The successful delivery of information technology (IT) projects requires managers to adapt project management processes and tools to account for the specific characteristics of the IT environment. By applying these processes and tools in a way that suits the project type and complexity, managers can significantly improve project success rates. This course describes how IT projects differ from other project types and points to the benefits of applying project management principles to IT projects. It provides an overview of the activities you carry out in each of the phases of an IT project and describes key project management tools.
- recognize the benefits of being able to use project management tools and techniques for IT projects
- distinguish between characteristics of IT projects and non-IT projects
- distinguish between activities that are carried out in each IT project phase
- match key project management tools to their descriptions
If you want your IT project to complete successfully, you need to get it off to a good start. During the early stages of a project – the initiating and planning phases – a project manager should clarify objectives and requirements and create a project plan that delineates, among other things, what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how much it will likely cost. Although the plan may change as the project progresses, it’s important to get down as much detail as you can at the very beginning. This course describes how to initiate an IT project effectively. It then focuses on three key areas of planning – developing a work breakdown structure, schedule planning, and cost planning.
- match steps you take when initiating an IT project to examples of how they are carried out
- sequence examples of the steps in developing a work breakdown structure
- recognize the benefits of being able to develop an effective work breakdown structure
- sequence activities for developing a project schedule
- match project cost estimating techniques to their descriptions
The execution phase in an IT project is when the work gets going and the plan is transformed into action and results. From the start of this phase, it's important for the project manager to establish regular communications with project stakeholders – management, the development team, sponsors, and others – to keep them informed on how the project is progressing. In addition to communicating regularly with stakeholders, a project manager should ensure that the team works well together and that the deliverables are meeting the quality standards, as well as other objectives, set in the project plan. This course describes strategies for maintaining a cohesive project team, outlines ways to communicate project information to different stakeholders, and describes how to keep quality on track during the execution phase of a project.
- recognize how to maintain a cohesive team during the execution phase of an IT project
- distinguish between different methods of communicating IT project information
- match tools used to determine cause of a quality issue to their descriptions
The aim of project monitoring and control is to compare actual progress and performance against the project plan. An IT project manager must analyze any variances from the plan and identify what actions may need to be taken. If project managers don't monitor their projects on a regular basis, they won't know which tasks are behind schedule or over budget, or what the issues or risks are. IT projects can be complex, with many variables, and it's important that project managers know, at all times, how the project is progressing and what is causing any slippages. This course describes how to monitor the progress of an IT project, analyze variances from the project plan, and control changes that may be requested during a project's life cycle.
- calculate variances for a given IT project scenario
- recognize how to analyze variances in an IT project
- sequence the activities in the change control process for an IT project
IT project managers deal with risks every day, including potential cost overruns, schedule delays, design constraints, hardware defects, and software bugs. Without a plan or process in place to address the possibility of unpredictable and unwanted loss during a project, managers may be dealing with risks reactively, rather than proactively. Potential trouble areas need to be identified early and dealt with quickly and appropriately so a project doesn't go over budget, miss deadlines, or negatively affect an organization's reputation. IT project managers can plan effectively for handling the possibility of negative outcomes by following a risk management process. Such a process can help them monitor and control risks throughout a project's life cycle. This course describes the steps in a risk management process for IT projects – from identifying the risks and documenting them, to analyzing and developing appropriate and effective responses.
- match common sources of risks in an IT project to their examples
- match tools for identifying risks in an IT project to their descriptions
- identify effective risk statements for a given IT project
- recognize how to analyze risks in an IT project
- match risk response strategies for an IT project to examples that illustrate them