As a CIO or IT manager your career will revolve around managing “projects” – some simple and small and others large and complex. Project management is not difficult, however, most people do not have the skills for effective project management.
A manager’s ability to effectively manage a project from start to end within a defined time frame, and within budget will be one of the most important skills you develop in information technology. Being good at it will set you apart from the herd and give you a reputation as a leader.
5 Elements of a Project:
- What is the objective?
- Who are the members of the team?
- What is the length of time for the project?
- What are the costs?
- Who is supporting it?
1. Objective: Before anything can begin you need a clearly defined objective(s). People related to the project should agree to the objectives.
You will need to define the objective of the project within the company’s overall goals. As a project manager you should take the initiative and state this information clearly and put it in writing.
2. Teams: A project can have a team of one or a team of many from one department or from many departments. Some people will be involved at the beginning and others will come in at the end. As you begin to plan the project, think of everyone that needs to be involved and indicate at what point along the project path they need to be involved.
3. Length: Length varies from project to project. Define milestones for the project and make sure your team knows about them. You should also identify project risks and define ways to mitigate it.
4. Costs: The primary concern of any project is hard costs and who is going to pay for it. Get hard quotes from vendors for estimating budgets.
When estimating your budget it is not uncommon to inflate your budget by 10% or more. This is a general rule especially if it is difficult to get additional funds from your firm later.
Reasons for inflating budgets:
- To capture costs that were overlooked.
- Inflation gives you the ability to lower costs without hurting the overall project if management comes back at you.
- If you budget wrong, it is best to be high. If you come up short it would be embarrassing and you would have to admit to being wrong.
5. Support: Get proper political sponsorship. Having proper sponsorship and backing can be an enormously helpful in eliminating roadblocks especially if you need resources from other parts of the organization.