Why You Should Have a Project Manager for Mobile Development

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Mobile app development is a highly complex process involving multiple moving parts. However, many businesses—especially smaller companies and startups—aren’t aware of the critical role that project management plays. Instead of dedicating mobile application efforts to a single manager, they disperse tasks throughout their teams and hold them each accountable for a piece of the pie.

While this may seem productive in theory, it doesn’t bode as well in practice. The primary purpose of project managers is to grasp a high-level overview of what’s happening with any given project, and to serve as a liaison between different departments, investors, freelancers, and much more.

Cost is a huge reason why more companies aren’t investing in project managers the way they should be. They believe that project managers don’t have the clear, tangible benefits that others on the team do: they aren’t writing code, designing graphics, pitching the product. Because of this, it’s hard to understand exactly what project managers bring to the table.

However, the benefits of project managers far outnumber the cons. Here’s why you should hire a project manager for your mobile development project:

Understanding Project Management

According to the Project Management Institute, project management “is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.” All the processes between monitoring and delivering a final project fall under the project management umbrella. Those processes fall into five main areas: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. It also draws knowledge across ten key areas:

– Integration
– Scope
– Time
– Cost
– Quality
– Procurement
– Human resources
– Communications
– Risk management
– Stakeholder management

Why a Mobile App Is Important for Businesses

Businesses that don’t already have a mobile application to complement their online presence should highly consider developing one. This is especially true for ecommerce businesses. Mobile apps can help you increase app retention by as much as 4x with push notifications; can enhance your customer service capabilities; provide businesses more data (making their marketing efforts better targeted), and increase customer loyalty.

Furthermore, the majority of Google searches are now coming from mobile devices rather than desktop devices. Cyber Monday is a steadfast example of the power of mobile commerce: Cyber Monday generated $2.2 billion in sales, processing more smartphone-based transactions than the Web.

As previously mentioned, designing a mobile application involves all the processes that lie within project management boundaries. An online store isn’t just about promoting products: today, customers are looking for a great experience on par with stellar service.

First and foremost, a PM will develop a detailed, actionable plan about where the project is going and what methodology will be most likely be used to achieve those goals (agile, waterfall, scrum, etc). An initial kickoff meeting will help everyone on board understand what the plan is and how everyone can work together to achieve that plan. During this time, the team will learn about the deliverables and goals, key success factors, communication plan, and more.

Benefits of Project Managers

– Accurate Decision Making
There are ample benefits of project management. Walt Disney once famously said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal.” Project managers use proven techniques and management strategies to guide a team through several decision-making processes.

According to Lucidchart, a company that offers collaborative diagramming solutions that make it easier for businesses to make smarter decisions, says, “Whether you manage a small team or are at the head of a large corporation, your success and the success of your company depend on you making the right decisions—and learning from the wrong decisions.”

The ability to use tools and tactics to make the right decisions is imperative; it can propel or stall your progress. Project managers are also realistic in their decision-making and goal planning. This is great for small businesses and startups who tend to veer on the idealistic (read: unrealistic) side.

– Risk Management
Risk management is also key in ensuring a successful project. Many businesses struggle to fully realize the scope of a project in-house, and being too close to that project—or too emotionally invested—can cause staff to overlook or completely miss warning signs and opportunities. A project manager builds out a plan that analyzes potential risks to help mitigate them.

– Manage Complex Projects
Project managers are often up to date with how to use different applications and cloud technology to streamline mobile development planning. They know which project management platforms (like Asana, Trello, Github, etc) will keep everyone in line, as well as how to leverage them to their full benefits. This is especially important for larger, complex projects like mobile development. For example, if a startup just received money from an investor to help build their mobile app, it would take plenty of planning and resources to decide the best ways to allocate that money, where new hires should be made, etc.