What Is IT Project Management?
From email and apps to data management and logistics, technology is an essential component of every business today. Just think: Even companies that aren’t techcentric need software to manage their purchase orders or networks to get online, right? And every one of an organization’s technology goals must be properly managed in order for the business to succeed. That’s where IT project management comes in.
What exactly is IT project management? Simply put, it’s the successful oversight of any and all information technology projects that an organization undertakes. And IT project managers are responsible for the ideation, planning, budgeting, execution, leading, troubleshooting, and maintenance of these projects. The kinds of things an IT project manager might do include:
- Installation of hardware
- Software, website, and app development
- Upgrades and/or rollouts of networks and cloud computing solutions
- Implementation of solutions for data management and business analytics
- Help-desk services
- Miscellaneous other technology services
What skills do IT project managers need?
To be successful, IT project managers need a variety of both technical and soft skills. First, they need IT knowledge and experience; they must be knowledgeable about hardware, software, networking, infrastructure, and data and network security. They also need the ability to analyze and draw conclusions from data in order to develop effective solutions. Since they are responsible for budgeting, allocating resources, and managing both data and the timeline for the project, IT project managers also must be excellent and highly organized planners.Technical skills aren’t the only kind these project managers need, though. As the de facto leaders of their project teams, they also must possess excellent communication, people, and leadership skills. These soft skills are particularly important considering IT project managers may work with a variety of outside teams within the organization, such as those in charge of business data, security and compliance, and procurement.
Components of IT project management
Like all projects an organization undertakes, IT projects consist of 5 distinct but related stages. These stages are typically broken down as follows:
- Initiation: The project goal is identified and the project is created. This is when the feasibility study is conducted to determine whether it is financially advantageous to undertake the project.
- Planning: This is when every task required for each phase of the project is mapped out, and resources are appropriately allocated. It’s generally assumed that IT projects will need to be updated frequently, based on the development of new technology as well as changing priorities or unexpected dependencies. As such, IT project managers typically plan in cycles.
- Execution: In this phase, the IT project manager leads the entire team through each step of the project plan. The end goal is the deliverable, whether it be a product or service.
- Monitor and control: TechTarget explains that the IT project manager is responsible for monitoring and controlling the work to ensure it stays on time and within budget, as well as maintains quality and reduces risk.
- Closing: This final stage ensures all work has been completed and approved, and ownership transfers from the project team to operations.
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