Re-Thinking IT Project Management

Is there anything we do in an Information Technology organization that is done uniquely?   Can you think of anything?  Neither can I.

Then why are projects being managed as unique one-offs?  Why are Project Management Offices (PMOs) using applications like MS Project or PlanView to develop unique project plans?  Users complain that these applications are too difficult to use and too manually intensive, and they are.  If senior leadership wants to implement and optimize processes, PMOs should be focused on processes and the continual transformation of processes, educating people on project management methodologies, and reporting.  Since nothing done is done uniquely, their time spent on managing individual projects would be better spent on defining, operationalizing and managing processes, which are managed as projects.  This is how you get to an organization focused on improving efficiency and lowering cost.

Our premise is:

  1. If you make project management easy enough and fast enough to use by everyone, project management techniques could and should be used throughout your Information Technology organization. It’s not only for large, costly projects, but for all projects; Development and Operations projects, and projects which cross organizational boundaries.
  2. Managing individual projects does not transform the organization. The time spent defining common repeatable approval and work processes and using these processes to manage projects through the project life-cycle will transform the organization.
  3. Scope, processes, project schedules, resources and cost are all connected. Management needs to be able to compare actual to baseline, for both schedule and cost.  Earned Value Management techniques should be the basis of your system but made easy because IT projects are much smaller than the very large projects for which EVM techniques were originally developed.
  4. Project plans should include no more than roughly 50 tasks. Any more than that, and they are too cumbersome to use.  Project plans with 500 or 1,000 tasks or more are overwhelming, are too difficult for management to quickly look at and understand, to know if the project is in good shape or not.
  5. Each person needs to understand how what they do, their task, fits into the overall process, and if they do not finish on time, how it impacts the end-date and the goals of the organization.
  6. There are enormous benefits to this approach including capturing total cost of ownership of each service request and each asset, improving customer service, improving resource utilization, improving efficiency, improving transparency, eliminating silos, speeding up tempo and lowering cost, changing the culture and implementing discipline. Leadership’s priorities will have more focus and be completed faster.  The rest of the company or agency will have more confidence in Information Technology’s abilities and management.

For more information, please download our white paper: Re-Thinking IT Project Management: A Different Way of Managing Processes, Projects, Resources and Costs.