IT project management basics: Get the individual components right

What are the basic aspects of proper IT project management? We caught with leading Indian CIOs to reach a consensus on IT project management basics.

Prioritizing the different aspects of an IT project implementation has always been a challenging matter, irrespective of the scales in question. This is why IT project management basics cannot be a holistic term as such–many a times, various aspects can become a dilemma when it comes to management of various other IT project management basics than just technology (foremost of them being budgets).

Information Technology is a business of its own today, and not a mere appendage. As a result of this evolution, even a slight IT project botch-up can result in repercussions.  This is why we took the call to consult leading CIOs for their tips on IT project management essentials. Here's a list of IT project management basics that will help you effectively plan an IT rollout in your organization.

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IT project management basics 1: Fund allocation
Allocation of the requisite budgets puts a project in the right prospective. Anil Saxena, the associate director of IT at MTS India, puts proper IT budgeting exercises as an IT project management basic. Although fund allocation occupies a significant position in most IT budgets, the priority levels for each individual project might vary across organizations (based on its size). On this front, the point to be deliberated on is the "how much" aspect. As in, how do CIOs decide allocation of money in the overall IT budget for a particular IT rollout?

Subhasish Saha, the chief technology officer of Apeejay Surrendra Group, says the onus of allocating funds lies on the IT department. Instead of imposing a budget on the IT department, it is important that they certify the value of any solution which has to be implemented. Once this value is ascertained, it becomes easier to earmark the proportionate funds.

IT project management basics 2: A sound business plan
Once the funds have been allocated, the next IT project management basic to look out is the decisions about alignment of technology with business needs. Swaranjit Soni, the executive director of IS at Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), finds this the most challenging aspect of IT project management. Having a sound business plan helps, he adds. Once the business plan is ready, it needs to be sold to stakeholders within the organization. The plan must outline the business case, the return on investment, and associated risks.

IT project management basics 3: Technology management team

IT project management is not an intractable problem if proper management is at hand. This is why Soni says that an efficient technology management team is a must for any organization implementing an IT project. The technology management team must have technical competence to carry out the implementation process.

However, the jury is divided on whether the technology management team should be solely in-house personnel or not. For example, Saxena is a believer in outsourcing the technology management team, depending on availability of funds.

IT project management basics 4: Training of employees in alignment with technology

Imparting proper training to employees so that work processes are aligned with the new technology is another basic factor in effective IT project management. It's crucial that everyone's on board during an IT implementation. This is why Saxena says that training of employees is an on-going process. Train internal staff and keep their work aligned with the new technology.

It's sufficient to say that employees have to continue working with the new project even after implementation is complete. Saha's advice on this front is to focus on the post-implementation phase. This is done mostly to check whether solutions have been used optimally. Keeping processes as flexible as possible also takes care of the dangers of a new project adversely affecting work.
The list of management basics for your IT project depends largely on your resources and requirements. These are difficult choices to make in the beginning during project planning. Therefore, careful analysis is a key aspect of this entire process.

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