Hey there, welcome to this blog where you will learn everything about IT Project management.
So what do you know about IT project management?
You are in the right place because this is the most informative guide on IT project management, and by the time you are done reading this article, you will understand the methodologies, challenges, and phases, as well as and how to manage IT Project Management,
In this guide, you will learn about the following things under IT project management:
Let’s delve into it right away!
IT Project Meaning
Any project related to IT infrastructure, computers, or information systems is an Information Technology(IT) project.
Great examples of IT projects are web development, mobile app development, software development, network configuration, hardware installation.
Software implementation, database management, and emergency data recovery.
IT Project Management Meaning
What is IT project management? ITPM involves planning, scheduling, execution, monitoring, and report presentations of IT projects.
IT has been embraced by many industries, unlike in the past, where it remained in industries that exclusively focused on IT.
IT project managers have hectic days to deal with, such as risk, software updates, interdependent integrations, scope creep, and a lot more.
This is why IT projects will require more than just the usual project management tools and skills for successful completion.
For an IT project to succeed, essential functions must make every process move smoothly.
These essential functions are made possible by resources such as specialized management software and Kanban boards, reports, Gantt charts, and dashboards.
The IT Project Phases
An IT project has six phases where processes must pass through for successful completion, and they are as follows:
This is the first phase where the project’s objective is identified.
What follows is a project proposal that includes a business plan and clearly and in detail explains the project needs.
A feasibility study must also be done to ensure no loopholes exist with the proposal.
The proposal must be approved first before the definition phase begins.
The project’s objectives are finalized at this stage, and the project’s requirements are also singled out.
The project scope is also detailed, and the project plan could also be in the making. Budgets for the project are created, and the resources are also identified.
During this phase, the project team finds the best solution to aid in goal achievement.
Prototypes and multiple designs are created during this phase.
The best design is then chosen, and the specifications are set and shared with the development team.
In this phase, tasks are assigned to the development team, and the right project management tools are identified.
Any arising technicalities are discussed, and all the required resources are requested.
The major aim of this phase is to ensure that the whole plan is clear to everyone and that no arising issues will negatively affect the implementation phase.
This is the phase where it drags out, and the process is the longest of all, which comes as no surprise because this is where the real work happens.
It is where that final part of the project is developed.
During this phase, the project team is dedicated to completing tasks, and the manager is always in control and monitors the resources, quality, cost, and risks.
The Follow-Up Phase
After completing the implementation phase, the stakeholders get to view the final project.
Once the project has been delivered, any work that comes afterward entails the follow-up phase.
The follow-up could be setting up support teams, creating a postmortem, offering training to the end-users, and eventually, the end of the project.
IT Project Manager’s Roles
The IT manager oversees the IT department and manages the teams in charge of project execution. He ensures that the IT project stays within budget and schedule.
For the IT manager to thrive and carry out their duties perfectly, they must have great knowledge of computers, various operating systems, network systems, and other administrative skills such as budgeting, resource planning, and scheduling.
They must have great communication skills, among other soft skills, to help them explain any complexities when required to.
Note that project managers in other industries require a similar skill set, but the IT project manager is unique because they are mostly inclined towards the IT needs of a company.
However, one thing they have in common with the other project managers is that they manage their duties and responsibilities using effective project management software.
An IT manager has the following responsibilities.
- Sets the project’s goals and comes up with plans to meet them.
- Ensures the project stays within budget and completes on time, while regular status reports are generated.
- Manages resources such as team members, equipment, and other resources.
- Assigns the tasks to the project team members.
- Creates effective strategies to ensure timely project delivery within the stated budget.
- Uses IT project management tools for progress tracking and performance reviews.
- Risk assessment and prompt responses.
- In charge of regular meetings with stakeholders and project team.
IT Project Management Software Meaning And Benefits
This is the software IT managers use to control and organize the IT project’s processes.
Like most software tools, the main purpose of the software is to increase efficiency.
The users of the IT project management software gain access to features useful in monitoring and tracking project performance and progress.
This ensures that the project’s tight budgets and schedules are adhered to, and a successful project is the end result.
Most IT project management tools are common features such as task and time tracking, unlimited file storage, real-time data, multiple project views, planning, reporting, and scheduling.
Microsoft Project is an example of a popular project management software that offers such features.
Whatever information technology project management software you decide on, just make sure it makes the project process easier.
Your tasks should be easy to organize, scheduling execution should be a piece of cake, and everything should be within budget courtesy of the management software you use.
Valuable software is what keeps the project team and stakeholders connected and on the same page.
Here are more benefits of using the ideal IT project management software.
- Easy to use Gantt charts to plan waterfall projects.
