In this day and age, the very thought of modern project management immediately evokes agile methods. Hailed in innumerable scholarly articles and successfully tried and tested in the IT and digitization environment, agility has become the “gold standard” of project management for some. However, if you take a look at the everyday life of many IT departments, you will still find numerous projects realizing cost and time efficiency using “classic” approaches. And there is good reason for this.
When merging IT systems, in IT carve-outs, in large rollouts or in IT cost reduction projects, available resources are scarce, the time frame is clearly defined and the critical path is known. Instead of working iteratively towards the optimal solution with the help of an agile approach, experienced project managers use classical methods and supplement them with modern tools and methods.
The core of successful IT project management are the well-known, established control levers:
– Time and milestone planning with detailed planning of the go-live and the hypercare phase.
– Budget and resource controlling, regular status reporting and integration into corporate planning.
– Test planning and management with efficient handling of test resources.
– Transparent change request management with transparent scope growth and time and resource implications.
– Business continuity management including agreed “system freezes” with other projects and business requirements.
– Service provider steering with clearly defined requirements, efficient tendering process and clear control of specifications.
In the meantime, however, the requirements for modern IT project management go far beyond these familiar fields of action. As a result, the already demanding role of IT project management is growing significantly more complex.
In recent years, points such as the consideration of data protection and compliance requirements have become considerably more critical. The most reliable way to ensure compliance with high data protection and security requirements is through central planning, control and monitoring. A coordinated consideration of legal requirements, the early integration of the data protection officer and an authorization management controlled via the PMO contribute to fulfilling these requirements.
Continuous, close coordination with the business and active change management to involve all relevant stakeholders are now also a matter of course in IT projects. A comprehensive overall understanding is required in order to avoid silo thinking through interface management, to actively control dependencies and to consider changing requirements in project planning. In addition, an integrated project change management can promote the acceptance of changes by involving relevant stakeholders and thus ensure the sustainable success of the project.
Our practical experience with the management of large and complex IT projects shows that a modern Project Management Office (PMO) can effectively help the project manager to master these growing challenges. In addition to comprehensive control during all project phases, a content-oriented PMO ensures a smooth interface between business and IT and ensures that compliance requirements of all kinds are met.