IT projects don't come to completion in a vacuum. They're the end result of plenty of expertise, resources, and teamwork all coalescing into a magnificent new whole that ultimately provides the end users with new and useful tools with which to do business. Yet for all the things that go into a successful IT project, there's one point that often goes overlooked: IT project management.
What IT Project Management Can Bring to Your Operations
When you use a certified project manager (PM) to manage IT projects, you bring a profitable new addition that improves projects on several fronts.
Make returns clear.
While sometimes projects are initiated from the C-suite, and no one really needs buy-in at the C-suite level, other times, the value isn't so clear. A PM can establish that value and make it immediately clear to those who need to know. Additionally, once the value is defined and the returns are clear, the PM can keep the team pursuing that established standard of value. That focus comes with benefits of its own.
Keep measurements simple.
Even a casual Dilbert reader knows the effect that a constant demand for status reports can have on a project team's morale. While senior management often wants the most measurements possible, as part of the “if you can't measure it, you can't manage it” philosophy, sometimes this demand gets in the way at the operational level and impairs the ability to produce. A PM can intervene here, keeping measurements comparatively simple thanks to project focus. While there's a value in having measurements—they're key for big data analytics operations—collecting the measurements can represent a time sink that costs a project money.
Serve as a single point of contact.
A PM serves as a single point of contact in every direction. Whether it's from the C-suite down, from the project team up, or from the outside vendors in—or out to the vendors—the PM serves as the one point to reach. There's no need to find the right person to talk to, or to push through a committee to get things done; the PM handles the job of talking to the right party. This makes communication easier, and ultimately improves workflow, preventing waste and keeping an operation more efficient.
A PM has received necessary orders from one step above, and regularly receives updates from one step below. Part of the single point of contact notion is that the “background noise” of everyday operations like the larger implications posed by the market as a whole, or the day-to-day issues of office politics, can be filtered through the PM's slot.
Improve project development.
One of the main things a PM does is keep project teams on track and developing in the same direction. That improved focus allows the team to best push toward the desired goal, and better spot issues that may prevent the goal from being reached. Additionally, the PM is best versed in what needs to be done to complete the project, and can keep the team moving in that direction accordingly.
Costs are one of the biggest problems of any IT project. While there's always a certain amount of expense that must go into any project, there are commonly some ways to save. Whether it's suboptimal processes, things taking longer than they need to, or even just miscommunication between outside vendors and the project team, there are points of waste that can be addressed. A PM addresses those points and reduces them to their minimum.
The points of improved focus mentioned previously contribute to reduced costs as well; if improved costs cut hours to conclude a project by even 10%, that's still a savings, even if only in opportunity costs. Better yet, a PM also prevents waste by keeping projects to their standard, meaning a business gets what it pays for.
Why Should I Use a Certified Project Manager?
While IT project management is a positive addition to a project team, there are two key advantages to having a certified PM involved: skills and training.
A certified PM comes with an array of skills that are vital to proper project management. Technical skills like scheduling and risk analysis, leadership skills like addressing shortfalls in performance or team morale, and business knowledge to help understand a project's expected role in a market—which allows the PM to drive the project toward that role—all come with a certified PM. Though a certified PM isn't strictly necessary to get those skills, a certified PM will have them.
While most PMs come with the necessary skills, certified PMs have a specific point in their favor: the training required to be certified in the first place. A project management professional (PMP) from PMI.org, for example, has not only had 35 hours of education as a start, but also has between 4,500 and 7,500 hours of experience as a PM in order to pass the certification exams. Additionally, the PMP certification requires ongoing training, so anyone who holds a PMP certification not only has completed the training and hours required, but has also done so recently to hold the rank. There's no worry about outmoded skills from certifications obtained years, or even decades, ago.
How to Start Adding IT Project Management to Your Projects
There's no shortage of benefits when it comes to the power of IT project management and having a certified PM working with your projects. When you're ready to add that kind of skill and experience to your projects, then just get in touch with us at UTG. IT projects are too valuable not to put the best into, and when you want the best, just drop us a line.