The Phases of IT Project Management in Traditional and Agile Methodologies
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Managing an IT project can be daunting, and it’s best to divide it up into phases to keep you headed in the right direction. Dividing it into phases breaks the total workload into smaller, more manageable components. These smaller components are not only more manageable but also easier to monitor. Each phase has its own goals and deliverables, keeping the project on task and on time.
In this article, we will walk through the common phases in IT project management aligned with the traditional “Waterfall” and Agile approaches.
Traditional Phases in IT Project Management
The Waterfall methodology refers to a sequential project management approach where one phase is completed before the next phase begins. Every task in each phase is documented and specified, and as soon as all tasks in a phase are complete, the next phase can begin.
If a project manager deviates from this methodology, it may be necessary to go back and repeat earlier phases. This may require additional budget and time for rework.
In traditional project management, the phases are: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring & Control, and Completion. Let briefly review each phase.
In phase one, you want to draw up the list of stakeholders for your IT project. Knowing who is going to be affected by this project helps define the project goals. Defining goals is what ultimately drives the project.
In the initiation phase, you also create a business case to justify the proposed project based on its expected benefit.
Finally, you can complete the project charter once the goals, stakeholders, and business case are clear. You need to come up with an elevator pitch for the project to get everyone on board.
Once you have the project off the ground, you start the planning phase.
In this phase, you will define the scope of the project. The scope includes all of the specific goals, milestones, tasks, outcomes, costs, and a proposed outline for the project. These will all be identified and documented. Once the scope is determined, you can set a budget for the project. Be sure to research the costs so that you have a realistic budget.
Last, you’ll define the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the project. Sourcing IT projects provides the optimal placement of external and internal work to allow you to meet the goals and objectives.
It’s time to get started. In the execution phase, the project resources will be allocated and managed. You will work to build the product or create the process for the project based on the scope from phase two.
During the execution phase, it’s not uncommon for team members to meet frequently to define and fix problems as they arise. You’ll want to tackle any issues as they happen to keep the project moving along the timeline.
4. Monitoring and Control
As you monitor the project’s progress, you’re going to be tracking the costs and the efforts to ensure the project is on track. You want to make sure that the project is adhering to the plan as much as possible.
During the monitoring and control phase, you can prevent any chances for further disruptions in the project.
Once the project has been tested and successful, the product or process is ready to be delivered. In the completion phase, you hand over and review any deliverables and get project results approved by the stakeholders.
You will want to document anything that was learned during the project for future reference. Submit a detailed report that covers every aspect of the project from beginning to end.
One way to simplify the phases of IT project management is through cloud-based software. This type of software allows you to store the documents related to the project, allowing all stakeholders access. Project management makes daunting projects possible.
Agile Phases in IT Project Management
Agile is a framework for creating flexible IT projects. With the Agile approach, there are no formal phases, but there are many concepts that should guide you as you work with agile project management.
Agile requires that you have a specific objective and scope for each project. Once these goals are understood, plan your tasks and define how long it will take to complete each one.
Once the plan has been made, execute it! It’s important to understand what is needed at every step of the way to ensure execution stays on track and goals are met.
When you execute, you may find that certain tasks are too difficult or easy to do. If so, you may need to adjust the project’s timeline, resources, and goals. You can’t expect everything to go perfectly according to plan. Development of products is typically more fluid than other activities in the project management cycle.
As you execute, build the product based on what has been learned so far.
After you complete the plan, measure how well it went. You may find that the project was more successful than expected, which will allow you to make even better plans.
Then, learn from your experience to improve your future projects. These small tweaks can go a long way in improving any business’s agility and speed of execution.
IT projects can be overwhelming. While there are lots of moving parts, you can expect that the experience will only grow your skills as a project manager. As always, practice makes perfect.
When you start researching how to manage IT projects, I hope that the tips here are helpful to you. You can make any system more effective by asking for feedback and working to improve it with every new project you take on.