The need for IT Support services is exploding. As the below statistic shows, the industry will only grow bigger, with more companies investing time and money into IT support services. With the industry expanding, IT management professionals have more pressure than ever to make sure they are delivering. If they don’t, there’s bound to be another IT company around the corner for the client to switch too.
Producing and maintaining project management skills to progress a business IT network and delegating successful support, has never been so vital.
In the same way, you couldn’t be a good swimmer if you didn’t know what swimming was, to be a good IT project manager, you should probably know what the phrase actually means.
What are IT Projects?
Generally, it is an information technology project that has an assigned start and end date, often with goals to be met during the development cycle. These are temporary, short-term efforts to create a unique product, service or environment such as removing old servers, developing a custom e-commerce site, creating new desktop images or merging databases.
CIO sums up the process pretty well.
All IT projects are constrained by three factors: time, cost and scope. For a project to be successful, these three constraints (often called the Triple Constraints of Project Management) must be in equilibrium. If any constraint is out of balance, the project is headed for disaster.
All projects, IT or otherwise, move through five phases in the project management lifecycle:
- Monitoring and controlling
Every business understands why IT support is necessary for them to thrive. There is however, a key difference between IT support which helps the business get by, and successful IT Project Management, which is side by side with the business every step of the way from guiding start-ups to tackling internal issues in medium sized enterprises. Having managed many internal and external I.T projects, Edge understands how competent and confident management of projects is the key to producing IT solutions which progress and protect businesses.
What does Successful Project Management for IT Look like?
Obviously, success is a subjective term which could entail a number of varying qualities, but there are some key points that undoubtedly do help lead to success when it comes to IT project managing.
It’s a very unlikely link to recognise, but Philosophy can help us depict IT success. 14th-century logician William of Occam, renowned for his Occam’s Razor theory, recognised
entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily. Albert Einstein restated this as
everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
Applied to IT Project management, it provides insight into the importance of keeping goals clear, measurable and organised. Keeping things simple, to get them done in the most efficient way will maximise the use of resources by not over complicating issues. Edge take every care in making sure we get things done in the easiest way possible. There’s no point or reward for making issues more complicated than they need to be.
Why do IT Projects go wrong?
Before we get into tactics and points that can help you succeed, it’s always helpful to understand why projects can fail.
1. They are rushed
With everyone trying to be first to showcase IT-based products, services and capabilities companies are requesting times shorter than ever. For IT support business to remain a number one choice, they must cut costs and maintain business operations, but that adds to the pressure on a big, expensive project such as an ERP implementation or a platform upgrade. A project with inadequate planning, risk assessment and testing is going to fail.
2. Lack of sufficient planning
If a project is failing, it is easy to look at what happened during the project, and blame whatever deliverables weren’t completed as to the failure of the project. Often, however, there is a reason deliverable weren’t completed, and this is all in the planning of them. Lack of planning and thinking through what the aims are has never been so important when there are so many items to complete a project.
3. IT projects fail because the scope is too unwieldy
A project with a large scope can work better if it’s broken down into a series of smaller, more manageable projects. A series of smaller projects allows for more manageable targets, meaning these smaller projects can be completed sequentially and with more flexibility than a large, complicated and cumbersome project.
Delegation of Tasks
So now we know why IT projects can fail, let’s take a look at ideas that will help them excel. Teamwork is a very obvious point to raise, but also necessary. A team that knows their place in the project, what their role is and what their expected work outcomes are, will not only make sure no important aspects are excluded from te project, but will also make the whole process a more effective. When it comes to IT there is often no room for error and mistakes that could be detrimental, so the organisation of tasks can ensure you don’t miss anything.
Teamwork is a very obvious point to raise, but also necessary. A team that knows their place in the project, what their role is and what their expected work outcomes are, will not only make sure no important aspects are excluded from te project, but will also make the whole process a more effective. When it comes to IT there is often no room for error and mistakes that could be detrimental, so the organisation of tasks can ensure you don’t miss anything.
Listening to every team member is also vital, for any job and especially in IT. Employees who are the doing the day to day work with the technology are likely to spot points that can help the operation, so always listen to everybody’s point of view and suggestions, because you never know how valuable they could be towards the project and final outcome.
Application of the Pareto Principle
Again, we are using an example of something a little more Philosophy based, but many keen business lovers will already be familiar with this theory. Determining what is actually allowing successful IT for a client, and what internal methods you are using that are causing this, can eliminate the efforts that are wasting time and are not working.
The two techniques in this process often take place as the following:
- Ask your customers and your team, “what of our efforts are producing most of the results for you?” Don’t be afraid to postpone or end any trivial task that does not directly contribute to the delivery of the business benefits of the project.
- Make the project goals the visible priority in the office, and turn attention to them at every question or change. Ask, “how will this improve our delivery of the benefits of this project?”
Know When To Out source Support
There may be a moment in the process when you realise that in-house alone you may not have all of the needed recourses to complete the project, and you need to outsource skills or practices. Although sometimes it may be frustrating to have to spend time and money utilising other services, a job done well with no issues will definitely make the process of outsourcing help worth it.
Nobody will be thanking you if you proclaim you can undertake the project alone, and end up failing to provide what was promised due to lack of competent recourses in-house.
Have the Perspective of The Client
Never forget that the majority of people may not understand IT and the technical processes needed as part of their support, in the way that you do. Successful IT Project managers understand the importance of making sure the client is in the loop, educated and is confident every step of the way. You never want a customer turning around and querying why a certain process or job was done in the way it was or why it was needed. The more clients understand their IT needs and how you will be providing the support, the smoother the project is likely to run.
Although successful IT project management is more than often no easy task, Edge are invested in providing strategic, effective and thoughtful solutions to IT support needs. We are here every step of the way to offer confidential advice, management and inspiration to help you solve your IT problems.
Contact us on +44 (0) 2081 444 103 to get your project started today.