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The Science of Managing Projects in IT

Gaurav Kabra Dec 23, 2016

project management IT Projects IT

Organizations strive to achieve successful completion and implementation of the projects, while there are several hurdles and bottlenecks to be cleared while the project heads towards the deadline. Project Management is a scientific process to ensure successful completion of projects, be it any process in the organization. Though it does involve the art of managing people, primary objective is to handle the work efficiently in a scientific manner, contributing to achieving the organizational goals.

Some of the key points important to efficiently manage projects are:

  • Identify all the work you need to perform: there can be no plan unless it is known what is to be done.
  • Identify all the dependencies in advance. Dependencies are the bottlenecks and are external risks. Mitigation plan should be prepared to manage such risks.
  • Identify possibilities to reduce load on dependencies: Less external dependencies in the process will reduce risks and will help to plan managing the bottlenecks well.
  • Identify possible parallel tracks: Achieving parallelism in the process makes it efficient in terms of resource utilization. An economies of scale must be achieved for optimum utilization of resources while effectively maintaining the critical path. It must be ensured the resources are not idle while the work is stuck at bottlenecks.
  • Plan well before execution, identify all risks and write mitigation plan and contingency plan for those risks.
  • Channelize activities considering the bandwidth of the bottlenecks and achieving the optimum flow of work.
  • Plan for unplanned work. Any work that is not planned and comes your way without any prior notice is unplanned work. The characteristic of unplanned work is that it is always urgent, and it eats away the bandwidth of the planned activities. So plan for such contingency situations.
  • Be ready with a contingency plan for the planned work, since you cannot plan any contingency for unplanned work.
  • Try to implement SCRUM practices to ensure the feedback cycle is short and the risk of complete project failure is mitigated.
  • Make use of Kanban board or similar approach to make the bandwidth of the team visible. This helps in planning new work efficiently since the Manager can assess the bandwidth of any team member at a glance.
  • Plan for an increased throughput and reduced lead time on achievement of every throughput milestone.
  • Record experiments and their learnings, which would help in identifying the best practices for the process.
  • Align activities with the organizational objectives and prioritize accordingly to minimize the negative impact on the bottom-line.

The above points would definitely help to optimize the project management process for its complete lifecycle starting from project planning till project delivery and maintenance.

It is not just viable for SDLC but also applicable in other processes such as presales or finance or Human resources where some tasks can be identified and some appear out of nowhere.

This is merely my understanding to improve the processes with the limited knowledge I have acquired with my experience and reading. Any ideas in line or otherwise would help us enhance our knowledge.

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