Boost your digital skills

4. Project best practice

Here are some ideas for meetings or activities you can plan to set your project up for success.

Last updated on November 4, 2021

What is it good for?

  • Making sure you've got good processes in place to enable your project to be successful
  • Setting expectations around communication and commitment with colleagues
  • Helping you to continue learning from your practice so you can improve continually

When to use it

At the start of the project - but it's never too late to start!

How to use it

Process is something that everyone always starts to yawn about when you mention it. However, getting the right process and structure in place before you get started makes for a solid project, so it's an important step.

There are a few different areas to consider before you kick off your project:

Meetings

  • Standups: Standups are quick meetings for your team to come together and each member to update on the following:
    • What you achieved since you last met
    • What you'll be working on today
    • Whether there are any blockers to completing your work
    • Following a structured and timed agenda means you can cover a lot in a short amount of time and know what others are working on. Depending on the project, we at CAST have daily or weekly standups of no more than 15 minutes.

  • Retros: Short for 'Retrospective', this meeting is a debrief in which you and your team have the time and space to look back over the last few weeks or phase of your project to openly discuss what went well and what didn't go so well. There are lots of different structures for retros, but one we particularly like to use is:
    • Liked - what went well
    • Learned - what did you learn
    • Lacked - what was missing
    • Longed for - thoughts or ideas that would make it more successful
    •  

      By holding a retro you can have some great open discussions and make some changes to how you do things in future.

      To make the most of your retro it's best to set the scene and frame the session as a team learning opportunity right from the start. You want to be clear that this is not about any blame. We recommend running a retro every month, or at the end of each phase of your project. You'll find a link to a simple Miro template in the 'Get the tool' section below.

  • Playbacks: Playbacks are an opportunity to gather everything you've learnt so far during your project and present it back to your team or stakeholders. It's a good way of showing your progress and getting input into any decisions you might need to make. Everyone will feel up-to-date with the project and will have a chance to have their say. At CAST we tend to a "playback" presentation at the end of each Discover, Definition, Develop phase, but you might also find holding them more frequently helpful. It's worth getting these in the diary early as they are important milestones for your project.
    • You can find the Discovery Playback template in the 'Get the tool' section below, and there's a tool here on the Digital Toolkit with more information on sharing what you've learnt.

Roles and responsibilities

If you're lucky enough to be working with others on digital in your organisation, it's worth setting expectations at the beginning of a project around everyone's roles and responsibilities. Documenting this on a shared document will ensure there's no confusion down the line and you'll be more efficient as a team.

Think about what are the roles that are needed in order to get this project done, then ask people to volunteer or put their names against those roles, based on their experience, interest or expertise.

Get the tool

Here's a handy Miro template you can make a copy of and use for your own retro:

And a 'Playback' presentation to share everything you're learning with your team:

Further reading on Project Best Practice

  1. Some top tips on how to run successful stand ups
  1. Here are 7 different formats of Retrospectives with templates on Miro that you can copy and use with your team - for when you feel more confident about running Retros