The Biggest Mistakes Project Managers Make When Going Mobile

This is article is a follow up to Andrew’s article last week: The Biggest (Avoidable) Mistakes Leaders Make When Going Mobile

Death by committee

When I used to work with higher education institutions who wanted a mobile presence, death by committee was the number one killer of projects. Big egos, frivolous disagreements, and too many amateur cooks in the kitchen are perfect ingredients for wasting a lot of time and money and a slow painful death by committee.

Avoid getting too many cooks in the kitchen on a project. Establish ground rules around who needs to be involved and when. And clearly establish a process for making decisions when there isn’t a clear consensus.

Under-funding a project

Think about building an app like you would building a car. A car is a lot of parts put together in an intentional and cohesive way so that it can be driven. If you were trying to plan the budget for a car, you would do some research on each component or at least the expensive ones. You would add all of the components up and probably give yourself some wiggle room in case any of the parts turn out to be more expensive than you thought they would be. You would probably set aside some money to buy some nice-to-have components as well, things that you know are optional but that you would like to have. And don’t forget about regularly scheduled tune-ups.

Apps are no different. Do your research and budget for each of the major components of your app.

No Priority

A “priority” is the “thing that comes before.” There is a debate of semantics about whether you can technically have multiple “priorities” that I don’t care to join, but I certainly agree with the sentiment that if everything is a priority, then nothing is. When you are building something – whether it’s software or not – you need to decide what’s important to you (and therefore what’s not as important) and then let those decisions drive what you do and do not do. When it comes to mobile apps, defining two or three clear priorities (“things that come before everything else”) will help you make decisions with confidence.

Not having a really good project manager

Managing projects is hard work. Make sure the person managing your mobile app project is familiar with that concept.

Successful execution of a large project requires in-depth preparation and planning – especially if you are on a tight timeline. Mistakes in resource allocation mean that you might pay for idle development time before your developers have what they need from the architect to get started. You might not have your graphical assets at the right time or might pay for the visual designer’s down time. Having an experienced project manager who has the right team is essential to getting your app built on time, on spec, and on budget.

Hiring a Developer to do Project Management

There are many world class developers out there who can write great code. But it’s really rare to find someone who can not only write amazing code but also help you define and clarify your user’s problems, do great visual interface and interaction design to solve them, properly architect a technology stack to support the solution, deploy the solution to the App Store, market your solution effectively, be receptive to user feedback, and maintain your app over long term.  It takes a balance of several skills to ship something as complex as an iOS app so be sure to find the right team to get the job done.