Are project managers really needed for IT success?
GREAT QUESTION !
What do you think?
The question is, , , “Can you be successful without having an IT Project Management focus?” Give me your perspective in the poll below before reading the rest of the article:
OK, I hope you responded to the poll above and checked the results.
Now, it’s time for me to give you my opinion.
The question is, “Do you need project management focus to achieve IT success?”
My opinion, , , , ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
Projects are not successful on their own, , , they are successful because project managers make them successful.
Without a project management focus, the tasks that need to happen when they need to happen simply do not get completed without a project manager pushing them along.
Let me repeat, , , project managers make projects happen, , , projects do not get completed successfully on their own, , , they just don’t. In fact, projects will not be completed successfully unless someone:
- pushes the project forward
- checks to see that all tasks are completed on time
- anticipates the obstacles that might jeopardize the project’s success
I’m a big believer in placing project management focus on the projects we undertake within an IT organization. To me, it is absolutely essential.
Let me back up just a second. Certainly, an IT organization can achieve some level of success without project management focus. Thousands of small and mid-size companies do it every day. However, your success will be limited and exposure for failure is significant, , , especially with large complex projects.
So, where does the project management debate occur?
What happens is that organizations that apply traditional project management methodologies tend to require quite a bit of overhead, , , too much, in some cases.
My sense is that there needs to be a reasonable amount of “monitoring”, “reporting” and “management” when you manage a project.
I’m not a proponent that says you need to produce all the reports and do all the things that are defined in PMI’s PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge) or similar resources. I believe it requires too much overhead and administrative time.
What I do endorse is that you need a certain amount of structure (methodology) you follow and regularly scheduled status checks to help move a project along.
Operations people often do not want to spend the time to meet every week to discuss project status, identify risks, or discuss problem resolution strategies. They just want IT to complete the project so they can get on with their work.
The bottom line is that operational business people don’t always see the need for project management. Their approach is often, “Just do it, and leave me out of it.”
This is where the debate happens. How do we manage a large complex project so it doesn’t require an excessive amount of time and administrative effort but is sufficient to do the job, , , i.e., deliver the project successfully?
Without the process, odds are extremely high your project is going to fail. “Just doing it” simply won’t be reliable.
At a minimum, projects need seven things to consistently be completed successfully – on time, within budget and meet client needs:
- Requirements definition – Some call this a scope document. No need to create a voluminous document here but you must quantify:
- Project goals and objectives
- Specific deliverables
- Project Sponsor agreement on Item #1
- Project Schedule that lists all tasks to be completed, completion time frames, and responsibility for completion
- Budget that has reasonable amount of buffer
- Staff the project with capable resources
- Project Kickoff Meeting to get project team members on the same page and to reinforce commitment required
- Weekly Project Status Meetings to check status and keep the project moving (i.e., to monitor and manage the Project Schedule)
All of these elements can be accomplished practically and simply, , , without lots of overhead. The point that needs to be made though is that each part needs focus and must be addressed if you want to deliver projects successfully.
For additional insight on managing successful projects, take a look at my book,
IT Project Management: a practical approach