Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Top Ten Actions for IT PMs

I happened to see a very interesting question on LinkedIn: "What top ten actions can IT project managers take to increase the likelihood of implementation success?"

I think that each of these actions could easily fill more than a book, but I'll try to share some of my thoughts, in no particular order.
  • Choose the right people. As I already quoted elsewhere, blockheads will never produce good code. I know it might sound nasty, but that's how it works.
  • Build a team with the people you chose. That means you must end up with something which is better than the sum of the parts.
  • Respect your team, don't enslave them. Trust them to be able to deliver if they commit to. Happy and motivated people always perform better.
  • Go agile. Waterfall is one of the worst causes of software project failures.
  • Protect your team from external influences. Once the goal for the iteration is fixed, stick to it (hey, have not you gone agile yet? didn't you read the previous item?).
  • Deal collaboratively with the customer, do not drive the hard bargain when you negotiate but look for a win-win situation. Involve him, involve him deeply, involve him early.
  • Often show your team's progress to the customer, and involve him in acceptance testing.
  • Avoid WBSs, plan by features. Let the team manage the WBS internally and only discuss the features with the customer.
  • Always communicate clearly the status of the project. Bad and early informations can become opportunities, bad and late informations only reveal a death march. And it will be too late to avoid it.
  • Plans are nothing, but planning is essential. Adapting to new informations is much better than sticking to a plan which, in the end, will satisfy nobody.
I'm sure there are lots of other tips, but these will do for now.

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