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 busy schedule is a result of some political conditions – someone really wants to show 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 cases, it may a good solution to conduct a pilot run on a small group of clients and limited functionalities? 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 first and classic 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 the most important needs.
Cutting the quality
You can rarely afford reducing 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 lower performance of the solution or lack of certain tests. Of course, this is perhaps the most risky approach – consciously lowering the quality at the expense of implementation time. Our experience shows that stabilizing such implementation is much longer and when you start, few people would remember that poor quality was the price for delivering a short deadline. Sometimes it even 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 as well as 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 testing and frontend fixes.
Give up integration
Documentation, programming and testing integration usually takes 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 this part 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 the deployment they will require care of other members of the team and the work will slow down.
Testing and deployment automation
In large projects, you can get significant savings by creating the appropriate infrastructure and ensuring smooth, automated processes of testing, deployment and creating documentation. if all this work is carried out manually, it can slow down the team and generate errors.
Outsourcing non-key components
When the time is pressing, it’s good to focus on what you know best. Feel free to use 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 wisely the version of the software you use
Typically, your team has more experience with older versions of a given platform. However, the latest version probably includes more powerful functions that may save your time. The new version also means 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 it doesn’t have any business reason. Their choices can therefore carry serious business consequences.
Get out of the box
In Divante we implement mainly based on Magento 2. However, we sometimes face challenges that can only be achieved by taking a step back and ask ourselves if Magento is the best solution. In some less obvious eCommerces, we offer other solutions to our clients. In the case of tight schedule it’s always worth considering alternative scenarios.
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