Learn how to manage IT projects by watching this short video. Jennifer explains how IT project management is unique and common approaches project managers use.
In Review: IT Project Management
Jennifer, who has a background in IT project management, reviewed five key issues particular to this field and that add to its complexity.
IT can encompass hardware and software projects, and drilling down into each of those specialties can be deep integrations, infrastructure, database management projects, and the IT list runs on. Complexity in IT is a given, particularly with the constantly changing nature of technology. Then there are other considerations like security and other industry related regulations that add to the unique operational aspects of particular projects.
Still there are plenty of commonalities among delivering IT projects, as Jennifer noted. They are:
- Multiple vendors or partners. Whether hardware or software, there are usually several external vendors implied in projects, ranging from technical components to APIs. Since each vendor or partner has their own requirements and constraints, it can be difficult to navigate these relationships and requirements. You’ll want to add time in your schedule for navigating these details.
- Changes. There are typically releases implied in IT projects, both with your own development projects and with integrating partners. You will need to keep in mind not only the latest changes, but potential upcoming releases that might impact your project closer to its launch date.
- Complex Dependencies. All projects naturally have a cadence where one task needs to be finished in advance of another. On IT projects, these dependencies are complicated by architectural development processes, testing phase requirements and the complex integrations mentioned above.
- Disaster Recovery. Each IT project is usually testing bugs, the requirements of which usually involve breaking what was built. IT systems usually are tested on dev servers, apart from “go live” servers, but back up server and disaster recovery mechanisms need to be build for the proper testing phase and then ultimate delivery of the new software. For hardware installations, given their interrelation with software, the same principles apply.
- Support. IT project management should integrate the planning for proper roll out and the support needed along the way. This might be the case for most projects to ensure end-user deliverability, but there are often distinct support processes needed to be planned at the outset of the project.
This is a high-level overview of IT project management. We hope that this has given you a helpful understanding of the commonalities inherent in all IT Projects. For a deeper dive, Texas Tech has put out a more detailed guide to IT project management practices, that we found quite useful.
Thanks for watching!
Pro Tip: Interested in becoming an IT project manager? Read our blog about how to become an IT project manager, and kick start your future in IT project management.
Hello. I’m Jennifer Bridges, director of ProjectManager.com. Welcome to our whiteboard session today on project management for IT, better known as information technology.
If you find yourself at the helm of an IT project here are some of the things we commonly find are five key issues and some other areas that make IT projects so complex. If you look at a project, as we remember a project has a specific beginning and end date to plan for, and it’s typically done to meet a business objective and produce a unique product or service. For each project there are business deliverables being generated, there are product or service deliverables being generated as well as project management deliverables. In this case the product being IT, information technology.
There are so many different areas depending on the type of IT project you’re managing. Some of the areas are firmware, the hardware if you happen to be dealing with a hardware project. There’s firmware or maybe a web or web site component, there may be content, databases, an underlying infrastructure that the IT runs on. There may be networks components or internet or any kind of network components. There’s a security aspect, storage and most commonly a disaster recovery area. Each of these deliverables or areas pretty complex in themselves. Many times the project manager may be managing the entire project so they may be managing someone who is responsible for the business objective deliverables, the product or IT deliverables as well as also delivering the project management deliverables. If they’re managing the entire thing they may be responsible for each of these components as well or there may be one or multiple people managing each one of these components or deliverables. With IT or information technology projects we find there are five key issues that are commonly encountered with these types of projects.
Number one, there are typically multiple vendors or partners. There are multiple vendors who may be supplying the infrastructure like servers or hardware components. There may be different vendors who are providing the databases or firmware, any of these components. There could be a different company vendor or partner with that for every different one there generally become different expectations. Each vendor-partner comes with their own expectations, their assumptions or constraints that must be captured and incorporated into the overall project charter or project plan.
Number two, changing versions and releases. As you can see there are multiple components going on and specifically with IT it changes so rapidly between hardware improvements or enhancements coming along, even the firmware or software. In the middle of an IT project, which can last some time, typically some of these things are changing versions or releases that have to be incorporated, constantly monitored because you don’t want to find yourself developing or implementing this on an old version that some things sometimes aren’t supported if they go so far back.
Then there are complex dependencies. As you can see, of all these components there are complex dependencies specifically the underlying infrastructure must be laid. Sometimes if there are delays or any kind of risk to receiving the infrastructure by a specific timeline that can impact some of the other deliverables. If the databases aren’t created or refreshed or populated in time that can impact other components. If the firmware’s out of date or sometimes has bugs many times teams may have one person who’s designated just to monitor bugs or bug fixes for the firmware and other components.
Then there’s disaster recovery. Many times disaster recovery, once the disaster recovery plan has been made, an actual execution of that has to be done to test it. There are some complex dependencies that have to be monitored and tracked along the way. Then the integrated testing. As each of these components are built out then there needs to be testing for each of these components but then an overall integrated testing; as you can see with the complex dependencies that can be difficult at times. Making sure all the people are available, your resources providing these areas are available at the time you begin doing your integrated testing.
Number five, most importantly, is the support. If you have issues with any one of these areas, that may be represented or provided by a vendor or another partner, making sure you have support so if something goes wrong, and you do have a risk or you do need something escalated, that they get escalated in a timely manner.
As you can see this is just an overall, high level pictorial of an information technology project and they can get very complex. Depending on which area you may be managing it gets very complex. These are some of the things we wanted to highlight, the key areas to look for and we hope this helps you out in managing your information technology project.
If you need a tool to help you manage the complex dependencies that arise on an information technology project then sign up for our software at ProjectManager.com.