I run a small - 2 Full time employee - web development company, with me being programmer and developer at the same time. We service a small number of clients (< 10), of which there is usually 1-2 new ones and the others are ongoing maintenance and upgrades for existing clients. Our billing model is purely time based, but a significant percentage of projects are fixed price based on a certain amount of scope.
We have a pipeline of booked work of ca 900h, this includes: - marketing overhead (small and automated) - administrative overhead (small, automated and outsourced)
Ca 180h of these are not "closed sales" however from experience I know that there will be an equal amount of unknown emergency work that will pop up to close the gap.
There is also ca 80h of "technology debt" that we are committed to working off.
We had this (pre-)load of work for about 1 year now.
In terms of project management: - we create written scope documents at the beginning of each project, most of our technology debt has been caused by a lack of scope formalisation - we track time very accurately (www.workflowmax.com - we track bugs and scope changes, but only internally and informally by email with clients (www.mantisbt.com) - we have just started to use www.liquidplanner.com, which has actually made visible how much work we have on.
Specifically on Liquidplanner, I only irregularly load new work on and review progress on existing work every 1-2 weeks.
My main concern is to create very predictable deadlines for our open work, so that we - manage client expectations and even longer booked out work pipelines - hire at the right time - predict cashflow better
What area of project management would you recommend to focus on to improve on predictability of when work gets done?
- More accurate capturing and estimation?
- more frequent/ more formalised progress tracking?
- more formal change management?