5 killer tips for agile project management from our product experts
Some of the challenges keeping our CPEs on their toes is maintaining the pace of the project, managing resources and controlling the budget to achieve their software launch deadline.
Technical Content Writer @ Builder.ai®
December 2, 2019
At Builder, we constantly churn out impeccably useful software inspired by our customers’ ideas, all thanks to our customer product experts (CPEs). Under their management, the dev teams tackle serious challenges without derailing the success of a project. Some of the challenges keeping our CPEs on their toes is maintaining the pace of the project, managing resources and controlling the budget to achieve their software launch deadline. But how do CPEs at Builder doggedly ace this nearly impossible task, week after week? Today, we ask their tips and best practices. In this article, we provide an exclusive insights into the minds and strategic perspective of our Customer Product Experts (and one Senior Product Expert who’s seen and done it all) as they share their tips for agile project management.
Tip #1: Communicate, communicate and communicate a little more
“The most important part of any project is communication. Project delivery is as important as the project development journey, and communication channels define the quality of this journey, especially in the current scenario--where we all work with multiple products and communication channels at the same time. A well-defined communication channel helps everybody in the team avoid follow ups, manage their availability and hence perform their best daily--especially using the Builder delivery model.For example, in my projects, ‘scrums’ are sacrosanct. Even in a 17-member team, nobody is ever late for scrum. We have collectively dedicated this time for daily queries, and this discipline really helps in aligning any new requirements from a client on short notice. At Builder, we have some really helpful internal tools of communication and I use them extensively to streamline my work and it makes my life much simpler.” – Yogita, Customer Product Expert
Tip #2: Set realistic expectations
“Setting realistic expectations is an important key for any project delivery. Expectations of all stakeholders must be carefully identified, communicated and managed. Missing this can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and even project failures. But setting realistic expectations from the beginning will help you to manage and deliver a quality project.To give you a real-life example, by setting realistic expectations with a client, I recently delivered one of my most critical projects before deadline and even gained another software contract from the same client who was pleasantly surprised.” – Manish Batra, Customer Product Expert
Tip #3: Don’t try to be a hero
“Firstly, always understand the project and its scope--don’t forget the key valuable functions you are delivering to your client. Anticipate challenges and don’t assume anything! Instead, verify and take actions with the support of your team of experts. Don’t be shy; be demanding with the project team and the client. Across our teams we’ve found this to be a good approach: “We agree on what we do and then we do what we have agreed”. Most importantly, don’t try to be a hero and do everything yourself. Instead, rely on your project team, share ownership, clarify the purpose and set clear rules that’ll help you deliver each project impeccably.” – Remi Amphonesinh, Customer Product Expert
Tip #4: Hone your listening skills
“I think as a customer product expert, the most important thing I can do that improves my projects is listen. By this, I mean actively listening closely to customers. This helps to tailor their solutions and make them even better than they envision. Knowing how my customers are thinking is one of the most important things I need to create the best product possible for them. Taking time to listen also allows for better collaboration. It uncovers unknown issues quicker. I do my best to create a positive collaborative environment with my project teams, and I think part of the success is taking my time to hear everyone out clearly.” – Drew Jayhan, Customer Product Expert
Tip #5: Put your customer first
“Maintain transparency with your customers, no matter what. Some people may disagree with this approach, but trust me, if you keep them apprised of project progress even when it’s bad news, they would appreciate it. Secondly, keep yourself on track with the roadmap. This will help you to maintain a proper sprint plan, thereby keeping you ahead of your timelines. Thirdly, do not hesitate to raise concerns if you aren't in agreement with a customer's plans or their roadmap. Be open and share your thoughts. Make sure that you keep all communication--verbal or written--documented so as to avoid issues later. And lastly, take ownership of everything. If you’d like to be appreciated, be prepared to take charge of escalations, too!” – Priyanka Kochhar, Senior Product Manager
One thing is for sure: When you choose Builder to build, run and scale your ideas, your projects are spearheaded by the very best in the industry alongside a global team of developers and creatives. Builder Studio empowers you to design your idea (no matter how small), and our human-assisted AI manages the process (thanks to a Capacity Partner Network of 75,000 technical and creative resources across the globe and our AI-powered platform).Done building? Move onto Builder Cloud which brings you multi-cloud access in a single platform with fine grain analytics, DevOps automation and commitment-free cost savings. Our human-assisted AI works in the background to buy forward capacity from cloud partners including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Digital Ocean and others to ensure we can provide you with capacity—exactly when you need it, and at the best price possible. Want help after build? Builder Care is a service that proactively updates your app, so you’re never blindsided by 3rd party changes that could easily bring it all down (like Facebook API updates for example). Even if it means an app needs to be totally rebuilt (something we can do effortlessly as we’re always updating the core features your software was assembled from).
Erica Grigg is our Global Lead of Digital at Builder.ai®, where she's been on board since August 2018. Previously, Erica Co-founded a media startup, co-authored a book on Facebook and worked with numerous businesses and non-profits, including the World Wildlife Fund, the United Nations and Comcast. She's happy to share her lessons learned and best practices yet to be developed on the Builder Blog. Follow her on social media @EricaGrigg on Twitter and at linkedin.com/user/ericagrigg.