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John P. Reiling, PMP: Your Two Keys to IT Project Management Success

There a just two simple but critical factors to be a successful IT project manager.

But I’ll get to that in just a second, after I give you some background.

In many project situations, meticulous execution is the key. Construction is a prime example that comes to mind. When a construction project is executed, usually the technologies, processes, and skills are very well-known. First, technology in construction changes relatively slowly – at a glacial pace when compared to information technology! Second, the processes for executing a construction project are well-established – the excavation, foundation, framing, mechanical/electrical, interior finishing, building exterior… – and well-understood by all participants. Third, the skills – electrician, plumber, carpenter, mechancial, framer… – are well-known and well-established within the work force. All of these things make for a relatively high degree of predictability on many levels. Hence, the competitiveness among contractors is very high, margins are tight, and extremely effective execution is paramount to be successful on construction projects.

Also in many project situations, you can almost tell the success potential from the start of the project. Again, with the construction project as an example, the key factors for considering potential success on a construction project include: detailed and accurate drawings and specifications; adequate financing in place; agreement, and no disagreement, across the ownership of what is to be built; public acceptance and lack of controversy; skilled work force; and more… Indeed, there is a list of factors that you will want to consider as you evaluate the success potential of the construction project.

IT projects have some very notable differences from construction projects, generally owing to the fact that technology is changing so quickly that it is not easy to just graft an approach to previous projects onto new types of projects. There can be a learning curve across the board on new types of IT projects.

…which brings me to the two simple but critical factors to be a successful IT project manager…

…and they do relate closely to the examples I gave from construction projects.

The two things are:

  1. Build specific skills through training and experience on IT projects – IT projects are very unlikely to be as predictable and controllable as construction projects, but through a combination of training and experience, you can become intimately familiar – develop a second sense – regarding the types of variables and risks that are important on an IT project.
  2. Choose the right IT projects – Using that second sense combined with some marketplace insight, you can assess the probability of success on particular IT projects, and get involved with those with a higher probability of success.

To learn more about the types of IT project management skills that are important, and to find effective training, see the note below this post.

To learn more about the types of IT projects that are tending to be more – or less – successful these days, see my post at the blog – click here.


John Reiling, PMP

PM Training Online

See our collection of IT project management training bundles, on special with a 10% discount through Thursday, July 31.

Keywords: IT Project Management, ITPM, ITIL


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