- Offers real-time status via real-time dashboards
- Successful portfolio management of various IT projects
- Data-rich reports are generated in one click
- Tasks are closely monitored via time spent on each
- Easy to use Kanban boards to customize workflow
Managing An IT Project
There are various ways to manage an IT project, but most aspects of IT project management are universal.
The steps could be different, but the project direction is the same.
Managing an IT project is a step-by-step process, and project management software plays a major role in the whole process.
Here are the steps of managing an IT project and ways that project management software could be useful.
Identify Requirements And Collect Them
Paperwork is the first thing needed before a project begins.
The scope must be defined, a budget created, and stakeholder requirements identified.
These requirements must be compiled and linked to the project on the software, which happens to have unlimited file storage.
Careful Team Selection
After compiling the project’s requirements, the next step is to create a team rich in the skills and experience required to complete all the tasks that come with the project.
You can then easily add your team members onto your project management software to make communication easy and track the assigned tasks’ progress.
Utilize The Gantt Chart
Adding tasks in a timeline, linking dependencies, setting new milestones, and viewing the critical path can all be done so easily by using a Gantt chart.
There are fully-featured online Gantt charts out there that are user-friendly for project managers working on projects in a waterfall scenario.
You don’t have to get the whole team using this plan, but as a project manager, you can use it and then share the data across multiple project views such as task lists, Kanban boards, and calendars.
Utilize The Kanban Board
The Kanban board has been very instrumental in controlling workflow during project progress.
Using Project Management Software, you could easily create workflows, execute sprints and incorporate the agile framework without interfering with the Gantt plan.
The Kanban board can help you keep tabs on the whole project and, with a glance, tell the progress.
Monitor Your Progress
When the project is already in execution, the real progress must match the initial progress plan.
With a real-time dashboard feature on your project management software, it is easy to collect data as soon as it is updated.
Everything is then displayed in charts that indicate costs, tasks, etc.
Project tracking then becomes a piece of cake.
For most IT projects to succeed, smart workload management is a must.
Look at your team and note if the members have too much on their plate or too little.
You must then avoid scenarios of progress slowing down.
From the project management software, you can tell who has too many tasks, who took time off, and reassign tasks where you need to.
Adhere To Change Requests
Most IT projects are prone to changes, especially change recommendations from stakeholders.
When you adopt a friendly IT project management software, your team can adopt flexibility easily.
When the date of showcasing deliverable changes, it becomes easy to adjust the task’s new deadline on a Gantt chart.
Such a change and any others you make reflect throughout the project thanks to the software that updates changes across all platforms.
Utilize The Reporting Feature
Tracking progress is a great part of project management, keeping all the stakeholders updated.
Most software will come with useful reporting features to make this very convenient.
IT project reports can be easily generated, and the in-depth reports they give will keep everyone abreast of project status.
IT Project Management Challenges
Challenges exist like any other project management exercise, and IT project management is no exception.
This is the case especially since IT project management often ends up brushing shoulders with other aspects of the organization like finances, human resources, other departments, and aspects of the organization that are not part of the organization.
This can result in a plethora of issues that can bring the whole project to a standstill.
Here are the challenges that IT project management poses.
Rapid Technology Change
IT is known as a volatile industry with a dizzying rate of change.
Technology begins updating the moment it has been released, and an IT project manager might experience urgent needs for change in the project.
Technology change means that every IT project manager must be prepared for, embrace, and make quick changes to deliver a relevant product in the end.
Communication between project teams is a common problem with most projects.
However, with IT projects, the scenario of distributed teams with others working remotely is not uncommon.
When the remote teams have members in varying time zones, this complicates matters even more.
The solution here is having effective channels of communication.
Finding the best channel can be tricky, but it has to be done if any IT project needs to be successful in the end.
The Transparency Issue
Transparency during information technology project management is very important but often a huge problem.
The transparency that outlines deadlines keeps everyone on the same page and enables teams to effectively work with new technology and make responses.
Quick changes must be achieved for the success of the project.
Embracing work methods that can help achieve transparency is strongly encouraged, and it is up to the IT project managers to realize how best to overcome the transparency hurdle.
Failure Of Methodology Agreement
Many organizations fail to embrace IT project management in their current projects, which is a grave mistake.
When a project is minus a methodology, issues such as overspending and projects going off-track and fizzling out become common, but this can be solved by having an IT project manager who understands the process, roles, and the best tools to steer the project to success.
When an organization agrees on the best methodology with the help of an IT project manager, then success becomes a great possibility.
However, if no such agreement is made, a series of failures might be inevitable.
Methodologies Of IT Project Management
With the array of project management methodologies, project managers can get mixed up which is the best for managing their current projects.
For that reason, methodologies lie between two major categories, which are the traditional and non-traditional methods.
Here are the types of methodologies whose approaches are ideal for IT projects.
The Waterfall Methodology
Most IT projects work with this methodology despite being a project management method commonly used by huge projects that are not within the IT industry.
