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Managing Work

We have key processes in place that helps us manage work. Our goal is to efficiently and effectively communicate to internal and external stakeholders key information needed on a daily, weekly, and project basis. We’ve identified key tools and relics to ensure work is tracked and communicated for a successful project.

Project Board

The source of truth for all that’s going on in a project can be found on the project board. Upon creation of the project board, ( we have templates setup for marketing sites vs product development projects) information about tasks to be done, important client information like assets, and relics like the roadmap and schedule should be located in the project board. The project board is to be updated daily based on any activity or updates. It’s the central tool used for all that exists in a project.

Using A Project Board

Story cards

Story cards are the main capture mechanism of information on the project board. Once created, a story card can hold information about a task, user story, conversation, update, etc, all depending on how your board is set up. Moving the story cards through the different lists on a project board signify the project flow of tasks and user stories.

Lists

Each list on a trello board represents a part of the process for tasks and user stories. For most projects, we follow the agile process so the lists are as follows:

  • Icebox: Often times contains notes, or important information on cards that don’t need to move throughout the board.
  • Backlog: Backlog is a dynamic list of tasks and user story cards. It contains a majority of what needs to be completed in a project. It’s dynamic because its constantly being prioritized based on resources, customer feedback, difficulty and etc. This list is prioritized on a weekly basis.
  • Next Sprint: Cards that are on the docket for next sprint.
  • Current Sprint: Cards that need to be completed for the current sprint. They are prioritized during sprint planning.
  • Working: Cards that being worked on during the sprint. They are assigned to individuals and are the main focus on standups.
  • Code Review/client review: Cards that need to be reviewed internally (design, pull requests, etc) or needs to be reviewed by the client.
  • On Staging: The list of cards that have made it to the staging environment. Most of the qa work is done on cards while they are in this list.
  • Production: Once a card had been qa and cleared in staging, its pushed live to production. This is where stakeholders get to see changes/additions/ stories in a live environment.

Labels

Labels are versatile depending on the project. They can be used to further explain the card, identify what epic they are associated with, it can even be used as a priority tool. This depends on the team and the way the pm wants to use labels. We’ve found success. Using

Reporting

One of our key values is transparency. To that end, there are a few things that should be updated weekly to encourage communication. It's best for the project manager to own this reporting and for it to happen at the beginning or ending of each week.

Tracking Time

We use harvest as a tool to track our time on a daily basis. This helps the project manager and the team have transparency on what tasks are driving the project forward. It also helps for the billing process. A best practice for time tracking is to add notes to each input so there’s more accountability and insight into where your team’s time goes to.

Budget

For most projects, there will be an initial estimate range (optimistic – pessimistic) and a median which we track to – this is usually defined during the sales process. Each week customers should be informed of how much budget has been spent and how much is left relative to the estimate. This should spur honest and open discussions about adjusting scope, which is the primary lever that can be used to control cost.

Roadmap Status

The roadmap should be a living document. Each week, the project manager and client should take a look at the roadmap on an epic level and discuss overall progress as well as adjust prioritization as needed.

Project Report Card

The project report card is an internal tool we use to get a week-by-week view of the health of a project. It should be completed each week by the project lead and discussed in the leadership meeting so that project or systemic issues may be identified and addressed. This should also identify potential talking points with the client.