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The right approach

The right approach

Managing projects the right way can help your company achieve its goals and even boost revenue. Here are some ideas.

Bad project management can kill a company. One day a company comes in with a bang and the next day it goes with a poof. In times like these,

with the current poor economic climate, it is getting very hard for

organisations to keep up the revenues, sometimes even hard to break

even. Management of projects in the right way can help achieve goals

and keep organisations proactive.

Technology is supposed to solve problems. That's why the products are

referred to as 'technology solutions'. Management is meant to draw the

path everyone in the company has to follow in order to use the

solutions to reach the intended goals. And management usually creates

the framework before the IT enables its various modules. Keeping this

horse and cart example in mind, once you have your organisation

running, the management of IT comes into play. There are policies and

procedures to make the maintenance easier.

Some pointers

Here's what you need to be looking at when talking about IT management

within the organisation:

  • Asset management: keeping track of all hardware and software assets
within the organisation.
  • Change management: ensuring that system changes do not interfere
with reliable operation and availability of the systems.
  • Disaster recovery and contingencies: enabling the continuity of
business regardless of any incident or event which may result in a

systems outage or loss of critical data.

  • End-user support: being able to resolve technical problems and
assist non-technical staff members in the use of technology. Remember:

the technology is supposed to make their work easier.

  • Security management: ensuring the integrity of data and the
business, protecting it from data loss, theft or damage.
  • Software licensing control: ensuring compliance with licensing laws.
Where you cannot 'afford' to do so, take the higher ground and opt for

open source which now has more user-friendly interface with Ubuntu and

others apps.

  • Systems administration: ensuring that user-ids are current, access
is appropriate, and that storage capacity is kept at required levels.

Remember that password theft usually takes place because poor password

security is practised and this is generally a human error.

  • Systems management: ensuring that hardware and software
configurations are current, documented and performing as expected.
  • Systems are optimised for certain operating systems. Try and match
those optimal standards.
  • Technology standards management: setting product standards that
ensure systems reliability, compatibility and lower support costs.
  • Virus protection: ensuring that workstations are protected from
virus threats.

However, simply listing these down doesn't mean that all the IT within

the company has been taken care of. Because there is so much human

involvement and alignment with business required, there are more

vulnerabilities than holes in a sponge which have to be planned for.

Without contingencies in place, the management of IT across the board

becomes an enormous challenge.

But before you attempt to identify the challenges that the management

of IT has, you have to better understand what kind of hierarchy runs

your IT department and ultimately, what the role of IT is in the

progress of a company. Depending on the expertise you have in terms of

the technology workforce, the size and budgets available to them, you

can better determine exactly what your IT 'structure' looks like.

IT's role

Traditionally, IT is described as being centralised, decentralised,

outsourced or hybrid. Once you figure out what role IT has to play

within itself, only then will you know how many of the processes it is

actually responsible for and how much it can be accountable for. An

organisation which has a centralised IT structure means there is only

one reporting authority responsible for all IT functions. A

decentralised plan simply means that there are multiple entities

responsible and accountable for all functions across the organisation.

Could be that purchasing and deployment are taken care of by one

authority, while maintenance and training are conducted by another. By

implementing the best practices for effective IT management, you

should be hoping to achieve the following:

Bring management costs down.

  • Maintain all systems and workstations as available an accessible as
possible at all times.
  • Keep your IT management guidelines as updated as possible and your
staff as well-trained as possible.
  • Have the IT management guidelines enforced from the very top, as
part of the management or business strategy. Only when this happens,

will you achieve true business and IT alignment.

  • Be sure and implement IT management practices for the sake of what
makes good business sense and not necessarily for control purposes

because you are technically savvy.

Basic constraints

Project management works, based on three basic constraints: scope,

cost and time. Often, many organisations fail because they don't have

their scopes defined. When the scope is not set, the cost can never be

calculated. Adding onto the scope will maximise the cost and time,

which is not a favourable situation for growing organisations.

A project manager ensures that all the tasks are well-documented and

properly time-lined so that the organisation can achieve its set

targets. The manager also defines the strategy of an organisation on a

long-term basis rather than working on ad-hoc policies.

IT management, which is a function of project management, is practised

in an even more informal manner. However, with more companies

competing with players in the regional or global level, the role that

technology continues to play in an organisation will continue to be

more critical. We will require not just good project managers, but

also technology-savvy project managers who understand and appreciate a

structured approach to IT management within the organisation.

While it isn't the only component involved, technology plays a vital

role as far as project management is concerned. Software solutions

such as Microsoft Project, Primavera and IBM Portfolio Management are

some of the leading software tools specially built for better

management. And with software solutions becoming more powerful, they

help with analysis and management, beyond the basic output.

Being proactive

With customisation options, a powerful project management software can

help you to be proactive with your decision-making, to foresee the

impact an action may have on the project. Technology alone of course

cannot handle the project management within any organisation. It is

basically the combination of sound policies, hands-on technology and

people who know what they want out of that technology. At the end of

the day, these are only a collection of tools that can be used. If the

right policies are implemented with the right technology, an

organisation can achieve a revenue gain of as much as 20 per cent

instantly.

One of the common mistakes that many companies make while implementing

project management policies is the fact that they judge the progress

with the shortcomings. Companies are getting aware of different ways

they can implement the project management policies but the resolve

needs to come from the management. They need to understand what is

exactly required to set up a project management office.

IT projects commonly fail because the people are not trained to use

the technology. If the project plan is good, you have properly

resourced it, trained it, timed it and if it meets the timelines, you

retain your customers and make your profit. It's a methodology that

can change the way many organisations work and ensure a better and

efficient working environment.

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