Project management

Project management – why the foundation should be laid before the project begins

Various recent studies show, that, still, a large number of IT projects fail or are only partly successfully finished. Most projects are completed far too late or the budget is exceeded severely. And when budget and time schedule are actually met, unwanted compromises are often made, which will very likely interfere with the businesses processes.

This seems odd, especially as a distinct project management has developed into a commonly recognized success factor for projects.

Therefore, we want to highlight different project management methods in our article as well as the essential factors and prerequisites that are necessary to successfully implement IT projects.

The benefits of using a project management is often underestimated in (small and medium-sized) companies!

Not all projects are the same

Every project has its own characteristics and special requirements. Projects should not be perceived as isolated endeavours, they are always embedded in a project environment and interact with it. Influences from this environment can have strong effects on the whole project.

Let us first take a closer look at the different types of project management.

Types of project management in the IT environment

1. “Traditional project management”

Traditional project management

Characteristic for this type of project management is a sequence of project phases divided in milestones in initiation, planning, monitoring, control and project completion. The network planning technique is usually used as a method for process planning. Dates, costs, use of resources and results are determined as far as possible at the beginning of the project. This planning-oriented method is mainly used for projects that have to be completed on a certain date. Changes to the plan are handled via change request.

2. Agile project management

Agile project management aims to make project implementation flexible to unpredictable changes in the environment and also in the scope of services. This is mainly done with the help of short planning and execution cycles called “sprints”. An exact specification of the product takes place only during the project. There are strict budget specifications. A characteristic of this approach is that the focus is mainly on the (partial) result and acceptance by the users. The management and control of agile projects and processes is very dynamic and flexible in order to quickly implement change requests from the user.

Agile project management

The best of both types

In practice, there is often a mix of traditional and agile approaches – better known as a hybrid project management approach. The traditional process model forms the organizational framework, whereby product development takes place according to agile principles.

But what is the best way to carry out your project?

Which methodology fit my projects best?

Method selection:

Whether agile or traditional – for each project, the appropriate method has to be found, depending on the respective conditions. With the right approach, a successful project will always be on time and in budget.

There is no ” template” for successful project management!

Here is the good news: project management is not based on fixed templates, there is no such thing as the one and only perfect project management each project, and it is also not bound to a certain size of the company or the project. Rather, project management can be flexibly adapted to the needs of the company and to the project structure. Usually, the best suiting project management concept is developed individually for each company and tailored in such a way that it fits the project and the objectives.

Is it worthwhile for your company to develop such a concept?

Investing in project management pays off in the long term!

Initially, project management means increased planning effort at the project’s run-up, which ultimately pays off at the end of the project through cost and time savings. This investment, at the beginning of the project, ensures a smoother course and offers quite a number of advantages:

  • Common understanding of all participants in regard to the project goal
  • Reduction of the project costs
  • Reduction of the required time
  • Improved adherence to deadlines, milestones, etc.
  • Early detection of plan deviations and initiation of countermeasures
  • Improved cooperation between team members / project participants
  • Achievement of objectives according to a schedule agreed upon

In order for projects not to be doomed to failure even before the start, and for the increased investment in planning and control also to pay off, it is desirable to have the project manager start working before the start of the project.

Getting the project manager (PM) on board early will benefit a project tremendously

Essentially, the PM is responsible for the successful planning, implementation and control as well as for the completion of a project. Furthermore, he guarantees a structured approach from the very beginning. Many discussions with PM colleagues showed that the greatest challenges during the management of the project are often similar in different projects and can often be traced back to a too late integration of the PM. It is therefore advisable – especially before the actual start of the project – to get the project manager on board early in order to progressively minimize the potential dangers of failure.

The PM can provide support on the following topics:

  • a clean clarification of the order, i.e. definition of the scope of the order/target
  • a good project setup
  • the definition of measurable goals and acceptance criteria
  • promoting a common understanding of the project

The main tasks of the PM

  • Clarification of the project objective and the assignment
  • Designing the Work Breakdown Structure
  • Estimating expenses
  • Creating the schedule
  • Coordination and control of project processes
  • Leadership and organization of the project members
  • Cost calculation
  • Risk assessment and budgeting
  • Planning, implementation and control
  • Takeover of project communication

A bad start of a project cannot only endanger the success of your IT project. Under certain circumstances – if the project budget is large – an unprofessional implementation of a project can also jeopardize the success of your company!

The optimal use of project management minimizes the risks that can disrupt a project. That way, opportunities can be exploited, project goals can be achieved qualitatively, and the success of the company can be ensured.

We will help you with our expertise in project management!

Our project managers possess the necessary methodical tools as well as know-how and experience from many successfully implemented projects for the execution of your project. At Inspiricon, both, practiced project management and leadership skills as well as proven and tested methods and tools are used in the project process.

Author
Thomas Dietl Project Manager
Phone: +49 (0) 7031 714 660 0
Email: info@inspiricon.de