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How to identify the key components to planning and managing a complex IT Project

If you are looking to embark on a complex IT Project, there could be a lot at stake. IT projects are very technically challenging and can go on for a very long period of time, this could mean that team members are spread between different locations and time zones.

Michael Bloch has measured that an average large IT project runs 45% over budget and 7% over time whilst being 56% less value for money than originally predicted. These figures are much higher when the IT project is mismanaged and there isn’t a project plan in place. An Example of failed projects include IBM’s stretch project, in 1965 IBM wanted to take on an project to build the world’s fastest supercomputer, after 5 years they built one called stretch. IBM sold the idea of it being 100 times faster than the computers at Los Alamos but was in reality only 30 – 40 times faster, the project was mismanaged from the beginning and they lost 5.7 million in the process.

Another example, the BBC created a The Digital Media Initiative which was the process of moving the BBC away from using and storing tapes. The complex project was taken over by technology company Siemens who have been in the business for an extensive amount time. A catalogue of errors and a series of delays meant that the license fee payers were out of pocket by £98.4m, there was a public apology and consequences. This example shows the importance of finding the key component to planning and managing an IT project.

So if you don’t want to be part of a losing statistic, read on as there are many ways to plan and manage successful IT Projects.

  1. Complex IT projects often require multiple components and technologies which are working towards the end solution. These types of projects rarely ever go to plan as there are always new information that emerge throughout the projects lifecycle. To make the project successful you need someone that has knowledge and experience in the IT sector and can be a strong lead. This person will have previously worked within IT project management and be able to give the project managers solid advice so that they can make complex decisions.
  1. Create a project charter, it can be easy for thoughts and plans to get lost within your mind so get them down on paper. The charter will look at the baseline performance agreement, customer requirements, implementation, cost and allocation to team members. This will benefit not only the employees working on the project but also the stakeholders as this will give them a clear understanding on the process.
  1. Within an IT project team there are project managers, seniors and frontline staff that work on the project. To ensure that the project is completed on time and in an efficient manor why not enrol your staff on IT project management course, this will help their development and help the senior staff with their work load.

London TFE offer an IT project management course which looks at the complexities and solutions to an IT project, the courses are available around the world in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

  1. One of the most important factors to keeping your project running smoothly is to keep a keen eye on the cost, this may be the least pleasant topic, nevertheless is an important one. All members of the team should be aware of the costs associated with the project. If the scope of work changes then the price should be renegotiated with the end client.
  1. When you have a complex long term project it is imperative to measure the outcome and successes. Experienced project leaders understand that monitoring the success of a project pays off in the long run, by broadcasting this you keep the project momentum going and lets the client focus on the initiative.

Need guidance with a project plan? Find out more about our IT project management course