Project Management Consider the (Out)Source


project-management-flow-chartInformation Technology (IT) doesn’t deserve the credit for starting the Project Management (PM) process, but no business unit in the enterprises has developed it more. Since computers were introduced into business, and more with the advent of the personal computer, a well-defined process has to be required to keep these tools effective. A skilled Project Manager can guarantee the vision and goals of the project are maintained. In addition, the Project Manager will mitigate security risk and effectively and efficiently use all available resources. They will communicate expectations of responsibility to all team members and make sure the project is completed on time and within the budget.

PM challenges for IT

One reason IT is so challenged with effective PM is the diversity of its projects. Every other business unit is dependent on IT. In larger organizations, the IT will be working directly with finance, sales and the executive suite at the same time. All these groups have unique expectations for IT. Finance may question why the department isn’t running on the latest version of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Sales may wonder how they can use the corporate email to communicate their products and services to their prospects. These requests, in addition to internal infrastructure repair services, keep IT departments overwhelmed and in a reactive mode. These unique and diverse requests have driven IT departments to develop and utilize different PM methodologies some of which are detailed below.

PM Methodologies

  1. Waterfall Method– The waterfall method is the most common PM methodology as well as the easiest to implement. Each step is developed in a logical order with one step leading to the next. The current step must be completed before the following step begins. Although this method is easy to implement, it can get complicated as the customers need change. A change in the customer’s needs can create a roadblock and set the project off track.
  2. PMI/PMBOK Method– PM has become so vital to all businesses that a Project Management organization has evolved, the Project Management Institute (PMI). Some managers have taken PMI’s conventions and used them to develop a methodology. Their primary conventions, or steps in the project process, are: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing. While this creates a very broad methodology, these five standards are universally accepted.
  3. Agile Method– The Agile method was developed as a software tool in the early 21st century. It was created out of the need to collaborate with your customer through the project process. Agile collaboration is valued over following a rigid plan. Project objectives are developed by the customer and the final deliverable will most likely change the process. Agile has many flavors, or sub-categories, of its methods. The most popular Agile framework to date is Scrum. Scrum is a team-based process with the team led by the Scrum Master. A Scrum Master’s primary focus is to support the team by clearing obstacles and making sure the work is getting completed in the most efficient manner. The teams meet frequently and will break down segments of the project into units called sprints. Agile, and Scrum, allows for flexibility and quick development that many times lead to a satisfied customer.

While all these methodologies will work in IT projects, each has its own set of circumstances where it is the best fit. Many articles have been written about PM and its methodologies including online training and certifications. This free information is valuable, however, the greatest value comes from an seasoned project manager that has experience with successful implementations.  Finally, the most important thing to know is that Project Management is a process, and as well know, processes can always be made better.

If you need assistance with your current IT project (Cincinnati or remote), please contact us:

.Jim Conwell (513) 227-4131

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