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Monday, December 30, 2013

IT Project Success

Top 10 Best Practices for Making an IT Project Successful

The purpose of a project is to build compatibility in IT, in order to meet your business goals. According to Ross, from MIT, only 11% of companies worldwide are currently building IT capabilities that are successfully using a mature architecture framework.

A mature architecture road map is necessary for the success of any IT project.

Enterprise Architect plays a key role because they service the entire business, including strategy and execution well beyond IT and IT solutions delivery. 

Role of Enterprise Architect in Project Management

1. Focus on business intents and convert them in a storyboard. Allow Enterprise Architect to focus on business & System architecture to cover business needs at least for next 2 years.

Project Evaluation Matrix

This is the job of EA to analyze the success factor of a project along with business team, project manager , subject matter expert & organization culture. Organization should focus on strategic projects.

2. EA & IT teams should focus on COTS product deployment instead of a general requirement based on custom development. Subject matter experts, integration & functional architects should work on finding out how quickly the storyboards could be configured in the COTS product directly.

EA needs to play a crucial role in aligning IT with business.

Process Chain & Framework to be followed for successful
completion of large IT transformation projects.
COBIT : Business & IT alignment. Mainly for Governance i.e. direct

Next Architecture blueprint & service strategy finalization. This is most critical. TOGAF & ITIL framework both are applicable here. PRINCE2 or PMI methodology for managing the change.

 Service Transition & continuous  will be applicable during operation.

  Key focuses should be quick deployments of the available functionality quickly. EA teams should work with senior users and members of supplier teams, in order to include non-available requirements/intents in product road maps. This approach will give the required agility when addressing business needs by the IT team.

3. EA teams should prepare business cases along with estimated efforts (pessimistic, optimistic and most likely) for critical deliverable to project bards for approval of the initiation of projects. This is important because a good architecture means reusability of components and architect teams should justify the range of the estimated effort.

Role of Project Board & Project Managers/Team Managers

4. Project boards should appoint a project team and a project manager. The project manager will work with multiple teams in order to build a complete business case. The project manager should also prepare details for various stages of the project, how each stage of the project will be executed and allow tolerances for each stages boundaries and include an exception management plan for each stage. Project managers should now submit the entire business case to project boards for approval for the formal initiation of projects.

5. Next, project managers need to prepare a detailed project plan using Microsoft Project. Project managers should follow PERT CPM methods to build the schedule & to optimize the projects plans and identify at least two critical paths, major constraints, or dependencies.

6. Project boards should agree and approve of the project plan, stage boundaries and exception plans for each stage: Risk, Issues and Quality Management & Reports Dashboard, along with reporting frequency. Project boards should be direct on following certain methodologies and frameworks and need to periodically check the process adherence and revalidation of business care. Project managers need to create a project team and assign them a work package.

7. Project boards should agree on project governance & management report.

(a) Governance reports should include Z score, CPI & SPI along with trends in an agreed frequency. The purpose of this step is to improve the probability of completing the project on schedule and within cost. 

Z score helps predict any delay based on the estimate of remaining work, whereas EVM method forecasts
based on actual work completed

(b) Weekly project report dashboards should present risk statistics. There need to be clear risk mitigation & contingency plans for risks above the agree tolerance. A root cause analysis should be available for any violations of any SLA/OLA. This helps with the early arrest of any potential issues.

(c) Project boards should know key decisions taken when, why and by whom.

(d) EA & SME should ascertain the quality for products, any deviations from previously agreed product descriptions and product acceptance criteria.

8. Increase the communications within team members because this will create an engaged workforce. This will also help to create a more cohesive and motivated team.

9. Find the influencers and the connections within the organization who may be able to help you move the project along. The more people talk who talk about the program will encourage others to participate in the program voluntarily, increasing the acceptability of the project. Project managers should learn to avoid/neglect few people, mainly because they are destructive critics.

10. Always, think about what could go wrong and how you could act quickly to mitigate the problem.
Related Article: Microsoft Project Tutorial

About the author : Arindam has spent 23 years of his career managing large and complex IT transformation projects. He is a telecommunications engineer & PRINCE2 practitioner. Arindam has hands on working experience with ITIL, COBIT & TOGAF. He has completed more than 50 projects total, worth more than $150M USD around the globe.

1 comment:

  1. Very practical 10 practices. Are you bringing in agile too later?