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Project Planning for Web Developers

August 29, 2023
August 30, 2023
Episode Number:

Project planning sounds like it's the job of a project manager, but the truth is that a web developer interacts with so many parts of an online project that project management skills are crucial. When working as a freelancer, or for a small business, there might not even be a project manager on staff, leaving the web developer to manage their own team, time, and communications. Sprints/scrum and agile seem to dominate the project management space and have helped a lot of teams be successful, but as a project manager its important that you use what's right for your team. You might only be working with a few developers and a Kanban board (ie Trello) board, and if that works? Then why change it? In this episode, Matt and Mike discuss project management from the perspective of a web developer - covering how to manage stakeholders, communication channels, and organizational techniques.


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Show Notes

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What you'll learn in this episode

  • Tips on how to manage a project from the perspective of a web developer
  • How to get the most out of your meetings so you can save time and have less meetings in the future
  • Breaking the mold on project management systems
    - You might not have time to dedicated one full day a week to meetings


Why do you need to plan your projects?

  • Seems like an obvious question but more and more I see developers start without any planning in place
  • Planning will help you finish your project
  • Planning will set proper expectations on what can be done and when
  • Planning will result in a better end product
  • Whether it be a personal, client or internal company project you need to plan

How to set you and your team up for success

  • Start by identifying all stakeholders in a project
    - A stakeholder is anyone who is affected by the project outcome
    -- Can be a client, your boss, or a team/user that will be using your project
  • Setup a meeting with all stakeholders and align on one vision of what you’re creating
    - Gather requirements
  • Create a design document that outlines
    - Summary
    - Scope of work
    - Use cases and requirements
    - Phases and timelines
  • Get your main stakeholders to sign off on your document
  • Do not overcomplicate these docs, they should be a minimal representation of what needs to be built
  • You can add UML diagrams to clarify certain aspects of the project. For example, if there is a complex user flow for signing into custom auth providers you might want to create a flow chart and a sequence diagram to make visually clear how a system communicates and flows to successfully authorize a user
  • If your team if already familiar with most of the architecture then limit diagrams to as high level and on an absolutely need-explain basis

Sprints/Scrum or Kanban and why you need to do your own thing

  • The traditional project management systems are frameworks that have worked for certain teams, but that does not mean they will work for you and your team
  • Reading and trying the different project planning methods can help you get a better idea on what works and what doesn’t
  • Agile and SCRUM seem to be the industry standard but that doesn’t mean you should only use that. They require strong management skills and add meetings and bureaucracy to the development process
  • A simple Kanban board with continually updated tasks sorted by priority might be enough for your team to be productive. If they need extra guidance add it but don’t start with an overcomplicated system just because the industry forces you to.