In IT projects and in sports to reach the finish line and win, you need to follow certain guidelines and steps. What's more, no matter the discipline (or industry) your Team will require an experienced coach, or in case of a business matter - an IT Project Manager. A person on this position is expected to possess a particular set of skills and an awareness that the tasks ahead of them will most likely be more like a marathon rather than a casual walk in the park.
So what are the steps of good project management? Why is it important to pass your project in the hands of an expert, like the ones you'll meet while cooperating with NATEK? To find out how to take effective care over business development, read on.
What is project management? 3 stages of reaching the finish line
To run a successful project, a Project Manager needs to remember about 3 core ingredients:
All those components are essential in preparing themselves for the road ahead. They need to know what their finances are, how much time does it take to prepare the product, and what exactly is the goal of their operations.
What are the steps that a Project Manager must take to make sure those three components are perfectly matched and will bring satisfactory results?
A good Project Manager has to think two steps ahead. All the things that might go right or wrong - as an expert, I have to be prepared for them and react as fast as possible.
Initiation and project planning
The first phase is like the training before the competition. PM (Project Manager) has to make sure that not only do they know what the fight is about, but also that all the steps are planned ahead.
What exactly is the goal? PM starts from the general outline and then detail by detail prepares an explicit description of the final product. Once they know what the expectations for the results are, PM has to make sure that they possess the necessary tools, team, budget, procedures, and approval (from the key stakeholders, clients, project sponsors, managers, or other team members).
What's more, the established goal must be achievable in a specified period. Depending on the complexity of the project, some of them require months and other years to be finalized. That is why it is essential to foresee any potential obstacles and secure the future of the project in case of any temporary setbacks.
The last step, in the Initiation and Planning phase, is counting the ROI (return of investment). If the project is too expensive and there is no financial (or other) value in it, there is no point to move along. But if all the data indicates a success, PM can proceed to phase two.
Execution, Monitoring and Control
Of course, even the best of plans are a waste if they don't get executed properly. And as we know, no plan is bulletproof. Therefore, flexibility and learning from one’s mistakes is key. But first things first.
For the plan to work, it's important to follow its steps and procedures. Yet along the way IT Project Manager might meet such problems like tools malfunction, sickness of team members or other unexpected circumstances. Keeping up the flexible approach allows them to conquer the complications with ease and on occasion to come up with an even better final product.
Apart from the strategy, one of the most important parts of each project are obviously people. To secure the execution phase, Project Managers have to be sure their team members feel heard, motivated, and stay on track of their assigned tasks. Open communication, where all sides aren't afraid of voicing their positive comments as well as the concerns, is extremely important. Thanks to it, everyone is up to date with the news. Rewarding the hard work and addressing the failings, also help to build a strong and motivated team.
IT Project Manager can't forget about scheduling regular meetings not only with their teammates but also with clients. It's important to avoid keeping them in the dark for an extended period. This might only lead to misunderstandings, delays, and more mistakes. Frequent updates allow PM to inform about the current state of the project, and the other party has a chance to voice their needs, expectations and demands before the product is finished, so that the final result is satisfactory for all.
Setting up most of the rules in the first phase is great, but PM needs to take into account the human error and that they might have to adjust the plan in time. Key is to measure and report the KPIs and react accordingly. And to remember - as long as there is communication and willingness to improve, most problems will eventually get solved.
It is important to remember that the risks resulting from the project are not always negative. Some of them are opportunities - they bring us a new value that we might not have thought of before.
Every project has its end, and being thorough in the closing phase can help with future endeavours. Project Manager will try to go step by step through the whole plan to establish whether all the tasks are completed. They will also run final tests of the product, to make sure it serves its purpose. On top of that, the indicators of the finish line getting closer are of course deadlines and budgets. If they are running low on time and funds, it is time to wrap things up.
Moreover, PM makes sure to run meetings with their team and client to sum up all the things that happened along the way. What positive aspects can be brought to another project, and which ones need to be improved? Is everyone satisfied with the results, or are there details that need to be fixed before closing the final curtain? A postmortem meeting is a terrific opportunity for valuable feedback and setting up the upcoming steps for the team.
Everything should find its place in the final report, where IT Project Manager will summarize the project and list the possible directions of development for the future.
Win the race and be the champion - IT Project Management with NATEK
IT Project Managers play a significant role in development of modern IT projects. It is not enough to gather a group of experienced IT specialist - you need someone who knows how to manage them in the most efficient way. Outsourcing your project to NATEK Team allows you to focus on your business goals and leave the creative and formative process to experts. Our long-term cooperations with Clients from such industries as finances, telecommunications, medicine and more, are a proof that NATEK Employees' can be a valuable asset to your company.
If your company struggles with managing the IT projects, contact NATEK Sales Prospection Team Lead Andrzej Osman at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us run your project through all the stages. #workITwithus!
We wrote this article in cooperation with NATEK IT Project Manager, Wojciech Pączek who is experienced in Services & Tools Delivery and Deployment with a history of working in the ICT industry.