We continue our series of interviews with Agiliway’s Project Managers where they share their approaches and views towards project management. This time we talked about project estimation and how to establish proper communication with Anastasiia Zybinska. Anastasiia shared a story in IT and what she does to successfully perform the PM’s duties.
About her career in IT
My career in IT took off in 2010. I worked at a web studio as a designer and later switched to development. Then I decided to change the company and joined an international company that helped people all over the world with the arrangements of their travel documents. Initially, I worked with content, then moved to operations, and eventually became Team Lead of Support and Operations. My team was expanding and, as a result, I switched to the Product Manager’s position, which also included some Project Manager’s responsibilities.
I joined Agiliway almost a year ago. Since then, I’ve managed two projects here. The main reason why I decided to join Agiliway is the level of expertise. I admire people’s willingness to share their knowledge and that’s what I get here. There is always room for growth and huge support from the leading specialists. You get to do what you love and learn a lot, which is crucial for such a dynamic industry.
Knowledge-sharing at the IT Breakfast organized by the Chernivtsi IT Cluster
I like to learn as much as I like to share knowledge. Having the opportunity to get both is great. Working in this environment where you can always gain something new is amazing. And I was happy to see that not only PMs but developers and QAs as well joined us and talk about different aspects of project management. And we are preparing some more interesting stuff, so keep up with the updates.
On estimation process
Depending on the methodology, various projects are estimated differently. If this is a full-cycle development, it is important to cover all the details, so that technical specialists carry out their part of the estimation for the given project. Afterward, we get together, analyze and compare their estimates. This is one of the most important stages before the development process since all the aspects shall be considered to avoid issues down the road.
When it comes to partial development and we have sprints, then it’s necessary to bear in mind all the potential challenges occurring in the process like bug fixing or other minor changes. Then we already know how much time we’ll need to fix everything. Based on that we have to add a certain percentage of the overall estimated time.
About the relationship with the clients
To avoid miscommunication, all stakeholders shall be introduced before the project goes into development. Because, when it grows and new stakeholders appear, they are very likely to want to bring something new or have some different vision toward the project unlike the one delivered to the development team. So, getting all the necessary data is the major component of effective cooperation and, eventually, achieving the expected result.
As a Project Manager, you always stand for the team. That’s another important aspect of successful project management. We all know that clients sometimes want to introduce minor, in their opinion, changes and a PM has to decide whether the team is capable to complete that task within the defined period. We should be able to say “no” where it’s necessary. If the client is persistent then compromising is the solution. In my experience, we would change priorities and postpone a task for the sake of implementing the requested changes. I would not set up my team by agreeing to complete the task outside the project scope without talking to them. Having healthy communication with both client and the team is one of the keys to avoiding failures.
Tips and tricks to succeed during the project management process
Firstly, having all the aspects, processes and potential issues discussed at the very beginning will save you a ton of time and effort. At this stage, as I mentioned before, all stakeholders, consultants, and other participants of the process shall be defined, all their ideas and demands shall be considered.
Secondly, this is planning. For example, our architect prepares Gantt chart so that we have backend and frontend parts planned. Therefore, the client knows exactly what stage we are at and we usually don’t hear from them until the release. We usually have planning meetings with the clients where all the dates and tasks are discussed. Both parties express their suggestions, ask questions and discuss any changes that may appear within the process.
Constant interaction with the team and a trustworthy relationship are, in my opinion, what is important. We have built open communication so that whenever an issue occurs or a developer fails to meet the deadline, they always come in advance as soon as they see the problem.
About negotiating deadlines
Although all deadlines and release dates are prearranged, things do not always go smoothly and may require additional time. In this case, we reach out to the client and discuss what we can do. On the opposite, clients sometimes want to change certain parts of the solution, which also may lead to a longer development process. All these things are talked through, analyzed, and a final decision is made.