Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tips for Managing IT Projects

By Ryan Sauer.

Managing IT projects has many similarities to other industry projects; however technical projects often require specialized skills to be successful. Understanding the project from an IT standpoint allows the project manager to recognize the possibilities and potential road blocks of the project.

As with other projects, knowing the characteristics of your team is important. Tech specialists have a reputation for being more introverted than their counterparts. However, they tend to be excellent problem solvers and more logically minded which is beneficial to any project’s bottom line.

Combining technical expertise with familiarity of the team will produce the best project manager for tech projects. An experienced PM should recognize the resources and potential barriers to determine a realistic action plan.

Maintaining focus on the management and leadership of your team, and staying aware of specific technical needs, you’ll be better able to manage scope and timeline of your project.

To stay on track you’ll need a well planned project, budget and your team. A few tips to manage your next IT projects include:

The Necessary Tool

First and foremost, your team needs to have access and availability of all necessary tools. This includes hardware, software and any other online or offline functionality. This will help streamline processes and minimize frustrations.

Define Project Activities

Using a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) can help identify tasks that flow within a specified timeline. Your WBS will depend on the best approach for your project, either phase or requirement based.

Many IT projects fall into the requirements based approach due to needs for documentation, analysis, tracing and prioritizing data. However, both approaches can work well within a structured IT format, depending on needs, resources and project specifications.

As always, clear communication of processes, developments and other project components are vital to your team’s success.

Develop a Dynamic Project Schedule

Prioritizing activities during project development will help shape the rest of the project. Creating a dynamic priority schedule develops well-defined policies forming an ideal configuration in self-sustained manner.

Identify Your Planning Methodology

Determine your planning approach, typical choices include the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) or the Rapid Application Development (RAD). SDLC otherwise referred to as software development is the process of producing or changing information systems and the methodologies and processes people use to develop these systems. RAD exercises minimal planning in favor of rapid prototyping.

Professional project managers can lead a team to success by modifying standard PM practices for the IT environment. By developing a structured action plan, identifying key problem areas and obtaining the proper tools for the job, your IT project can flow from planning stages to completed project successfully.

Ryan Sauer is a writer and editor for Bisk Education in association with University Alliance. His writing includes topics in project management such as online PMP certification that helps prepare professionals interested in project management to succeed. Through the University Alliance, Ryan writes to help enable professionals obtain project management certification.

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