or you can give them write access so that they can add comments, or notes if need be. And with the timeline viewable you can see who changed what and when (just in case the spec is changed during the project).
The other benefit is there is lots of browser plugins that work with Trello. The one we use all the time is “Plus for Trello“. This handy little plugin allows us to manage the time (both estimate and actual) so that we can make sure we are on schedule, and if not see why not and make sure we put it back on track which in turn allows us to provide more accurate time frames for clients and manage our staff more efficiently for future projects.
If Trello did want to incorporate lego somehow though – we would not mind at all… :p