At a National Association of State Chief Information Officers conference in Washington a few months ago, almost half the respondents to an informal audience poll said they don't have a process to filter out half-baked IT projects early in the process. Nearly 60 percent said they have trouble canceling troubled projects late in the game.
Seem familiar? Gopal Kapur, founder of the Center for Project Management (CPM) in San Ramon, Calif., recently told StateTech Magazine that it's a common problem for public-sector CIOs. The CPM helps public- and private-sector IT departments meet some of their most difficult project management challenges.
The article showcased Mecklenburg County, N.C., where IT department managers instituted traditional project management processes to drive the migration of 5,800 users from Microsoft Exchange to Office 365. Cliff DuPuy, the county IT director, told StateTech that several factors helped his department complete the migration in six weeks, including:
- A broad-based project team of individuals with server, application, help desk, and project management experience who "did the heavy lifting and engaged others in the organization, as needed"
- A "daily war room meeting" where team members reviewed status updates and facilitated problem solving
- A 10-person "ground crew" who kept staffers and departments apprised of migration schedules and helped troubleshoot kinks in the process
- Buyin from senior government leaders
Though DuPuy's team adhered to traditional PM processes, it didn't follow a formal project methodology for the Office 365 deployment. "Sometimes, it's good to be formal and rigid," he told StateTech. "But with migration from on-premises to the cloud, it would have been very laborious and extended the migration out much longer than we wanted."
Kapur, who has spent more than 20 years as a PM consultant, shared with StateTech his own list of "seven deadly sins" for project management:
- Failing to adhere to a project process architecture
- Treating half-baked ideas as projects
- Missing (or ineffective) leadership
- Employing underskilled project managers
- Inadequately tracking project vital signs
- Failing to conduct timely project triage
- Managing the project portfolio poorly
Do you have IT project management tips to share? Please tell us in the comments.