Still, it is a methodology that has resulted in great success for linear and formal projects.
Waterfall methodology has been in use since its inception in 1970 by the brilliant Dr. Winston W. Royce.
It is a very rigid type of methodology that only allows forward progress of a project with no room for changes to previous phases unless the project begins again.
It might seem inconvenient to most IT projects, but it has worked effectively for those that it has worked for.
Agile project management methodology is the best for software development projects.
Projects use the agile framework, which has an iterative approach defined by short sprints.
It is a methodology that adapts to any occurring changes during a project, offering great flexibility and making necessary upgrades smooth.
Many IT teams find agile and most implementations quite convenient to their projects.
It is a popular methodology with IT teams and more popular than agile.
This methodology is a mix of both waterfall and agile to create this flexible but structured approach to successfully manage IT projects.
Of course, the project parameters will determine if a hybrid approach would be the best. It all boils down to project needs.
The Other Methodologies
Some methodologies are not commonly used in IT projects but are still very effective in the instances where they have been used.
The Critical Path method is one such methodology, and it is known to categorize tasks that are completed for the project’s goals to be achieved.
This is achieved through WBS(work breakdown structure), which effectively singles out tasks that need to be prioritized.
The problem with this methodology is that delays are a common occurrence that can greatly inconvenience project portfolio management.
Tools For IT Project Management
With the best tools in place, any challenges experienced during projects are effectively dealt with.
IT project managers can effectively control their teams, processes and monitor progress.
Here are two of the best tools for information technology project management that all IT project managers should note.
Most project management methodologies use Gantt charts to curve project timelines, link tasks, and assign tasks.
Online Gantt charts are very convenient because they can be shared with teams allowing effective collaboration as the project progresses.
Live Reporting Dashboards
A live reporting tool is important for giving project status updates.
Details of project progress are projected to the team as they occur.
Some information can be filtered, and project managers can get the information they need.
The best thing is that the data can be shared with the IT teams and project stakeholders anytime.
IT Project Management Roles
So, what does an IT project manager do?
In IT project management, the roles and responsibilities are similar to other projects.
The IT manager is, of course, the person in charge of the project planning and execution.
But there are IT teams who execute different roles that are crucial to the project’s success.
These teams responsible for the execution of most duties are three, and they are as follows:
Traditional Project Management Team: This is the team responsible for the IT project.
The team is not exclusive to IT but is led and staffed by a formal project management methodology.
They are the project support team.
Professional Services Teams: This team delivers the technology to external customers.
This is made possible by software implementation or hardware installation.
The project manager runs this team which also uses the formal project management types.
Internal IT Teams: These are the teams in charge of the technology delivery and maintenance during the project.
They are the ones who launch new systems, set up the computer system, phones, and all the devices required for the employees to run the systems.
The project manager leads this team as well.
Career In IT Project Management
If you have ambitions to snag an IT project manager job one day, it is important to know how to get into IT project management and what benefits you will earn.
The salary in this field is between $55000 to $125000, which will always depend on the industry or region.
Also, note that the more senior you will get, the more salary you will take home.
Planning, project execution, monitoring, and reporting are all major responsibilities of the project manager.
So, is IT project management a good career? Let’s look at the skills and qualifications required to become one.
Skills And Qualifications
The IT project manager’s skills and qualifications are as follows:
- Technical Management
- Well-versed in technology
- In control of an ever-changing industry
- Data analysis skills
- Communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Power team creation ability
- Data center management
- Budgeting skills
- Strategic planning
- Quality management
The best way for an IT project manager to be up-to-date on relevant skills is to gain certification.
Most IT managers have attained at least a bachelor’s degree in business management.
Some might have degrees in more specific areas like computer science or engineering.
But if you want to stand out from the crowd, earning certifications is the way to go.
IT manager Certifications teach more specific courses.
You get to learn specific things such as how to manage project management risks in IT projects and more things that would be instrumental in making you the best IT project manager.
The Project Management Institute(PMI) offers industry-recognized certifications focused on project management, such as CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and the PMP(Project Management Professional).
More certifications would make you a more competent IT project manager and increase your chances of getting hired.
Choose one of those enterprise architect certifications that combine technology and business knowledge.
Find certifications that align with IT manager roles or the types of project management environments you wish to work in.
Information technology project management remains very relevant in most organizations.
We have seen what it means, the roles of an IT project manager, and how to succeed in an IT project management career, along with tools and how different methodologies are useful.
Project management for IT projects is no longer a mystery because now you understand how an IT project manager is essential for the project planning team in most organizations.
They possess great risk management abilities, further enhanced with IT project management tools.
This makes the project lifecycle short and productive with minimal challenges experienced thanks to effective resource management from the IT project manager.