Lessons Learned About Project Management

Using suitable project management practices are necessary in managing costs, schedules and successful implementation in the Information Technology (IT) world. In the organizations I've worked for, I've seen projects implemented the hard way! Through the expense of lessons learned and at times, lack of project quality management--I think I've graduated from the 'University of Hard Knocks', and so have my associates.  We have experienced many projects that were done using the 'ready-aim-fire' approach over the early years of migrating our systems into the client-server world.   I've seen teams being sold on a product that was based on a sales concept which really turned out to be what we called  'vaporware'.  We purchased software that had a version release promised in a later upgrade for the features that were necessary to the project's success. These vendors made promises of a 'quick-fix' that really did not fit the business needs completely, and the organization lacked the skills to objectively decide if it completely met their requirements. This can often be the case for many businesses looking for the silver bullet of functionality to streamline their processes.   New systems were implemented without proper business requirements, sponsorship, or the executives would change their priority and abandon support.

In times of tighter budgets and with the maturity of IT platforms, we have learned that the accountability for limited resources are required using better practices and quality. Executive level commitment in gaining better project management practices have helped our organizations succeed with more effective use of resources and making certain that the technology is aligned with the business goals. By ensuring that resources are actually being committed to training, adopting improved methodologies, processes and tools to stay within project schedules and budgets, we can anticipate changes better.  Stable practices and quality products evolve with knowledge.

I've seen many Departments who have developed project quality management practices. The practice is not simple, as there are many facets to Project Management (PM).  Some of these facets in the following list are some of the PM principles that require expertise and guidance to ensuring project success:

The lessons learned have facilitated many organizations in implementing PM practices a part of their culture. To bring PM practices into your projects you'll need to start first with executive sponsorship and with:

Once you get going with your project, you'll understand why Project Management is called both an Art and a Science.  There are many useful web sites on Project Management and Software Development practices for the IT world.  I've only listed a few below.   In addition to the link to the Project Management Institute, here are some of my favorites related to Project Management and Information Technology:

Software Programs Manager Network
Silicon Valley News Ed Yourdon's Page svc-pmi.org

Thanks to all of those who have exchanged ideas and information.  One of my favorite networking avenues for sharing best practices is my local chapter of PMI and the University Extensions.