5 project management techniques for successful IT projects
IT projects are often extremely complex, relying on interdependence between departments and technologies. As such, effective project management is key – not just to the success of the project, but also the efficiency with which it’s undertaken, and the willingness of staff across an organisation to engage with it.
As your IT project advances from concept to fully-formed reality, it’s important to establish best practices for project management, and a framework that you can rely on if things go awry. The five techniques below should form the basis of such a framework – ensuring that your IT project is seamlessly executed, and your objectives are met in a timely manner.
1. Resource and 3rd party coordination
Perhaps the core of effective IT project management is the smart allocation and utilisation of resources. IT projects require not only a great deal of technical expertise, but also the involvement of staff across departments, and often a substantial amount of capital. All of this has to be managed in a way that causes minimal disruption to the day-to-day operation of the business.
Good project managers are adept at orchestrating these resources. With the involvement of third-party suppliers – generally recommended for any major IT project – project managers often become liaisons, ensuring seamless collaboration and integration between the businesses. This creates a unified approach, and prevents any friction or misunderstandings that could slow the project down.
2. Risk and impact assessment
Any major project brings with it some level of risk. When it comes to IT projects, the risks are often amplified, as IT is so central to most of what modern businesses do. It encompasses everything from the website and ecommerce to office work and emails, meaning that any mistakes, outages or hold-ups can have a serious impact on productivity.
Introducing an element of risk management into your IT projects is a hallmark of best practice. Project managers should proactively identify potential risks and uncertainties that could disrupt your progress, both proactively (ahead of the project) and reactively (as it proceeds). By assessing these risks and their potential impact, project managers can create contingency plans to mitigate any potential setbacks, safeguarding the project’s trajectory.
3. Managed installations
The installation phase is a critical juncture in any IT project, and something that has to be meticulously planned and executed. As well as putting the new hardware or software in place – and the physical disruption this can cause – the switchover to new equipment or software can cause logistical problems, as well as issues when staff are suddenly required to learn how to use new systems.
The project manager should oversee every step, ensuring that installations are carried out seamlessly, with minimal disruption to ongoing operations. They should also consider the wider impact of the installations and project in general, coordinating with other departments to ensure that training and onboarding is undertaken for the new equipment or software.
4. Time management and planning
Time is of the essence in IT projects, and good project management will prioritise this. Without meticulous time management, IT projects are often subject to overrun, with installations being delayed and feature creep setting in. The result can be a project that, when completed, bears little coherence and little resemblance to the one that was planned, as well as increased cost.
Project managers should create comprehensive project schedules, setting milestones and deadlines that guide the project’s course. Importantly, they should also set strict criteria in terms of desired features and calculated expenditure that prevent the project from exceeding its original scope. This framework will ensure that the project progresses steadily, and meets key milestones without unnecessary delays.
5. Ensuring objectives are met
The core of IT project management best practice is a commitment to meeting objectives on time. As well as simply setting out and attempting to adhere to a schedule, project managers should define and take ownership of the project’s timeline. The emphasis here is on taking action, and stepping in when the planning from the previous step starts to go off the rails.
A project manager should have the confidence in their abilities and planning to make informed decisions, stepping in and taking action to ensure that strict deadlines are accomplished. These adjustments should be swift and assured, with a dedication to ensuring that the project stays on track, and meets its predefined objectives within the established time frame.
Incorporating these project management techniques into IT projects not only streamlines operations, but also mitigates risks and enhances outcomes. By focusing on resource coordination, risk assessment, managed installations, time management, and timely objective achievement, project managers can navigate the intricate landscape of IT projects with finesse.
The role of project management in IT projects should reflect a dedicated approach to IT, and one that embraces challenges and transforms them into opportunities. As technology continues to evolve, managing IT projects well becomes even more critical – ensuring that your business IT continues to support productivity, agility and growth.
At Sota, our experienced infrastructure consultants and project managers ensure that your objectives are met, on time and with minimum risk to your business. We endeavour to always implement rigorous processes, and project management best practice based on leading industry standards. Get in touch today to find out more.