Five IT Project Management Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Written by on September 21, 2017

Brainstorming business ideas is the easy part. But planning and executing your ideas is often a huge challenge.

Information technology operations have to consider all the moving parts while executing any large-scale project.

For example, if your business expands and you need to move to a bigger location, IT teams have to work with business administration, human resources, finance, and other internal and external teams to plan budgets, order new equipment to support infrastructure, work with service providers to transition, and more.

In the world of IT project management, planning is as important as executing.

Even after meticulous planning, there are bound to be unique challenges that IT project managers have to be ready to tackle. Here are five common IT project challenges, followed by advice on how to overcome all of them and the tools you need to do it.

1. Mid-project adjustments

IT teams must embrace change and adaptability in a very big way. Because most IT projects are commissioned with very little time to plan, IT teams must be highly agile. Execution mode kicks in right after the project brief.

During long projects, there is a big possibility of dealing with new technology changes—which means that if you are the project manager, you pretty much have to start all over again. In situations like these, planning and preparation becomes crucial, along with managing project stakeholders, technology, and budget.

Unless all these are taken into consideration, you can expect a delayed project execution date, and your customers or end-users will not be very pleased.

2. Poor communication between teams

According to Project Management Institute’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession survey, almost a third of all project failures were due to poor communication. One of the biggest challenges as an IT project manager is trying to collaborate with different teams and individuals working from remote locations. All this can make the whole process very ineffective.

For example, an incident such as network downtime can cause severe problems for your customers. IT managers have to work with the network teams to figure out the root cause of the issue and work with the service providers to get systems up and running because you have end-user service level agreements to adhere to.

In the meantime, your public relations team has to think about what’s the right way to send out a notification to your customers, and they need up-to-date information from the IT team in order to do that.

If your IT team isn’t effectively communicating with the other arms of your organization, entire projects can fall apart.

In order to minimize the business impact of situations like this, IT project managers need to be able to manage every aspect of the project and communicate quickly and effectively with each stakeholder to get the problem resolved.

3. Murky delivery models

IT project management is all about having laser-like focus on what is needed to get your project out the door. When it comes to planning and managing an IT project, project managers must be as transparent as possible.

But when an IT team has to incorporate new technology into a project, or tackle an unexpected situation or challenge, it can be hard for them to adapt, especially for a small team with limited manpower and tools.

Maintaining transparency across the project life cycle by having very clear dates, including a start date and end date, and communicating changes in deadlines quickly and clearly, is important in these situations.

4. Staying in touch with remote stakeholders

Gallup poll found that 37% of U.S. workers have telecommuted at some point in their career. IT project managers are expected to set expectations for remote stakeholders—whether its remote employees, vendors, suppliers, or partners.

Aligning your remote stakeholders to your business or project strategy will provide them visibility as they engage across every aspect of your project life cycle. It will also assist them as they deal with departments to manage contracts, procure assets, or interact with finance and accounts for payouts.

These interactions with stakeholders may be easier when they get to be a part of the project and have that added visibility into the project queue.

5. Lack of project management practices

Far too many organizations don’t actually put IT project management into practice. Lack of processes, not having a cadence to revisit the project status of every activity with the stakeholders, or the lack of open lines of communication to break down silos are challenges IT project managers may face along the way.

Addressing these roadblocks and monitoring projects from start to finish is critical. You can do so by keeping up on the latest project management best practices, and using project management software to guide you. One of the better practices to ensure roles are defined is to have a project manager define the activities of every member.

Tools for overcoming project management challenges

With the right IT project management software—popular options include Freshservice, KeyedIn, and LiquidPlanner—you can enable greater collaboration and align your IT needs to your business goals.

You should keep the following capabilities in mind when considering an IT project management tool:

  • Real-time project dashboards to see project details, duration, and completion status
  • Task completion percentage and the ability to display the amount of work left to complete projects/tasks
  • Task status view for every project
  • Task management to track and monitor assigned tasks, subtasks, and dependencies
  • Collaboration tools for comments, tasks, user tagging, and file attachments
  • Search tool based on project name, description, project ID, and attachments

Final thoughts on IT project management

If you are a growing business, a larger organization with multiple ongoing commissioned projects, or if your business processes need to be streamlined and optimized, it is essential to have a tool that gives IT professionals the capabilities they need.

Whether it is IT support, ticketing, reporting, or managing projects and IT assets, you need a single dashboard that provides unified insights to manage your IT service desk.

Check out Capterra’s IT project management software directory to begin your search.

First posted on Capterra.

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