10 Tips for Better IT Project Management

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So you are managing a project, and want to make sure you are doing the correct things to make you project successful? Here are some tips to help you do a good job.

1. Stay Focused on the Big Picture

There will be a thousand small things that can go wrong at any moment in time in an Information Technology (IT) project. Assigned resources can become ill, project requirements can be missed, incorrect technology may be selected, and computer systems can go down at exactly the wrong time. You can count on something going wrong almost every day.

You challenge is not letting minor setbacks distract you from the big picture. Keep your mind focused on the end goal and what the project team is supposed to accomplish. Doing this will allow you to overcome the minor issues, make the proper adjustments, and continue to drive everyone toward a successful project completion.

2. Keep Your Eyes on the Details

This may sound contradictory to “stay focused on the big picture” but it makes sense if you think about it. It is complementary to keeping your eyes on the overall project plan. When it comes to IT projects you need to work with both the big picture and stay focused on the details.

3. Create Corporate Allies

Two things happen when you work with other departments in a company.  You will either build friendships or the relationship may deteriorate and they could develop into enemies. The creation of enemies is the last thing you want to happen. You need to make it your mission to constantly look at everyone in the company as being on the same team and not opposing each other. This takes hard work and time on your part, and may not always be reciprocated by the other person.

4. Never Assume

I won’t even say the fact that we all know the expression about making assumptions…however, it’s true. You do not want to EVER make assumptions. You can’t assume that just because someone said a deliverable is complete…that it is. You want to take people at their word; however, people have different definitions of “complete”.

5. Keep asking “Why?”

Just because something has been done a certain way for years does not mean that it has to be done that way for years to come. It’s your job to always ask the question “why does it have to be done this way?” Never assume that things can’t change, starting with the current project.

6. Be Extremely Clear and Precise

Take the time necessary to make sure your project team is 100% clear about what needs to be accomplished and that they have no questions. If you find yourself being vague or general about a task that is to be accomplished then you may find that you don’t understand it very well yourself.

7. People deserve Respect

Some managers have a tendency to look down on their resources or just see subordinates as  people that just need to do what they they are told to do when they are told to do it. Never allow yourself to get caught up in this way of thinking. Always view your team members as subject matter experts in the areas they are working in and you are tasked as a project manager bringing experts together to accomplish a complex set of tasks to complete an assigned project.

8. Be a Leader

You wear many hats if you are an IT project manager. Two of the biggest hats you wear are that of being a manager and a leader. Many times you’ll find that you have to fill both roles concurrently. This will allow you to see the big picture as well as pay attention to the details that was discussed earlier.

You need to motivate your team enough that they can see the goal line, but then you also have to provide them enough management direction that they know exactly how they will reach the goal. Keep them inspired and driven at the same time, and lead them to victory.

9. Catch People Doing Things Right

Do you like how one of your team members just performed or how they completed a task? Do you want them to do the same thing again? Then call it to their attention. A great way of predicting future performance is telling somebody what a great job they just did. This will also make it easier to tell them what they need to work on if they are not performing to your expectations. They’ll know your motive is not to be out to get them but rather to help them improve themselves.

10. Watch Your Attitude

Have you been around the person that is overwhelmingly negative? When someone asks them if they can help do something they say they can’t. When someone asks them if something is possible they say it isn’t. When someone asks them to change their disposition they say they won’t. That type of person will bring anyone down in just a matter of days. There’s no room for this type of attitude when you are dealing with project management in IT. You need to become a “can do” person that will at the very least look into the possibilities of what can be done to make something work.

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