Can a Project Manager Overplan?

As a project manager, I’m always planning. I’m planning out full projects or working with a team to define the scope of a single sprint. Each day, I’m planning for the future, but I’m also developing mini-plans to weather the circumstances of the day. Everything that happens in and around a project is something to be measured, analyzed, documented, and woven into a project’s continuous fabric.

So, with all this planning, can a project manager ever do enough of it? Is the potential planning for a project infinite or will a PM always hit a point of entropy, after which any planning is just wasted energy spent on ineffective efforts?

The short answer is “No,” and the longer answer is “Gosh Yes.”

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“QA Will Give Me a Bug-free Website” and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

If you work for a large corporation or on a project with limitless coffers, you have likely enjoyed working with a dedicated QA team. You build the website or oversee the coding efforts then hand off your labors to a separate team who systematically kicks the tires and identifies bugs with your work, reporting back on everything.

But, for the bulk of web work, QA and testing is not done by a standalone team with that single purpose. Rather, it’s one of many hats worn by everyone on a build team. Whether you’re a developer or a designer or a PM, everyone has a role in the QA process.

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Mobile vs. Desktop: Focus on What Matters

I love all the talk and web strategy around the mobile web. Web professionals are making deliberate efforts to ensure that websites and web services are lightweight, accessible, cunningly planned to be fast and immediate, and generally mobile ready / mobile first / mobile mobile.

Still, I find myself getting more and more riled when I hear conversations around designing and developing for the mobile web. People really seem to focus on what a mobile user wants when compared to a desktop user. It’s partly because I am a cardiganed, word-loving, old fusspot, but I truly feel that the term “mobile” is distracting us from delivering our best work. And by “us” I mean Americans, because we don’t call our cellphones “mobiles.” When someone from the US talks about the mobile web user, we call forth someone in motion, ranging around the world actively, and likely running into bears.

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Estimate It Live

Often during a client meeting, there are times when a defined scope of work is hypothetically augmented by a simple “could it do this?” or “can it do that?” comment. Invariably, the answer to such inquiries is a “yes” followed by an immediate “but” (#newbandname #immediatebut). Unless the request is fully impossible—e.g. Can this website teleport me to a bouncy house containing a million fat-free-but-still-good-tasting all-beef cheeseburgers served on levitating golden plates of pure love?—with infinite time and budget, nearly anything is possible on the web.

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Interrogative Project Management: A Four-Sonnet Sequence on Task-level Discovery

Project management requires much asking
Of clients and coders for more info
So that a PM can get to tasking
in Basecamp, JIRA, or maybe Trello.

But before productive action can start
five basic questions need some addressing.
These W queries allow the heart
of a project to beat without stressing.

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What 2016 Could Be: A Sweeping Vertical Vision for Our Screens

Now that we find ourselves in a new year, many of us are looking back on what was and expressing aspirations for what could be, hoping this year to be better. And while it’s good to focus on realistic hopes for 2016, I’d prefer to dive into a totally unrealistic hope I have for all of us.

I wish that we would all position our computer monitors vertically by default.

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The Cost of a Basic WordPress Site

Stop me if you heard this one. A person walks up to a web developer and asks, “So how much would it cost for, like, a basic website?” We’ve all been there and have tried to explain that “it depends” without coming off sounding like a shyster.

“But you work with WordPress and I heard it was so easy you could use it right out of the box! I don’t want anything fancy; I’m just wondering what it would cost for a basic WordPress site.”

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What Is a CDN? A Simple Visual Explanation

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is becoming more and more commonplace in hosting plan offerings and a must for an business site. By hosting web content on servers that are spread across the globe, you can deliver content to any user faster by targeting servers that are relatively more local to them.

But if you’re like me, you are not overly technical; you get the concept of a CDN in theory, but do you GET IT get it? Here’s my nontechnical take on what a CDN is and why it’s a true benefit for any website.

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Front-end Spectrum

Before officially becoming a project manager, I used to be a web developer. And while I did hack at PHP and other back-end stuff, I self-identified as a front-end developer. But even still, I was nowhere near as experienced as a lot of other people with the same job title. I understood LESS and Sass but never mastered it. I could work with jQuery but could never write my own JS without a starting point of reference. I knew that there were many aspects to the front-end role, but mostly just thought of myself as lacking. Continue reading →