Managing outsorced projects: Wrapping up!

Part 1 – Introduction and Description of the problem
Part 2 – Requirements and you
Part 3 – Tracking Features and Bugs
Part 4 – The little black book that could
Part 5 – Your developers – Don’t be a prick
Part 6 – Wrapping up

oops, I completely forgot I still had to wrap this up. I even began work on a new article series already. (Closer to affiliate marketing bread and butter)

To wrap this up, I would like to reiterate the key points I was trying to make, review the concept of metawork and point you to some good literature on the subject of managing projects.
1. Outsourcing is broken
Well, not really broken, but it has difficulties. One side wants quality work for less, the other side needs money.  “Modern” bidding wars only aggrevate the problem.

2. Telepathy does not work
Make sure your requirements are up to the task.  They are the only way to communicate what you want. They are also your sole witness in a dispute.

3. Numbers are your friends
Numbering tasks, bugs, features makes it easy to track work.

4. The grimoire
Keep track of good and bad experiences to avoid getting burnt twice.

5. Be nice
Bonuses are one thing. Being nice to developers, graphics artists, writers, etc.. is even better.

Meta work

I use the term “meta work” to talk about things you have to do that are above the level of an individual project. The fact is that this work will take up a good chunk of your time once you start managing projects and people. And it should!

Meta work is thinking about the way you are working. Take a bit of time out of your busy day and reflect.

  • Are you communicating clearly?
  • What problems have occured and how could they have been avoided?
    (This is meta work, as there is no thing you can do NOW to avoid the problem, as it has already happened.)
  • Have I been friendly to people? Why not?
  • What do I need to know about? Is there anything I need to research?

I am a firm believer in the value of meta work. Any manager not doing this is a waste. In fact, even as a delivering worker, all your projects will profit from this practice.

Here are some good books now:

The Art of Project Management (Theory in Practice (O’Reilly))
This textbook is a good introduction into project management. Highly recommended and not as dry as most books on the subject.

Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction
Code Complete is a very technical book. You will benefit the most of this if you are a developer or if you are managing highly technical projects. Probably too dry for  a lot of people. Good nonetheless.

This about wraps it up, young grasshopper.

Good luck with your projects and… Have Fun!