IT (Information technology) project management is simply the process of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and closing on IT projects. Any project that deals with IT infrastructure, information systems, and computers can be considered an IT Project. Depending on the technology and scope, IT projects can quickly become very complex requiring requisite skill sets in areas such as security to get them to successful completion. The complexity of IT projects usually is as result of several unseen factors relating to continuous technology changes; integration to third-party applications; security integration amongst others.
Most of the IT projects I have led usually involve some or all these areas:
- Web Development
- Database Management
- Mobile App Development
- Data Mining
- Cloud Computing
- Network Configuration
- Software implementation
- Hardware Installation
- Network and Computer Security
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
At a basic level, as an IT project manager, you will be required to manage successfully scope, schedule, financials, stakeholder/ team communications, and resources for your projects.
An IT project manager for the most part is expected to take on a wide range of responsibilities during a project or at least be knowledgeable about them. I can say from my experience that to be successful at managing IT projects, a project manager should stay abreast of the latest technology in their area of expertise by researching the technology and how it complements the organization’s IT structure and architecture. Also important, is for the IT PM to ensure that the chosen technology is a right fit for the organization’s objectives.
In addition to understanding the technicalities involved in implement a specific IT project. An IT project manager should understand project management methodologies such as agile, waterfall project, or the hybrid and know how to apply them to get the best results from the project resources.
Your required skill set on a particular project as a ITPM varies greatly depending on the skill set of the assigned team and the organization you are working for. I have been on projects where a tech lead was assigned to guide the technical team. I was involved in the day to day running of the project but was pretty much a fly on the wall when the code development and solution architecture is being discussed. The Tech lead and the solution architect were in the best position to achieve the best outcome for those sessions. From time to time, I ask some probing questions to ensure that the team is on the right track and meeting our contractual obligations to the client. There is still a ton of other tasks the IT project manager can take on while the tech resources are triaging and building. In those projects where there was a tech lead, I was more focused on the other areas of project management such as scope, schedule, cost, communications, procurement, and stakeholder management. Generally ensuring that team had everything needed to get the best job done. Those can become very daunting depending on the project complexity.
With some smaller and less complex projects, I have had to lead the technical team through every facet of the project. On such projects, I was involved daily with the technical team sometimes doubling as a scrum master and project manager. I don’t necessarily need to be an expert on the technology But I should be knowledgeable enough to ask the right questions and detect easily when things are not going as planned. I rely on the technical team to bring me up to speed on each of the project areas such as security, solution architecture, storage, and whatnot.
So If you are a PM newbie considering taking up IT Project Management as a career, do watch this space as I continue to share my experiences as an IT project manager. I will be drilling down on my roles and responsibilities as an ITPM as well as a day in my life leading IT projects for my clients.