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How Project Management Improves the Success Rate of IT Projects

Given the nature of their job, project managers are constantly feeling the heat. Ever-changing project requirements and dynamic trends require project managers to constantly think on their feet and move with agility.

However, keeping track of various variables and ensuring project success is not an easy ask – from meeting project goals to ensuring that the projects gets completed within the stipulated budget, scope, and timelines, there are plenty of moving parts to consider.

This is where setting up a robust project management mechanism comes in handy. In this blog, we will explore the benefits, strategies, success factors, and reasons for failure related to project management. Let’s get started.

What Does Project Management Mean and What Do Project Managers Do?

As per recent data, a staggering 69% of project professionals believe that their senior leaders value project management. Furthermore, around 61% of project managers confess to applying a defined project methodology.

The Project Management Institute defines project management as using “specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people – which could be a product/service/result.” Typically, a project management lifecycle comprises four key stages: Initiation, Planning, Execution, and Closure.

Naturally, the real question then becomes:

What do project managers do?

In the broadest sense, you can think of project managers as the ‘glue’ that hold the team together. They are essentially responsible for:

  • Planning, organizing, and directing projects from start to finish and having greater control over the project
  • Ensuring that project goals and objectives are strategically aligned with that of the organization
  • Creating and leading a talented team that’s best suited to carry out the project tasks and subtasks
  • Identifying and managing risks
  • Driving careful resource management
  • Engaging in smart budgeting and ensuring that projects run on time, within the budget, and within the scope
  • Driving open and clear communication across multiple teams and stakeholders
  • Monitoring project progress and setting deadlines
  • Evaluating performance and ensuring stakeholder satisfaction
  • Resolving issues proactively, instantly, and satisfactorily

Project Management Success and Failure: Top 5 Factors

If you want to understand the top factors for project management failure or if you’re wondering how does project management improve the success rate of IT projects, keep reading.

Project Failure: Top Causes How Project Management Can Help
Improper project planning: Poor project planning can sink projects before they even begin. Most team members dislike the planning phase, where the project goals are established. Without a defined project management methodology, it can become difficult to decide on the success metrics, KPIs, goals, etc. As per data, around 54% of project management practitioners do not have access to real-time project KPIs, making it a big problem for effective project execution. Improved planning: According to data, 73% of organizations that use a formal project management approach always or often have met the goal or intent. Additionally, 63% have completed the projects within budget and 59% have delivered the projects on time. As you can imagine, project management has a direct and positive impact on project planning. It also allows you to execute projects better and clearly define the goals and responsibilities.
Absence of collaboration between project stakeholders: A glaring lack of communication and coordination is the second-most issue for projects. Centralized platform: As per a recent survey, a quarter of the survey respondents reported not having the right collaboration tool – a big mistake. Having access to a centralized project management platform acts as the single source of truth, ensuring everyone stays in-the-know, and is aware of the latest updates within the project at all times. Plus, you can streamline the operations and workflows, and improve the turn-around time for projects.
Time wastage as a result of using multiple tools: IT projects in particular require team members to shuffle between multiple software and tools. This leads to time wastage, greater effort, and inevitable burnout. The team members become less and less productive as they struggle with wrapping their heads around multiple tools. This also reduces their focus and lowers their morale, leading to weakened outputs. Skyrocketing productivity: According to a PMI report, more than a third of ‘high maturity’ projects are not completed on time. The right tool can enable project managers to leverage features such as time-tracking, and ensure everything gets delivered within the predefined timelines.
Rigid project schedules: IT projects, by their very nature, can become unnecessarily rigid in implementation and approach. In other words, over-emphasis on every small detail can delay the project. While planning for every contingency is a good idea, organizations should exercise caution when diving deep into the little details of the project. Process flexibility: A one-size-fits-all approach to project management will no longer cut it. High-performing project managers understand the need to iterate their process and move between the Agile, Waterfall, or Hybrid models as required. As per a PMI report, only a fifth (21%) of companies relied on standard project management practices. In other words, improved flexibility leads to an improved adoption rate for IT project management.
Lack of visibility into team progress/status: Finally, without a project manager at the helm, accessing real-time visibility into the team’s progress can become an uphill task. Project management ensures everyone stays on the same page and the team moves ahead with greater transparency in terms of communication as well as implementation. Increased ROI: Using a project management tool has cost benefits. According to research, a whopping 60% of companies who use a project management tool tend to complete their projects within the stipulated deadlines. The better the project output, the more profitable it is for the company.

The writing is on the wall: Failing IT projects can be a big cause of worry. If you’re still on the fence about adopting a project management methodology, consider the following statistic by Gartner:

According to Gartner Research, 75% of large IT projects managed with the support of a project management information system (PMIS) will succeed, while 75% of projects without such support will fail.” In today’s dynamic business landscape, project managers cannot hope to drive successful IT projects without basing it on a tried-and-true project management methodology first.

Armed with the right set of project management strategies and hacks, project managers can pave the way for a winning IT project on a consistent basis (and with a proven track record).

Top 4 Proven Benefits of Project Management

In this section, we will deep-dive to understand why project management is the backbone of successful IT projects. Here are six powerful reasons:

  1. Failed projects = delayed business growth:

Undermining project management can cost your organization dearly by way of failed projects. According to PMI, organizations that undervalue project management report outright projects failings of 50% or more on an average. As projects fail, costs shoot up, deliverables get side-tracked, and business growth gets stunted.

  1. Better communication = happy stakeholders:

Considering the fact that a project has multiple stakeholders, having a centralized point of contact is essential to drive seamless communication. Everyone should be well-informed of the project progress and status at all stages, making a project manager instrumental to project success.

  1. Proven methodology = 360-degree results-oriented benefits:

As per PMI, companies that leverage any type of project management methodology benefit from improved budgeting, staying on schedule, meeting project scope, achieving quality standards, and ensuring compliance.

  1. Clear goals = improved outcome = saved costs:

As per data, lack of clear goals has been the primary reason for project failure. Plus, PMI further states that 9.9% of every dollar invested gets wasted due to poor project performance.

This is where project managers can step in and help organizations to prioritize their objectives and goals without letting team members muddle up the project. Project management can help the team to focus on the right tasks at the right time and pivot as needed.

Apart from these benefits mentioned above, project management also helps:

  • Set realistic and achievable goals, budgets, and deadlines instead of overestimating timelines or costs
  • Teams to work proactively (as opposed  to reactively) and set defined parameters right at the beginning of the project
  • Break down the project into more manageable segments with clearly-defined goals, deadlines, and milestones
  • Ensure quality control without rushed work or unprofessional execution getting in the way
  • Align projects, subsequent tasks, and milestones with business strategy and acts as a driver of organizational strategy
  • Internal and external stakeholders to understand the various strategic priorities and business objectives and move ahead in a data-informed capacity using a collaborative project plan in place
  • Manage projects keeping the three factors in mind: cost estimation, resource management, and risk assessment

Tying It All Together

Project management has emerged as a must-have for organizations today. The right project management methodology can not only help save costs but also streamline the style of work, drive greater collaboration, mitigate risks, optimize resources, improve stakeholder satisfaction, and ensure that the project is a raging success, irrespective of the unpredictable business landscape that enterprises find themselves in today.

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