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March 18, 2009

Track IT Project Progress

In this blog, I will cover ways to improve performance in your projects in regards to meeting a schedule, staying within budget, maximizing resources and producing quality output from your projects.

I'll try to cover as much as I can across different industries, keeping in mind that there are many varying ways to manage, track and optimize projects from different sectors, regions and industries.

Let me get started with a few important points around what is probably my most frequently addressed industry: IT technology.

One very important task to begin with on all IT projects that you must practice, but which I say neglected far too often, is to set complete baselines. In very large construction projects, the Project Management Institute gets into some very complex detailed standards around earned value management (EVM) and control account plans (CAPs) to create large work packages.

You do not need to venture down those paths for IT projects such as internal system development, upgrade projects or data center hardware replacement projects. But be sure to reference back to previous similar projects, gather all possible estimates and requirements and validate assumptions, risks and schedules with business stakeholders.

As I progress through blog entries into how to optimize your schedules and resources, you will need to have this baseline. Keep it as a master schedule with at least preliminary resource assignments. Without this, measuring project performance with metrics will be meaningless and you'll never be able to get to the optimized stages which will do through BPM (business performance management).

You can read a more complete write-up that I did on IT project metrics, baselining and optimizing in this article that I wrote for Information Management here. This takes aspects of the earned value management strategy and applies them to IT projects by using a thin layer of EVM.

Posted by Mark Kromer at March 18, 2009 11:15 AM

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