I am working on a complex project in Android alone. There is no tech lead or any project manager to guide me about the project development. I have to interact with the client and do the work according to his requirement. This includes all coding. I even have to guide the one developer who is working on the back-end.

I want to make it work well with a proper planning and within the time line. So please guide me what guidelines i have to follow to develop that project? How/what project management skills should I apply to that project?

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I recommend:

  • Demonstrate your application to the customer often, and get feedback early.
  • Break stuff down into small tasks that you are very confident about estimating time for. This is key.
  • Focus on minimal functionality first - login, logout, visit home page, etc. before the real features.
  • Use an Agile methodology.
  • Talk to your client daily.
  • Use software that you, the client and programmer can share for tracking everything (features, bugs and Chores) such as Pivotal Tracker(which is my favorite), Trello, Jira or MS Project.
  • Make sure you have a contract.
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    A few things I'd add to Michael's list: demonstrate your application to the customer often, and get their feedback early. When possible, give them the ability to use it on their own time. It is very likely that no matter how much testing you and your fellow developer do, there will be things that your client will think to try that you will overlook. – Kyle May 10 '13 at 18:55
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    +1 very good point! Part of Agile but I also added it separately. – Michael Durrant May 10 '13 at 22:11
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    +1 for making sure to have a contract. I'd add: a contract stating what's considered the final deliverable and what's NOT a deliverable.. – Tiago Cardoso May 12 '13 at 2:05

You do have a project manager and technical lead on your project. For every project, every project role necessary is represented. In this case, there is only one person filling these roles: you.

You have been managing single person projects since you were six. You have more PM skills than you are giving yourself credit for. There are certainly techniques and ton more sophisticated methods taught in PM schools but a lot of this is putting a name and formality to things you already know and use on weekend projects at home and much of it is more useful for large projects. Rely on your instincts and intuition and get to work. Above all, keep it simple.

  • Well said, @DavidEspina – jmort253 May 8 '13 at 20:10

You are the project manager on this project. You need to plan, you need to allocate tasks to yourself and to your co-developer, and you need to manage the contact with your client. David Espina is absolutely right about that.

Every task takes time, and so you should plan accordingly. Client meetings, discussions with your colleague, and simply taking time out for planning and review are things that you should always allow for. Whether you have a documented plan or not (and I hope you do), you should not expect to spend 100% of your time on development work, otherwise you will never be on top of the job, and will always be playing "catch up". Far better to estimate that you need a number of hours each week for the PM work that needs to be done, and get that into your plan. If that means that your development will take longer overall than you had initially expected, you may have to make a tough call on how you handle that with your client. I strongly advise against compromising the PM part of the job, as that's the bit that will build and maintain the vital relationship with your client, and which will ultimately keep the client on-side and supportive.

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