Task Management For Web Development
The most important part of our credibility as an outsourced digital agency is the transparency of our work process for our clients. As put by our technical lead, “It is essential to build a trustworthy relationship with your remote client, considering a number of iterations, transitions, and the depth of financial and temporal involvement you both commit to.” And once you’re there, it’s a huge responsibility. Luckily, there are some great tools available to help you deliver your intentions the best possible way.
There are two possible workflow scenarios when approached by a client:
- Result-centered. A product is evaluated according to the objectives statement made in the beginning. The main criteria are whether the end product meets the specifications and tasks initially provided.
Most likely, this model is instrumental for startup owners, aiming at building an MVP to then sell it. The client does not get deeply integrated into the workflow and only monitors the progress in terms of budget and deadlines. We will not be covering this approach today as it presents a different challenge from the one we are focusing on.
- Process-centered. This is the opposite approach in a way. It definitely is valuing the result as an end product, but it does not neglect the process, even the tiniest bit.
In fact, this is an approach specific for remote or extended team engagement model, where performance along the development process is as important as the outcome.
As a process-centered and transparent remote development agency, we are obsessed with cross-functional and versatile tools to help us through. With one of the most important indicators of effective development progress being task setting, it makes perfect sense that we’ve used multiple tools for issue tracking, project management, and syncing to develop a notion of what works and what doesn’t.
Tracking Progress And Time
We’ve been using Jira for a couple years now as our main task management tool and plan to keep using it further as it provides a lot of convenient integration opportunities one of which I’d like to share.
Transparent and accessible task management practice for a client includes complete control over the project’s architecture, monitoring, and prioritizing. With all of this being well executed in Jira’s core infrastructure, for our internal process time factor is also important.
We came up with a combination of Jira and Time Doctor with mutually smooth synchronization. As Time Doctor’s main principle is integration with other systems as a time tracking tool, it presents useful data to the analytical and monitoring systems. In our case, we extended our Jira case to four separate instances running simultaneously.
Time Doctor syncs with Jira to pull tasks from the common account and displays them on a desktop app so employees can contribute to the Jira tasks and quickly switch between them. The tracked time is sent back to Jira to create reports and esteems for each task/feature/sprint. It also provides desktop screenshots while the Jira task is activated and in progress mode.
This empowers clients to:
- Have complete control over the project’s workflow.
- Manage tasks responsibly based on the time/progress ratio.
- Control operations visually by viewing screenshots.
I feel like the most important part of the lessons you learn from any accomplished project is the perfection of your team’s skills. This only works with the optimized process throughout the company, including top-level management. Time-efficient policy in remote collaboration or as part of the extended team is an example of a viable business process.
The out-of-the-box solution that Jira’s developers came up with allowing us to run four instances and divide users (which now count over 100) according to their affiliation to different clients’ environments. The ability to integrate existing client’s Jira instances into the overlord system was a new experience and huge step up in terms of task management.
With Time Doctor’s functionality thrown into the mix, I feel like we gained total control over the operation transparency, allowing us not only to deliver products on schedule but also honestly evaluate individual performance of each and every team member.
In terms of high-level project management, Jira API can be used to create custom reports based on the internal data and the third-party data provided by Time Doctor.
We used Jira API and our specialty in the Ruby on Rails framework to make our Report Tool.
- Tracking project metrics.
- Drilling down to project details.
- Evaluate performance, project intensity, and manipulate human resources in dynamics.
Finding the way to optimize our team’s performance and increase credibility in the eyes of a client is part of the game of being in the business. What makes the journey exciting is the discovery of opportunities that are out there in a wide variety of forms. Seeing the potential in them, like we saw in the integration of Jira and Time Doctor might be the thing to give you an edge you are looking for. Our findings in project management with a bit of creativeness led us to over 200 happy clients, 60% of them being returning with over 120 successful projects launched.