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Posted by on Aug 27, 2014

IT Project Management: Critical to the Success of Your Projects

PM pyramidIn October 2013, Computerworld published an article that stated the “success rate for large, multi-million dollar commercial and government IT projects is very low.” The article quoted data from the Standish Group showing that only 6.4 percent of large IT projects from 2003–2012 were successful.

Why is that the case?

Managing IT projects has many challenges. A significant, contributing factor is that information is an invisible commodity. For example, when you contrast IT with construction of a new high-rise building, every component in construction can be seen and touched—every piling, girder, air handler, panel, door, and window. Generally, a common language and terminology is used throughout the construction. This is not the case with IT projects.

On the other hand, in IT projects, until we see the results in prototype or final deliverable status, we must manage a set of invisible actions to produce invisible procedures which handle invisible information for the benefit of the frequently-invisible end-user. And perhaps more with IT than any other project management type, we must depend on individuals who make up the team, many of whom are using different programming languages and codes, to apply their skills toward the end result before we can see the results of their work.

So what can be done?

The IT workforce is now more technically competent than ever before and it is now easier to build complex, useful, and engaging applications. Yet, despite the great advances in technology and IT governance, the Federal IT workforce are often lacking in project management skills such as leadership, communication, understanding of contracts, and the balance of schedule and cost.

Only when these skills and competencies are mastered can Federal IT project participants ensure project success. Luckily, the governance and management of IT projects within the Federal sector have also greatly improved. Over the last 25 years, project management of IT has evolved into a valuable discipline and generally accepted principles of project management have emerged. Additionally, with the establishment of new roles and the formalization of requirements for certification, responsibilities and workforce training standards are now clear and well defined.

Download Management Concepts new whitepaper, Managing the Invisible: How Can We Improve the Odds of Successful IT Projects?, to learn more about how to improve the odds of running a successful IT project.

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