We have been working remotely for over a year now, 15 months in fact, since the office was last manned, apart from picking up snail mail.
At the time, the absence was voluntarily driven by circumstance, and covid was insignificant, a month away from morphing into a life-changing event.
March 2020 arrived, and we realised that we were not going back for a while and only then updated our blog to reflect that on March 17th.
Web development Projects in Hand
We have been fortunate because we have been busy designing and developing websites and online solutions for existing clients, and new projects have come our way.
When office-based, working in a team daily, managing project workflow, random requests from clients, planned maintenance, and handling new project enquiries, it all hangs together to a certain extent utilising custom-designed excel worksheets and a plethora of other tools.
Still, we were always looking for a shiny new program that would do it all for us so that we could get on with the day-to-day web design and development business.
Out of the office, it's a different story.......and nobody brings cake or doughnuts.
Web Development Communications:
Trying to communicate as effectively as before has been a challenge that we have met.
Zoom took over from face-to-face client meetings and, to a certain extent, in project development with the team.
Loom has been really good for highlighting walkthroughs and system features to clients.
Whatsapp has always been handy and remains so at a local level, and I personally could not be without it at a social level.
Still, new systems have been adopted to manage more effectively, with the implementation of the Asana project management app after reviewing several well-established products on the market.
All of these apps are great in their own right, but even a trial means you have to invest time and effort, and once you are sure you want to trial it, then you and all users have to stop using systems that have become second nature to make the trial effective.
Most of these solutions have a lot of features that are not always apparent at the outset. Between them all, there is a trade-off, and you have to prioritise what is most relevant to your operation.
Seamless Web Development Project Management
The key objectives were to ensure that all data, updates, and resources were in one place and that access to content was permission-based, i.e., it may not apply to all users now, but will be next week and that access can be managed by literally associating the staff ID to the project, or to a task within the project.
Project Status and Dependencies
In addition, we needed the current status of all projects and all contributors to achieve the various project milestones.
More than that, we needed to have people working on a specific task within the project to communicate specifically on that task without needlessly involving everyone else with round-robin emails.
We now have contributors' dependencies identified to ensure that everyone is aware, at which point their role becomes pivotal in progressing the timeline, a bit like passing the baton in a relay race except that it is linked to everyone's calendars.
Asana sends automated internal notifications of the change of task status from "waiting" to "in progress" to "complete," which are invaluable as now 9 to 5 is replaced by flexible working and daily updates on scheduled tasks as they mature.
We are still learning about this tool and have definitely not explored all its features, but so far, Asana is working really well as we have adapted to working from home.
For a Project Management Program specifically for Web development, we also looked at:
- Could we export our data -If the outcome of the software trial is that it is not suited to our purposes, we need to export data.
- Does it integrate with other apps in areas that it does not address?
- Does it work across IOS and Android - This is a big deal for us as the web developers work on Windows and the web designers and project management work on Macs.
- Is it a CRM?
- Is there a messaging app?
- Does it feature email integration, i.e., Gmail?
- Can everyone access information if they have an internet connection?
- Is it GDPR compliant?
- How much time to set it up
- Is it easy to use - How intuitive is it?
- Can you collaborate on it?
- How much support is there?
With vaccinations being complete by 1st July, we are looking to get back in the office.
Bring on the doughnuts!
Some resource for you:
Asana: Project Management for small to medium-size businesses with a free version https://asana.com
Loom: Create and send a video on the go; it works straight from your browser then automatically provides a link for you to share with other folks. It also lets you know when your video is opened.
I use this to give clients a walkthrough of bespoke content management systems and processes that we create for them.
You can voice over, share your full desktop screen or a specific window that is open on your screen, and record a video of yourself only or a combination of the two.
This also has a free version: https://loom.com
Zoom: I have never lost video or had any buffering when conference calling with this app.
Come to think of it? Is there anyone who has not heard of Zoom? Why am I writing this?
And yes, a Free Version: https://zoom.us