You will have to do it sooner or later – shorten the project time by half. How can you do this? I asked experienced Project Managers from Divante and these are their best ideas.
Demo / pilot run
Often, a busy schedule is the result of some political conditions – someone really wants to demonstrate the system on the occasion of a corporate event or an important visit from headquarters. In this case, instead of doing a sloppy project, it may be better to plan a system demo on interactive prototypes.
In other situations, it may be a good solution to conduct a pilot run on a small group of clients, perhaps using only limited functionalities. In any case, it’s always good to start by getting to know the origin of the tight schedule. If the problem can be worked around, you should do so.
Cutting the range
Of course, the go to approach to shorten the time is to cut the project range. How to do it wisely? You can determine critical processes/paths with your clients, based on your benchmarks and research. The term MVP (Minimum Viable Product) means a version of the product that will allow your client to satisfy only the most important needs.
Cutting the quality
You can rarely afford to reduce the quality of the project. However, if you know the conditions behind the deadline well, it may turn out that e.g. the launch will be carried out in stages and the first stage can include a less performant solution or lack certain tests. Of course, this is perhaps the riskiest approach – consciously reducing implementation time at the expense of quality. In our experience, it turns out that saving on tests and procedures will delay the project in the end, as testing and error correction will consume all the previously saved time.
Give up dedicated graphics
In some projects, dedicated functional mockups and graphics, and cutting to HTML can take up half the project time. If you need to drastically cut the scope of work, then relying on a ready-made skin and its modification may be the most effective way to finish the project in time. You not only save the time of your graphics designer, but most importantly, you save the time of the frontend developer and the time needed for tests and frontend fixes.
Give up integration
Documentation, programming and integration testing usually take a lot of time. Of course, it’s difficult to give up the integration of payment system but e.g. invoicing and product descriptions can be done manually in the first version of the eCommerce. Giving up such things usually results in a considerable shortening of testing and patching time.
Adding people to the team increases the pace of work, but it also increases the amount of time needed for communication. When adding people, make sure that familiarizing them with the project will not last longer than the project itself. During deployment they will require the care of other team members and the work will slow down.
Testing and deployment automation
In large projects, you can make significant savings by creating the appropriate infrastructure and ensuring smooth, automated processes of testing, deployment and documentation creation. If all this work is carried out manually, it can slow down the team and generate errors.
Outsourcing non-key components
When time is pressing, it’s good to focus on what you know best. Feel free to use the ready-made modules and services of external companies. Even if the finished modules do not meet your expectations 100%, they can be successively replaced with your own dedicated components after the launch of the project.
Choose software versions wisely
Typically, your team has more experience with older versions of a given platform. While the latest version probably includes more powerful functions that may save your time, it also brings with it the risk of encountering new errors, and the need to deal with them on your own. I would leave the choice of technology to both those directly involved in the project and those that will look at the challenge objectively. Often, developers want to work with the latest technologies, even if the decision doesn’t have any solid business logic. Their choices can therefore carry serious business consequences.
Get out of the box
In Divante we implement projects mainly based on Magento 2. However, we sometimes face challenges that can only be achieved by taking a step back and asking ourselves if Magento is the best solution. In some less obvious online stores, we offer other solutions to our clients. In case of tight schedules, it’s always worth considering alternative scenarios.
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Published July 4, 2018