Seven Easy Wins for the IT Project Manager

Alan Garvey offers 7 tips to help IT project managers make an impact.

Make no mistake about it: we are conditioned from birth to win both in business and in life. Those who have mastered the art attain “hero” status, are carried atop shoulders and placed on pedestals. We actively seek out and devour books on the subject. Winning triggers the release of euphoric chemicals such as dopamine and provides an enviable “natural high,” that once experienced, is quite contagious. If you adopt the following seven principles, expect increased  . . . winning.

1. Agree to take on projects outside your comfort zone.

We are all guilty of being somewhat “niche”. Volunteer for that information security project or for delivery of a technology you may not be completely familiar or comfortable with. You'll find that not only are your PM skills applicable in a cross-discipline fashion, but relationships and bridges built, as well as information and knowledge obtained create opportunities, possibilities and avenues for winning in the future!

2. Make assumptions.

Many times project managers fall victim to teams that may not be as forthcoming with information and data as they should be. Many cycles can be spent waiting and pushing without response. Take this perceived loss and turn it into a win. Make and publish project assumptions that may not be fully vetted. Nothing spawns feedback quite like seeing your name next to something you don’t own, or an assumption that something can or will be completed a certain way that may not be best or even possible. You’re on the winning track once realistic, positive information is flowing.

3. Recognise opportunity in risk.

The fact that your team has identified twenty-five risk events does not mean your project is doomed to failure. Take the time to analyse risks to determine opportunities that exist. One risk event may substantially mitigate or eliminate others, while another may morph into an entirely new project altogether. Creating resource utilisation is positive and is recognition for your time and effort, an invaluable win, especially if strategically aligned.

4. Suggest a change budget.

For those unfamiliar with this concept, it’s basically a “bank account” specifically allocated for analysing and implementing changes. Effectively executed change management is inextricably tied to project success. As a PM, you’ve essentially won once the mere suggestion parts your lips. Should the client decline, you’ve planted the seed that changes are cost items, both from an analysis and implementation perspective.

5. Have a resource strategy. 

Once you’ve determined which resources you'll need for the project to be a success, agree to forfeit other resources to obtain your key players. Win the war, not the battle.


Get out there and mingle. Network with peers and professional project management groups.

Alan Garvey

6. Make the most of feedback.

 IT project management is about communication, relationships and delivery. Don’t make the mistake of leaving feedback as an afterthought. Performance improvement, personal betterment and winning relationships are forged from providing, receiving and growing from effective feedback. Want feedback? Ask for it.

7. Get out there and mingle. 

Network with peers and professional project management groups. This may involve attending a local chapter meeting or volunteering PM skills to manage a charitable event. This is your opportunity to cross paths with folks outside your regular circle. Make good use of social media formats, author an article or post to a blog on a project management topic you’re passionate about. Online presence and recognition sets the stage for future wins.

Take a moment to identify which of the seven easy wins you can adopt and implement today . . . and get winning!


Alan Garvey, Managing Director, EMEA and Asia, ESI International, leads a regional team of professionals who are responsible for all aspects of ESI learning programme development and delivery. ESI, a subsidiary of Informa plc (LSE:INF), helps people around the world improve the way they manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors through innovative project management training, business analysis training and contract management training.



Read more on IT project management