POWER > Trends > Collaboration

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Good Project Management


Information technology has been growing and evolving for more than 50 years. Today, many clients expect IT to operate like a utility where you plug in to the cloud and immediately make use of a prepackaged combination of hardware, software and services. IT professionals, however, work with the complex reality of today’s computing challenges. IT solutions are often a mix of hardware from different suppliers, traditional licensed and open-source software, and a combination of in-house and outsourced services. This assortment requires the attention of a project manager to orchestrate the successful completion of projects and programs.

Project Management Challenges

IT project management can be very challenging and often requires a variety of skills. This is not to say that every project is challenging and deep skills are always needed, however, factors outside the control of the project manager can create barriers to success in almost every circumstance. Let’s explore three situations a project manager may encounter:

1. Get Organized: A project manager may be assigned to an activity that needs someone to get the effort organized. This might mean setting up a weekly meeting, inviting the right attendees, organizing an agenda, distributing materials and reporting to management. This reads like a junior project manager job, but the impact of this activity could involve something that’s financially very significant to the company, so staffing this with an inexperienced project manager would not be appropriate.
2. Support the Program: A project manager may be assigned to a work effort that has already begun and has no specific end date. Ongoing programs can be a lot like projects but often have significant differences. Unlike projects, programs frequently have team members who are not fully assigned to the program. Management expects them to help out but if you give them too much to do, you’re likely to get pushback. Also, it can be difficult to motivate busy people to give a high priority to assigned work that has no end date, so activities can have a tendency to be slow to complete.
3. Manage the Project: The best projects have a start date, dedicated resources, a budget, and an understanding that the end date will be arrived at through a process of planning and balancing of resources. Sometimes, a project manager is assigned to this kind of project, but frequently a project has challenges from the start. A common challenge is starting a project when the end date has already been established. When this happens, the project manager can struggle to lay out a plan that completes the project on time working with the project’s scope and cost. It’s worse when there’s a fixed end date and fixed scope. In this situation, the main variable you must work with is cost.

Today, many project managers are using tools that provide a degree of collaboration and integration that’s not possible with spreadsheets and single-user project management software.

Joseph Gulla is the IT leader of Alazar Press, an imprint of Royal Swan Enterprises. Previously, he was an executive IT specialist at IBM ending his 28-year career with the company in August 2012.


comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

Advertisement

2017 Solutions Edition

A Comprehensive Online Buyer's Guide to Solutions, Services and Education.

POWER > TRENDS > COLLABORATION

The Changing Business of IT

IBM Systems Magazine Subscribe Box Read Now Link Subscribe Now Link iPad App Google Play Store