Project Manage Like a Boss
Whether you like it or not, and no matter how good the professional you hired is, you will still need to do some level of management to communicate your idea along with priorities and goals so your project stays on track.
1. Outline the goals of the project
By now, you should have already put together a project brief. Your project brief needs to communicate every piece of knowledge you can, such as:
• What is the problem you’re solving?
• Why is it a problem?
• Why is what you’re building a unique way to solve the problem?
• What are the goals for this application?
• Who is the target audience for your project?
As the project progresses, you may decide to tweak certain approaches, but at least you’re both starting with the same information.
2. Supply assets and logins/passwords
As you build your product, the designer/developer will likely need to set up accounts or have access to certain things, such as your website domain name, logo, or developer account.
Here are some common things a designer/developer might ask for access to and some suggested services to make your job easier:
• Your website domain (see Namecheap, Hover, etc)
• Your developer account (see Apple, Android, etc)
• Your branding, specifically a high-resolution version of your logo (see Brandfolder, OpenBrand, etc)
• Your data analytics account (see Google Analytics, Mixpanel, etc)
• Your code base (if you have existing code: Github, Bitbucket, etc)
• Your project management tool (see Basecamp, Slack, etc)
• Your third-party platform login (Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace, etc)
If you have some of these accounts created already, you can use a service like Meldium to manage logins before the project starts so they are available once you get rolling.
3. Write copy
Unless you’ve outlined in your project brief that you’d like the designer/developer to write copy for the website or app, you’ll be responsible for putting this together.
Whatever the copy — from navigation and button text to product tours, form fields, and error messages — everything is an important instruction leading people down the path from new user to customer.
4. Give feedback
Giving feedback can be a bit of an art form. You want to give the right comments to keep the project moving forward while keeping your team motivated.
We suggest the feedback sandwich, where you make positive statements, discuss areas for improvement, and then finish with more positive statements.
1. Identify the positive aspects of the progress.
2. Discuss what needs to be improved. These comments should be direct and based on facts rather than emotions.
3. Compliment. When we’re coaching, we want to make sure we’re not de-motivating our team, so we always want to leave things on a positive note.
If you have a deadline for the project, it’s important that you move quickly to give feedback to the designer/developer so they can move forward with any changes and the project doesn’t stall.
Deadlines are dependent on you as well, not just the designer/developer you hired.
Keeping your project on track
Having clear check-in points sets expectations for the team and encourages them to have progress to report. Typically, status or project reports are done on a weekly basis, so pick a day of the week that works for everyone. I used to like scheduling reports on Wednesdays so we had some time to prep each week for the meeting and some time after the meeting to dig into the items discussed.
Remember: you are the coach, organizer, and cheerleader
You should celebrate the wins and guide your team through the lows each step of the way. Hold on tightly to your vision and enforce the processes necessary to get there. No one else will do this if you don’t, so be diligent.
In the end, this will show your team that you’re serious about this project, engaged in the process, and willing to put in the effort it takes to make it a success.
I hope you realize how close you are now. Tomorrow is the last lesson, and then it’s off to the races. The finish line is in sight!
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