Tips for Being a Better IT Project Manager

Aug 21, 2012
5 Min Read

We’ve talked about some of the nitty-gritty methods by which you can utilize IT management software to lead a more effective IT service management team, but discussing something on the level of IT project management really requires a much broader conceptual approach.

IT project management is sort of like ensuring that all the tiny pieces of the jigsaw puzzle come together to form the perfect picture. In order to do so successfully, you’ve got to be able to focus from a vantage point just right to be able to take in the whole picture before it’s done being pieced together.


1. Be Realistic

That goes for both your own expectations of yourself, as well as what you agree to deliver. Pie-in-the-sky promises are only setups for disaster. Anytime you find yourself glazing over details in your mind in order to be able to impress someone or please their sense that you’re going to bring things in “under budget and ahead of deadline,” pump the brakes. A big part of completing an IT service management project on time is your ability to be honest with what you’re capable of. If you can’t pull it off, don’t say you can.

2. Divide and Conquer

A project of gargantuan proportion is just that – until you break it up into smaller, digestible chunks. Only then are you able to approach managing an immense IT project with anything other than dread, anxiety, and the fear that you’ve bitten off far more than you can chew. Set milestones that you and your team can look ahead to. IT project management can be like running a marathon. If you’re constantly looking ahead trying to see the finish line, you’re bound to set yourself up for early burnout. Taking one step at a time, on the other hand, can give you the impression that the end won’t ever be reached. But dividing the distance gives perspective and brings great satisfaction on the completion of each leg of the journey.

3. Establish Roles Firmly

Yet another ingredient in the recipe for IT project management disaster is neglecting to tell each and every person involved in the project exactly what their role is, and what’s expected of them. No surer way exists to create an environment for overlooked tasks, incomplete work and dropped balls. If it helps, put everything down on paper. Even if it doesn’t help (or if you think it won’t), put it in writing. The act of doing so will help you formulate a tangible road map for project completion, and will be the definitive reference point that both you and your team can refer back to as the project grows in complexity. Establishing roles ahead of time will ensure that everyone has a concrete understanding of what they have to do in order for the IT project to succeed.

IT project management requires deliberate planning and disciplined execution. Adherence to the steps outlined above isn’t a guarantee for success. But ignoring them in favor of adopting a loose, relaxed and completely unstructured approach to your project is a slam dunk guarantee for failure.

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