Wednesday, January 9, 2008

IT Project Management: 3 Keys to Success

I hope your holidays were good and that your new year is off to a good start.

One of the ways we can ensure a good start to the year is by effectively managing our projects. As IT professionals, our work is all about projects. From managing software upgrades to deploying new hardware, our lives are often one project after another. I asked Paul Senness, one of our project management trainers, to identify the three keys to successful project management. Here is his response:

  1. Clearly identify the project's goal. There's a better than 50% chance that, without proper definition, the project will fail. To revive an old quote, "You can't get there if you don't know where you're going." This is the critical phase where you get everyone on board: the team, the project sponsor, and your boss.
  2. Have a well thought-out plan, anticipating every contingency. Airline pilots are trained to anticipate every possible fault and problem. The idea is, through training, to make them so familiar with every contingency that even emergencies seem routine. Give a great amount of thought to what could go wrong in your project so that murphies are merely annoyances and not disasters.
  3. Have the discipline to execute around the project's plan. During the execution phase of any project, there will be opportunities to veer off track. Sometimes, such side ventures may actually help accomplish the project's goal(s) and should be taken. Other times they can distract you from meeting the project's goals. A great project manager knows the difference. You must never lose sight of the goal(s), but you must also be flexible enough to make changes and adjustments as needed or when opportunities present themselves.

As you might expect, I would add a fourth key to successful project management and that's to attend our upcoming two-day project management seminar: How to Herd Cats: Secrets of Successful IT Project Management. It's coming up in just under two weeks in Seattle on January 22 and 23. Class size is small, the instruction is as good as it gets, and your "take away" is a new set of skills and tools to help you really take control of your projects.
Registration is open now at or give us a call at 206.988.5858. Enroll three or more and save 12%.

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