I hate to break the news, but if you don’t love project management, you’re probably failing as an IT manager. Why? Because if you’re not embracing project management, you’re making the people who report to you work longer and harder than they should. In this column, I’ll tell you why you need to be your company’s biggest fan of the IT project management process.
Reason #1: You can’t remember everything.
Recently I met with an IT manager who told me in no uncertain terms what he thinks about IT project management: “It’s worthless.” I wish I could have told this person “Get over yourself, loser!” But that would have been the impolitic response. Instead, I asked this person to give me one good reason why an IT manager would NOT be a big fan of project management. “When it comes to my projects, I don’t need someone telling me what to do. I know what I’m doing.”
I don’t need someone telling me what to do?! That attitude constitutes what I like to call old-fashioned, seriously out-of-touch-with-reality, bad management. If you feel the same way, you need to get over yourself. When it comes to getting your big-ticket projects done on time and without going over budget, you do need someone (an IT project manager) to tell you what do to.
Why? Because you can’t remember everything that has to be done. You can’t remember every detail about every task and remind every person involved in the project of key milestone dates and deadlines. You can’t keep it all in your head, and even if you could, you don’t have time to do your job AND manage projects.
Your IT project manager can remember everything that needs to be done. Why? Because that’s the IT project manager’s only job! The IT project manager writes down everything that needs to be done and keeps all the moving parts moving.
Reason #2: You’ll get blamed if your project fails.
Here’s what I think is the most important reason for a good IT manager to learn to love project management: If you insist on managing the project yourself, guess who gets blamed if the project is late or fails or goes woefully over budget? You will! You will get blamed, and you don’t need the stink of failure on you.
I’m not advocating that you blame the project manager if the project fails. Sometimes projects fail no matter how well they’ve been managed. But when an organization fails to complete a funded project, the fault belongs to the entire project team. If there is no project team, and if you’ve tried to do or direct all the project yourself, you’ll be held accountable.
Start your love affair with IT project management with a free Communication Plan template
As all good IT project managers know, the first step toward project success is getting everyone involved to buy into the concept of the project. The way you document how you’ll update the world on project progress is typically by executing a Communication Plan. In their IT Project Manager’s Toolkit, our friends at Method123 Ltd. have included a Communication Plan template that makes it easy for you and your IT project manager to get the project off on the right foot.
We at ToolKit Café highly recommend the IT Project Manager’s Toolkit for all IT managers who want to do a better job of finishing projects on time and under budget. Before you purchase that toolkit, we invite you to download this Communication Plan template and fill it out for the next big project on your calendar. The template will ask you to document, among other things, project details such as the vision for the project, the people who will need updates, and the methods by which you’ll notify those people.
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