Mar 15, 2023
Information technology project management is the term used for the planning, organisation, and management of information technology (IT) projects within organisations.
IT project managers are responsible for delivering their businesses’ IT products and services, and supporting their IT goals and objectives. Like project managers in other areas, they are required to:
- communicate roles and expectations within their projects.
- keep their projects on schedule.
- manage their project budgets and other resources.
- evaluate project performance.
In addition to these standard responsibilities, IT project managers are required to understand the technologies – and the challenges – specific to their IT projects. For example, they will likely need to explore:
- the impact the new product or service will have on areas such as the organisation’s network, servers, and other key technologies
- the technological risks within the project. This can include everything from competing or conflicting technologies that could interfere with the project, to new digital security threats
- the legal and regulatory frameworks that could apply to the new product or service, particularly where brand new, highly innovative technologies are being developed.
There is also frequent overlap between IT project management and change management, with IT projects often requiring updates or overhauls to existing business processes and systems.
IT project management: common activities
IT project managers oversee and implement a wide range of project types within the wider fields of computer science and digital transformation. There are a number of different project management methodologies they can utilise during these activities, but many typically favour agile, which is an iterative approach to project management and digital development.
Software development is an important area for growth within many businesses, but it’s also important for business operations. For example, software development projects can include:
- creating new products and services for customers, such as new platforms or mobile apps
- updating existing software products, including general enhancements and improvements as well as bug fixes and patches
- building new tools and solutions for internal use, such as a new system for human resources within an organisation, or routine systems development as part of an organisation’s wider IT management strategy.
Software development can also include the creation of new enterprise resource planning platforms, which are tools or support systems that businesses can use to integrate and manage all of their processes within a single system.
Hardware installations can be sweeping in scope and costly investments for businesses – but IT projects focusing on hardware are also cyclical in nature. Whether hardware becomes obsolete, breaks down, or is ultimately replaced by enhanced hardware technology systems, hardware has a limited lifecycle and will require updating.
This is why it’s important that an organisation’s IT strategy makes sufficient allowance for IT needs specific to hardware – both in terms of large-scale digital transformation projects as well as day-to-day operations – and why it needs dedicated IT project managers who know how to get the best value out of hardware projects.
IT infrastructure projects
IT infrastructure projects, such as network upgrades, system design, or the development of new databases, are highly technical projects. They are fundamental to an organisation’s success, requiring skilled IT project managers to ensure their proper implementation. According to IBM:
“If an IT infrastructure is flexible, reliable and secure, it can help an enterprise meet its goals and provide a competitive edge in the market. Alternatively, if an IT infrastructure isn’t properly implemented, businesses can face connectivity, productivity and security issues — like system disruptions and breaches. Overall, having a properly implemented infrastructure can be a factor in whether a business is profitable or not.”
Data management projects
A growing number of businesses collect, store, analyse, and use data – and data mining and management projects ensure that they can do so securely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. By implementing these projects properly, businesses can make best use of their data, whether it’s being used to inform a business strategy and new initiatives, or for gaining real-world insight for general decision-making purposes or metrics.
The number of automation projects has increased dramatically in the past decade, and the resulting solutions span everything from chatbots on e-commerce sites and AI prototyping, to supply chain management and processing systems.
Communications technology is one of the staples of IT, covering phones, internet services, cable providers, and even satellites. IT professionals are likely to be well-versed in the field, but new technology is developed all the time, and project managers are required to help launch these technologies and ensure they’re utilised to best effect.
Cloud computing projects
Cloud-based products and services have surged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with both IT departments and non-technical teams making use of their security, scalability, and flexibility. But cloud computing is not without its challenges. For example, cloud services need to be properly integrated and governed within businesses, and this requires project managers to oversee their implementation.
Information systems security, also known as INFOSEC, refers to the measures that protect the data and information within IT systems. Information security projects are crucial for a number of reasons, including brand reputation, data protection, and legal obligations, and typically require partnerships between IT project managers, legal experts, and an organisational executive such as a chief information officer (CIO) or a chief security officer (CSO).
The five phases of IT project management
There are five generally accepted phases in IT project management. These are:
- Initiation. Determine the need for the project, assess its viability, and develop a project proposal.
- Planning. Set the project’s budget, determine its risks, and outline its goals.
- Execution. Communicate, delegate, and deliver.
- Monitor and control. Track the project’s costs and progress, and make corrections where required.
- Closure. Transfer ownership of the project’s deliverables to business-as-usual teams, and evaluate what worked – and what didn’t – during the project.
Learn how to manage IT projects
Explore project management in greater depth and progress into leadership roles within project management teams with the flexible MBA with Project Management at Abertay University. This flexible, 100% online MBA will equip you with the ability to build business cases for change projects, manage resources and risks associated with these projects, and become adept at bringing projects to a successful conclusion.
Leadership in a Changing Environment is one of the key modules on this programme, so you will explore and analyse the relationship between task, people, and technology in the context of organisational change, while also examining different approaches to leadership.