Modern life relies on information technology. When IT works, everything hums along. But when IT fails, the consequences can be extreme. Companies can go under, government organizations can be compromised, and nonprofits can lose donors. If you work in IT, your job is to ensure that the work your organization needs to get done can get done. That’s why it’s vital for you to know how to properly manage an IT project. Here are some tips that can help you be successful.
One of the most critical phases of an information technology project happens before the project even gets started. To succeed at the end, you have to plan at the beginning. Rather than giving into the pressure to get moving immediately, you should spend the time it takes to agree on objectives, decide on scope, consider your risks, choose an approach, complete all estimates for time and cost, and obtain necessary signatures to ensure you and your organization or client are on the same page.
Once you’ve planned how you will complete the project, you can make sure you have the staff and materials you need to meet all the project’s objectives. This is not the time for guesswork. You should create a detailed work plan that covers all tasks and all material needs. For bigger projects, the time frame for completion may extend beyond what you can adequately plan for. In such cases, plan as far out as is reasonable. As you move into the project, you can extend the planning horizon accordingly.
It may seem obvious, but it should be said: as the project manager, you have to manage. It’s easy to assume your team has what they need and are completing the work as planned. However, such assumptions can lead to errors, delays, and cost overruns. You should review your work plan regularly and verify everything is progressing on schedule and on budget. Update the work plan as needed and adjust your team or their materials if necessary.
Don’t wait until your company or client asks you how the project is going. Make it a point to provide updates that include any changes in the schedule or budget. In some cases, you may need additional authorizations as you progress through the project. Do not hesitate in requesting these. Keeping your stakeholders informed of all complications can be the difference between your work being considered a success or a failure.
No amount of planning can foresee every problem that may arise. As the project manager, your job is to remain vigilant throughout the project so that you know when a previously unforeseen risk is imminent. By addressing a risk while it is still just a potential problem, you can better control the project and avoid the kinds of significant issues that can derail or delay a project.
A project isn’t completed until you make sure it works. Test all the ways your project is likely to be utilized to ensure there are no missing elements or glitches. Then, take time to evaluate the project. What went right? What went wrong? Are there any lessons that can help you be more successful on future projects? Those who don’t evaluate themselves don’t improve.
In addition to the steps above, you can increase the likelihood of IT project success by earning an information systems degree. A bachelor’s degree in CIS (computer information systems) or a bachelor’s degree in information technology (IT) can be particularly beneficial. To avoid having to pause your career to earn a degree, you might consider enrolling in an online university. With a Walden online BS in Computer Information Systems or BS in Information Technology, you can take advantage of online learning’s convenience and flexibility. Instead of leaving your job to advance your career, you can continue working while earning your bachelor’s degree.
Proper IT project management is vital to every modern organization. You can help these organizations succeed by using proper project management techniques, and by earning a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems or a Bachelor of Information Technology.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online BS in Computer Information Systems program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.