Want to grow? You need project managers!

Written by

July 14, 2013

Many of Allshore’s clients are experiencing tremendous growth. Their Allshore software development teams do the tedious day to day coding of their projects while they run their business: they sell, land big contracts, get the project scopes, manage projects, and bill their clients. Everything runs smoothly onshore and overseas as clients double or even triple in size, increasing their Allshore team accordingly to cover all the new projects. This growth carries new challenges however that can turn sustainable growth into a run-away train if left unattended. As clients grow, increasing the number of developers employed is easy, but one part of the formula is too often overlooked: project management.

Allshore has been with a number of clients as they went from one-man shops to booming businesses and, because of our role within the company, we have a unique insight into how companies grow. We have observed a number of trends and come to identify many of the keys to success as well as the hurdles to progress. The main hurdle we have observed to sustainable growth is when companies don’t adjust their internal staff to handle their increased workload. Managing significantly more projects while running all the business-aspects of a company is challenging, and at a certain point doing it alone just isn’t feasible. Allshore’s developers can take care of all the work in executing a project while our onshore staff manages the HR and day-to-day functions of its developers, but it is up to the clients to manage projects and work with their clients, and management gets tougher as a company grows. Too often Allshore has seen project managers become spread too thin and projects suffer as a result. One-man businesses are so used to having to do everything on their own while Allshore handles the development, but as the business grows that just isn’t viable anymore.

So, congratulations, you’ve become successful; now go get some help! It’s time to get a PROJECT MANAGER.

Your Project Manager and You

Allshore can help your company grow infinitely, but only if you are able to manage the growth. And yes, I said infinitely. You can grow your business to any size you want and have as many Allshore software developers on hand as needed to do the work, but only if you have project managers to keep your company moving forward and coordinating your projects. Here are some things to consider:

  • We have found that on average it takes approximately one project manager to effectively manage a team of five software developers.
  • Your project manager must be onshore (in the same country as your company and clientele), understand your business culture and values, and be trained to do business according to your standards.

Software development projects rely heavily on strong leadership in order to be successful, and effective project management will save your company thousands, keep your clients happy and make you millions. They are the eyes and the ears of the project for you and your clients. A good project manager can spot a bad developer within a week and request a replacement ASAP, they have their focus on the projects and know where the projects stand, know when to ask the client for more time if needed, and when the client is scope creeping so you don’t lose money and time.

Roles and Responsibilities of Your Project Manager

  • Work with your development team to help bid on future projects
  • Fully understand each project and communicate regularly with the client to get full specs and changes in requirements.
  • Plan out the implementation of projects and collaborate with your Allshore Team Lead to assign tasks to each developer according to each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Actively monitor developers’ progress using Basecamp, Skype, GoToMeeting demos and RealVNC. Identify potential problems early and alert your Allshore CRM and Team Lead if a developer is not performing up to standards.
  • Set achievable deadlines and hold developers accountable.
  • Be outstanding representatives of your company to your clients and always try to uphold your company values

Keep it Onshore
Your project manager should not be outsourced. Allshore discovered this first-hand a few years ago that some parts of our business simply cannot be outsourced to another country. We tried to offshore our customer service department to the Philippines. The CRMs overseas were simply not connecting with our American clients and the complaints were rolling in. While some skills are universal, many facets of conducting business in the U.S. just don’t translate – some things require someone who has grown up with American culture that will have the insight to understand client needs without having to be told. Our overseas CRMs tried, but they lacked the intuition to provide the customer support we needed, so we brought our CRM division back to the U.S., hired a few local college graduates to assume the responsibility, and our client issues dropped drastically. Speaking from experience, it is well worth the money to invest in a strong onshorel Project Manager.