Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Technology Project Management

The purpose of this post is to give a general overview of project management, specifically IT project management, and provide a list of resources for more information.

Wikipedia defines project management as the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives. It is often closely related to and sometimes conflated with program management. The primary
challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honoring the preconceived project constraints. Typical constraints are scope, time, and budget. The secondary—and more ambitious—challenge is to optimize the allocation and integration of inputs necessary to meet pre-defined objectives.

There are many different project management lifecycle templates, the one on the left is from Method 123 and has the four basic phases of Project Initiation, Project Planning, Project Execution, and Project Closure. The details of each of these phases is representative of other project management disciplines, and tracks with the Project Management Institute (PMI) project lifecycle phases.

Another key consideration of project management deals with risk, and risk mitigation. Risks are where a particular part or facet of the project comes with potentially detrimental occurrences or events. It is imperative that risks are identified throughout the project lifecycle, categorized, and do everything possible to mitigate the risk in order to lessen the negative impact on the project. If the detrimental occurrence or event does take place, then it becomes an issue instead of a risk.

Tony Jacowski defines the role of a project manager as follows:

A project manager is usually responsible for the success or the failure of the project. There is an entire team under the project manager, which helps to achieve all the objectives of the project. However, if something goes wrong, the project manager is ultimately accountable.

The tasks to be handled by a project manager to successfully manage a project include:
  • Integration Management - This is developing and managing the direction of the project
  • Scope Management - This includes planning, defining and managing the scope of the project.
  • Time and Cost Management - This covers developing a schedule, allocating resources and managing funds for the project.
  • Quality Management - This involves taking care of the quality of the process in question such that it meets or even exceeds various quality parameters set earlier.
  • Human Resource Management - A manager needs to take care of his team, encourage and motivate them and make sure the team moves in the right direction.
  • Communication Management - The manager needs to prepare a communication plan and make sure that there is a healthy communication, both horizontally and vertically.
  • Risk Management - Various risks involved in a project should be identified and a mitigation and contingency plan needs to be developed to ensure that the project is not derailed at any point.
  • Procurement Management - Various materials needed during the project need to be procured and managed with the vendors and suppliers for successful completion of the project.
Apart from this, depending on the size and the complexity of the project, they may need to take on multiple roles. The project manager may need to assist with gathering business requirements, help to design a database management system or may prepare project documentation. They may work full time on a large project, or may work part-time on various projects of a smaller nature; or may alternatively handle various projects as well as handle other responsibilities like business analysis and business development.

There are a variety of project management certifications available. The main ones are the PMP, CAPM, and Project +. More information is available here and here.

Agile project management is becoming a larger part of the overall project management discipline. This will be addressed in later posts as part of Agile Development.

This is a very brief overview of IT project management. I welcome your comments.

1 comment:

  1. If you have very little experience or you have just started your career, then CAPM certification will surely help you to take your career to the next level. This certification shows your employer that you are a capable person, and you have the ability to manage projects. It also shows that you are well aware of the terminology used in the PMBOK Guide.

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