When I was a new project manager, I had trouble separating my previous role as a developer from my new role as a project manager. What compounded my problem was that it was a gradual move, as the project I worked on started out as just me as a developer, and eventually led to me working as a project manager and leaving the technical details to the team.
Developers Choosing Technologies
I've tried talking to my team about the missed deadlines, and they say they need more time to study the development environment. We choose to use FuelPHP as our development framework.
You mention that your team is a bit inexperienced and that your team is using a framework that they may or may not have chosen. Since they're older, it's possible that one or more of your team members are more experienced as developers but simply lack experience with this framework.
Experiment to see how experienced the team really is:
Instead of choosing the framework yourself, involve the team in the decision. Since your job as a project manager involves documenting and making stakeholders aware of risks, the chosen framework represents a risk that the team could eliminate, simply by choosing a framework that is both right for the project as well as for the team.
In fact, as a project manager, creating the environment may not be your job. Instead, delegate this job to the team. This will allow you to focus on taking their estimates and creating and managing the schedule.
Deadlines Missed Due to New Features:
It sounds like some stakeholder in the project keeps adding in new features. Is your team estimating these features? Are you extending the project deadline as a result?
If someone keeps trying to add new features, you'll want to discuss this with the client and your managers. They'll need to decide which is more important, a timely delivery, or a recruitment website with all of the bells and whistles.
Your schedule should take into consideration that not every team member is a Full Time Equivalent employee (FTE). Instead, when creating the schedule, you'll need to take this into consideration. For instance, if you have two freelancers who both work only 50% of the time that the full time employees do, then you have a total of 3 FTE employees.
If your schedule goes over the deadline, the answer is simple. You must talk to the client and other stakeholders and do one of two things:
- Extend the deadline.
- Cut non-essential features.