While the definition of IT project management isn’t too complicated – the process by which major tech-related tasks get completed – there are plenty of “moving parts” within these tech projects which require expert attention. These projects can be outsourced to an IT support company handled by expert project management consultants or managed internally within the business’ IT department. Tech projects undertaken by IT project managers are not unlike those taken on by project managers in other industries. Whether it’s construction or marketing or healthcare, project managers use tried-and-true processes and methods to oversee and complete major projects with a predetermined timetable and a clear set of deliverables.
IT project managers are in high demand as ever-evolving technology requires constant software updates, infrastructure upgrades, and IT project budgeting to prepare for the future. And the shift to remote work since 2020 keeps IT project managers on their toes.
Examples of IT projects
IT project managers might manage tasks as big as designing and implementing an entire new network infrastructure for a business, or as simple as a smaller-scale project, such as updating software within the business’ network. Different kinds of projects an IT project manager might take on include:
- Installing and implementing company-wide use of new software
- Installing new hardware
- Virtualizing entire networks or data sets
- Backing up data or other data management projects
- Creating an e-commerce site or updating company websites
- Developing a mobile app
- Conducting a risk assessment and update of IT security features
IT Project Methods
Project management methodologies are like blueprints or life cycles detailing how the entire project will proceed. Two commonly used methodologies for conducting IT projects are the Waterfall and the Agile.
The Waterfall Methodology is a top-down, traditional method of project management, involving distinct phases that must be completed in a specific order. The project doesn’t ever move backward and the team only moves on to the next phase when the current phase is finished. It’s a more rigid way of working, but it increases certainty, expectations, and minimizes risk. On the other hand, it can be a slower process, provide less involvement for the customer or the ability to accommodate decision changes, and can create serious delays if any phase of the project faces an obstacle.
The Agile Methodology is a much more collaborative, iterative process, breaking the project into short “sprints” or bursts of deliverables. It’s a much more adaptable project management methodology, although it lacks the certainty up front offered by the Waterfall Methodology. The Agile methodology has grown in popularity and some say is more successful than the Waterfall methodology for IT project management. It does create more creativity and boldness among team members, and allows more client involvement, including clients’ changing desires during projects, which has become an important part of client satisfaction.
Other project management methodologies include the Kanban methodology, named for its use of Kanban boards to make it easier for the team to work through tasks, and the Scrum methodology, which centers around “sprints” of tasks and deadlines, which are then debriefed and assessed.
There are benefits to all the methodologies, and choosing one depends on the type of project at hand, the personalities of the project team, and other considerations.
IT Projects: 5 General Steps
The general steps that every IT project follows are initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing. Initiation includes the identification of a certain issue or problem that the project will solve. The project or project charter is created in this step.
Next comes the planning step, when the methodology comes into play and the team develops the blueprint or life cycle for the entire project. Depending on which methodology is used, planning will be comprehensive and unchanging or it will be iterative with team members circling back for more collaborative input.
Planning is followed by execution, where the project manager oversees the team executing the various tasks they have laid out in the planning step.
The fourth step is monitoring, which includes the project manager reviewing and overseeing both the timeline and scope of the project to ensure that it is going according to plans, as well as reviewing the cost and other factors.
The final step is closing, where the project manager and the entire team reviews and approves the work completed and reports on all deliverables.
What does an IT project manager do?
A good IT project manager must be a good leader and team manager with excellent goal setting and communication skills as well as a technical expert who understands the tech-related aspects of the project at hand.
The duties of the IT project manager include:
- Planning & leading meetings
- Maintaining the timeline, budget, resources
- Managing individual team members & their individual concerns
- Reporting on the status of the project to the client or boss
- Ensuring the project is meeting deadlines
Project Management Software
IT project managers might need to rely on various project management software, depending on the scope of the project and number of team members working on various parts of the project. Cloud-based software is especially helpful for teams who work remotely but is also useful for teams who are in the same physical building. Project management software provides a way for the team to:
- Communicate & collaborate
- Get assigned tasks by the project manager
- Collect and share documents
- Report on progress
As an IT support company providing IT project management services for over 50 years in the Eastvale and Tustin areas of California, our personable experts at Royal Network IT Solutions could be your strategic IT consulting solution. Whether it’s a whole host of IT projects that need attention or just a few updates or upgrades, we’re ready to discuss your unique business needs in a consultation.
Reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (949) 236-7700.