Implementing project management processes within your company is an excellent way to keep workflow under control and improve productivity. Find out everything you need to know about effective project management with this introduction to IT project management.
The ultimate introduction to IT project management
Put simply, IT project management (ITPM) is the process of applying knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to complete a project according to specific requirements and achieving information technology goals. We live in a world where the global business environment is highly competitive, so delivering projects on schedule, within budget and aligned with business goals is essential. ITPM allows you to achieve all of these while simultaneously improving productivity, collaboration and efficiency within your business. Keep reading to find out all about ITPM and how you can benefit from utilising it for your next project.
IT project manager lifecycle
In order to execute a successful project, there are five phases of project management, which are:
The initiation stage is where all projects begin, and it is here where the value and feasibility of the project are determined. The ultimate aim of the initiation process is, therefore, to define the project. Before the project is approved or rejected, the following documents must be created:
- Business case: This is where you justify the need of the project, including analysing return on investment
- Feasibility study: Here, you are expected to evaluate the project’s goals, the timeline to completion, what resources are required and how much everything will cost
Once all of this has been done, and the project has approved, you can progress onto the next phase.
Now is the time to assemble a project team and start planning how to manage the overall project so goals can be met on time and within budget. Your project plan should include what resources are needed, financing and other materials. Most importantly, the plan should give the project team direction and the following:
- Scope: The plan should reiterate the need for the project and its objectives.
- Definition: This is where larger deliverables are broken down into smaller ones
- Tasks: By identifying what tasks are necessary to produce these deliverables you can also figure out if any tasks are dependent on one another.
- Schedule: Organise the project by determining the duration of the necessary tasks and setting dates for their completion. A schedule is one of the important features of a successful project as you can refer to it throughout the process and monitor your progress. By using a schedule, you can easily identify if you are falling behind on deadlines and then readjust the project plan to be more realistic.
- Cost: Once an estimate has been made regarding the costs involved across the project you can then formulate a realistic budget. It is vital that you try to strictly adhere to your budget in order to avoid overspending and causing complications for the entire project further down the line.
- Quality: Make sure the quality objectives are met throughout the project.
- Organisation: Organisation is key to a successful project, so this will include how progress will be monitored too. A lack of organisation is a common cause for failed projects, so make no stone is left unturned at this stage to avoid any disruptions.
- Staff: Finalise roles and responsibilities of the project team. It is important that the project team are all fully aware of their role and what exactly they need to do to achieve the predetermined goals and objectives. If certain team members do not know what they need to do or how to do it, the project timeline will be affected and could result in other members being inundated with unnecessary amounts of work.
- Communications: Decide how the information will be shared, with whom and with what frequency.
- Risk: Identify potential risks, how they could impact the project and ways they can be resolved.
- Procurement: Decide on the materials and work which will be contracted and define those contracts/who they will go to.
As you can see for yourself, this phase is quite intricate and could take some time. However, it is crucial not to rush this part of the process as extensive planning will result in a successful project with little opportunity for things to go wrong.
The execution phase indicates it is time to start the project. This phase is made up of these two detailed processes:
- Executing the plan: By following the plan you have created, you can assign specific tasks to the team member and monitor their progress. You can do this using project management tools such as project dashboard.
- Administration: This is where you manage the contracts secured in the project
Ultimately, the success of the execution phase will determine how successful the overall project is. Thankfully, the plan you should have already created in the last phase will keep you on track at all times and allow your project to achieve the objectives it is intended to.
Monitor and control
To ensure the plan is being followed accordingly, it is essential to monitor to project and make adjustments if necessary. To do this efficiently, follow these processes: Reporting, scope, quality, schedule, cost and risk.
The last phase of your all-important project is, of course, to close it off. It should be noted, however, that the project is not over until all goals and objectives have been met. Before you close off the project altogether, make sure all the deliverables have been completed as planned and all outstanding contracts and administrative matters have been finalised. Once this has been done you can then archive the paperwork and disseminate to the relevant parties.
Types of projects
IT project management can assist you with various project types, including, but not limited to, office moves, upgrading to a new server or network infrastructure and installation of a new phone system. No matter what type of project you wish to pursue, with managed IT services in Brisbane and Gold Coast your business goals will be achieved through the power of technology. Moreover, IT services will be able to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and guarantee to boost performance within your workforce.
If you are unsure as to whether your company can benefit from IT project management, here are just a few advantages you should be aware of. IT project management will help your business:
- Become more efficient
- Improve collaboration across and within teams
- Adhere to project budgets, schedules, and scope guidelines
- Have a more predictable project planning and execution process
- Identify and plan for risks
While ITPM offers many benefits and allows you to stay on top of workflow, the key to completing a project to a high standard is having a project team full of motivated and dedicated employees. It is not uncommon for workers to become disengaged in their job when it becomes repetitive, so to motive your team you should regularly share positive feedback, offer rewards for exceptional work ethic/work quality and even ask them what changes can be made to make their work life more enjoyable.
One of the most challenging issues of IT project management is the complexities and interdependencies of large-scale, long-term, diverse IT projects. Geographically diverse offices, remote work and rapidly changing technology (which leads to necessary mid-project upgrades that can affect timelines) are all also issues that may arise during the project duration that IT managers may not be able to deal with straight away. Although there may be unavoidable challenges with ITPM, being well informed of what they are beforehand, allows you to be better prepared to deal with them when they do occur. This will save you time and money and keep the process running as smoothly as possible. Furthermore, if you encounter a problem which needs expert assistance, you can always rely on IT support in Brisbane and Gold Coast to solve this issue and allow you to progress with your project without delay.
A successful IT project management
For IT project management to be a success, you should consider implementing the following actions during the five phases previously mentioned:
- During initiation: You should make sure you have fully assessed whether your proposed project is a good use of resources and if its outcome will satisfy your business’s needs.
- During planning: Ensure you have a good understanding of task dependencies and how the project timeline could be affected if these tasks are not completed when they intend to be.
- During execution: Over-communicate and host regular meetings to discuss the status of the project and any issues that may have arisen.
- During monitor and control: Check that you have the right project management tool in place that enables you to monitor progress in real time.
- During close: Do a project retrospective that answers what went well, what could have been better, and what you would so to improve your next project.
The importance of IT project management
IT project management is an invaluable addition to any company who wants to improve their efficiency, productivity and collaboration. As managed IT service providers, we assure you that your ITPM will be tailored specifically to meet your business’s goals and objectives.