On a number of projects, it will be the responsibility of the IT manager to take the lead. Whilst it is understandable that an IT project manager will have strong IT skills they may not necessarily have the right project management qualifications for the role. Here are just some of the most common challenges that an IT project manager may face.
Lack of skills in the team
Having a team that does not have the skills most suited to the project is one of the most common problems that an IT managers can find themselves faced with. Having the right training for project managers can really help them to look at the people on their team, see what skills and competencies they already have, and also see what gaps they have. This will then show them what type of additional people they need to hire or what training needs to be undertaken.
Lack of accountability
Another challenge that project managers often find themselves dealing with is accountability, or rather a team where there is a lack of accountability. Team members need to take responsibility for their own work, the things that can affect the outcome of the project. When they don’t do this, it can lead to a lot of conflicts.
Lack of clearly defined goals
When there are no clearly defined set goals for a project, everyone can suffer. Middle managers are responsible for setting clear goals with any line managers so that the members of a team know what goals they are working towards. Goals should be set and communicated in advance of the start of the project in order for things to run as smoothly as possible.
Changes to scope
Sometimes referred to as scope creep, this occurs when the person in charge of a project allows its scope to go beyond any original agreed objectives. These changes often occur because the client has an idea, something they feel would be a benefit to the project. The skill of the project manager is knowing which if any should be accommodated bearing in mind the original budget and timescales of the project.
Not understanding risk management
It is important for any project manager, IT project managers included, to understand how risk management is implemented. It is rare for a project to actually go to plan so anticipating the unexpected is essential. A project manager needs to plan for problems and ensure that they have contingency plans in place.
The key to working well as a project team is communication and good communication needs to start with the project manager. Good communication is about being able to communicate effectively with every member of your team and also your clients and stakeholders, it is also about listening properly to everyone involved in the project. It can be a valuable tool when working to deal with conflicts and also to establish clear goals.
Finally, it is very easy for a project to go off course. Unexpected events can happen which will delay you, scope creep can get in the way. As a project manager, it is important to be aware of deadlines and try to ensure that the work is steered towards meeting these deadlines. It isn’t always possible to meet every deadline but if they are caught early enough it is often possible to bring things back on track.