Avoid disasters on your next IT project

By: William Holeksa

Date: 2 October 2018

Avoid disasters on your next IT projectRunning an IT project to completion is challenging, and there are no universal formula for success. But there are certainly some ways to boost the chances of your project staying on track.

Here are a few elements to pay close attention to when running an IT project.

Check progress against the schedule

One of most obvious elements that you should monitor regularly is progress against the project schedule. By keeping a close eye on whether interim deadlines are being hit, you'll be able to pick up early signs of miscommunication, inadequate coordination or poor task execution.

You will also be able to tell whether your project is likely to meet its milestones and its overall deadline for completion. Finally, regular check-ins against the schedule help your team to stay focused.

Watch out for scope creep

It's smart to define a project's scope before starting work. Some projects suffer from slippage or growth in what they are trying to achieve as they go along - 'scope creep' - which will naturally impact on your ability to hit deadlines and stay within budget.

By keeping a tight rein on project boundaries, you can make sure that everything goes according to plan.

Control costs

From budget forecasting and planning to tracking and analysis, most project management methodologies offer techniques for understanding direct and indirect project costs.

Be sure to monitor expenses carefully and rein in spending when needed - that's how you ensure that your project doesn't unnecessarily exceed its budget.

Anticipate possible problems

Whether it's technical failure, miscommunication in the team or higher than anticipated costs, every project comes with risks.

By anticipating, managing and regularly monitoring them, you can eliminate or at least reduce their impact - making sure that your project proceeds smoothly toward completion.

Look for optimisation opportunities

This element is often overlooked, as project managers tend to concentrate on keeping their project on track, as planned.

However, smart managers always look for opportunities for optimisation - be it implementing new tools or coming up with innovative ways to streamline tasks to make the project more successful.

Make sure your team is productive

Monitor how the work completed by your team compares to your project schedule. For example, you can measure the productivity of a software development team by checking the number of software features they deliver in a given timeframe.

This helps you to identify issues such as an unrealistic workload or inadequate tech - and avoid a growing backlog of tasks. You will also improve your ability to set realistic deadlines, and make more accurate forecasts about future projects.

The final word

These are just a few elements that you will need to monitor, depending on the individual requirements of your IT project.

If you partner with an outsourced development team, it's likely your outsourcing partner will be measuring and monitoring other factors as well. Be sure to reach out to them and share conclusions to boost your collaborative efforts and ensure the high quality of your project deliverables.

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