Every new IT project is an opportunity for your business to grow. However, not all project plans turn out to be successful. Why? You may ask. There are many common causes of IT project failure. Maybe you had unclear goals, limited resources, or a poorly executed project. Irrespective of the cause, you can change your narrative today by doing the right things. In this article, you’ll learn four measures to benefit your project management strategy. Let’s dive in!
Cornerstone 1: Data-Driven Decision Making
You need to make business plans based on facts and figures, which is exactly what data-driven decision-making (DDDM) does. Here, you analyze information you’ve gathered through market research to make business decisions. Making may seem difficult at first, especially if you are not used to it. However, it will greatly transform your company’s IT management once you’ve gotten a hang of it.
Importance of data-driven decisions
When you make baseless business decisions, you are causing more harm than good to your company’s strategy. The fact that you do not understand your organization’s performance means that you cannot reach your set goals. Let’s examine the importance of data-based decisions to your business.
- Better customer service: Data analysis tells you exactly what your customers want. With your insight, you can make informed decisions on how to satisfy them.
- Increased revenue: When you know what drives your business, you can eliminate what does not work to focus on what does. Now that you make smarter decisions, you save money and increase your revenue.
- Improved proactiveness: Data-based decisions help you to identify your business pattern. With this knowledge, you can make accurate predictions to avoid future mistakes.
How to make data-driven decisions
You are not alone if you are new to making data-driven decisions for your IT project. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make data-based decisions to grow your business.
- Know your goals: The first step to making data-driven decisions is to understand the goals you want to achieve. You can tell whether you are progressing when there is a clear vision.
- Identify your data sources: Once you know your goals, the next thing is to decide how you’ll gather the necessary data. Tools like Microsoft’s Power BI can make this step easier. However, ensure you only target data that would give you useful insights.
- Organize your data: This step reveals important facts about your gathered data. Also, you can see what connects one metric or another to the data. There are software with customized data display feature that does the hard work for you.
- Analyze your data to make actionable conclusions: After organizing it, you can now analyze the data to extract vital information to aid successful project delivery. Use the data to flesh outsmart and practical steps to effectively manage your tech project.
Cornerstone 2: Effective Project Management
A good IT project management effort accomplishes the business’s IT goals and objectives. As such, it is important to have a clear plan and the resources that would make it possible to execute the plan.
Qualities of a successful project manager
Behind every successful project is an efficient project manager. If you don’t want your IT project to fail, then you should look out for project managers with the following qualities:
- They communicate effectively: For a project to be successful, there must be frequent communication. Effective project managers must know how to communicate the goals and expectations of the IT project. They must also have good negotiation and persuasion skills.
- They set SMART goals: Successful IT project managers know how to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. They also understand how to use project management tools like Kanban boards and frameworks like Scrum to monitor the entire process.
- They are enthusiastic: Every project is likely to experience downtime occasionally. The project manager has to maintain a positive attitude amidst challenges. Also, they must know how to inspire optimism within the IT team until the project’s delivery.
Essential project management tools and software
You’ll need tools and software to support your IT project until completion. These packages allow you to monitor everyone’s effort on the project seamlessly. Also, project managers can easily share ideas and resources, make decisions, and carry stakeholders along as the project progresses. Some of these tools include:
- Asana: Real-time collaboration is easy on Asana. Team members’ tasks only need to be added to the platform, and everyone can see what each person is doing at the time.
- Monday.com: Irrespective of the project’s size, workflow can be automated with Monday.com. There are also time and goal trackers so project managers know how to adjust their efforts to reach the desired target.
- ClickUp: IT project managers know the one-stop-shop nature of ClickUp. Using this platform, you get task management, goal tracking, real-time chat, and whiteboard features.
Implementing the right project management methodology
Every project is different, so you must select the method that fits your project goals. Project management methodologies are well-defined principles you can adopt for your project, and some popular ones include:
- Waterfall methodology: You finish your projects linearly and sequentially under this method. This means you complete one phase of your project before moving to the next. However, the challenge with the waterfall methodology is that it is not flexible to change once you’ve started your project.
- Agile methodology: Based on your project’s changing needs, the Agile methodology allows for flexibility. The core principles of this approach are collaboration, speed, and adaptability. The challenge with this methodology is that it’s difficult to accurately predict when your project will end. Popular types of Agile methodology are Scrum and Kanban.
- Lean methodology: This deals with Muda, Mura, and Muri problems. Muda means wastefulness, Mura refers to unevenness, and Muri means heavy workloads. This method helps you save time and avoid wastage and other activities that reduce your project’s productivity.
Cornerstone 3: Understanding Project Requirements
A project is successful when it accomplishes its set goals and objectives. Effective project managers must know the exact results they are out for. Once the end is clearly defined, the project is well on its way to success.
Identifying key project requirements
Many parties contribute to a project’s delivery. Thus, knowing each person’s contribution is the only way to understand a project’s key requirement comprehensively. Here are the three key project requirements you’ll need to identify.
- Business requirements: These are determined by the project’s aims and objectives. You should know what the project must deliver based on the company’s needs to identify them.
- Stakeholder requirements: Anyone affected and everyone involved in a project is a stakeholder. This includes project sponsors, end-users, customers, and team members. It is important to identify the needs and expectations of these people.
- Solution requirements: These requirements depend on both the business and stakeholder requirements. It describes the features and functions of the project’s product or service.
Defining project scope and milestones
The only way to monitor your project’s progress is to define its scope clearly. Let’s examine how to prepare your project’s milestones.
- Outline the stakeholders’ expectations of the project’s product or service.
- Identify the project’s tangible and intangible deliverables.
- Identify external and internal constraints that can affect the project’s progress.
- Define the project’s boundaries by identifying things that are excluded from the project.
- Attach timelines to critical stages of the project.
- Show the scope statement to the stakeholders for approval.
Managing project documentation
Project documentation is vital throughout a project’s lifecycle. Project documentation management gives visibility to your efforts. It also makes it easy to find information when you need it. Here are some project documentation best practices that will improve your project’s efficiency.
- Start your documentation early in the project.
- Use documentation software to make the process easy.
- Prepare a template to make your documentation consistent.
- Always share documentation with the entire team.
- Review and update the documentation as the project progresses.
- Archive past projects’ documentation.
Cornerstone 4: Delivering Successful Projects
Common factors contributing to successful project delivery include good planning, timely communication, and diligent execution. Indeed, success is possible if project managers put in the hard work.
Testing project deliverables
Testing your project deliverables is important because you can verify whether they are up to standard. Also, you can quickly identify and resolve project quality errors. After testing your deliverable, you can verify your results using surveys, feedback, or reviews.
Minimizing project risks
Risks are vital to every project, and it is best to prepare for them. Although they are almost inevitable, here are practical steps to minimize project risks.
- Identify them from the beginning of the project.
- Analyze the possible impacts of the potential risks.
- Determine the risk levels and arrange them in order of priority.
- Come up with a plan on how to mitigate them.
- Start monitoring them once you launch the project.
Time management and project delivery
Time management is important to the success of every project. If there is no fixed time for when a project will end, it can continue for years on end without ever getting completed. A proper time management schedule assigns a timeline to every project stage. Also, it is flexible enough to accommodate changes down the line.
So, there you have four best practices to make your IT project successful! Once you adopt them, failed projects will become a thing of the past. Put these extra efforts to work today to make your project management strategy productive.