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IT project management is the process of planning, organizing and delineating responsibility for
the completion of an organizations' specific information technology (IT) goals.
A project is a unique, undertaken to achieve planned objectives, which could be defined in terms
of outputs, outcomes or benefits. A project is usually deemed to be a success if it achieves the
objectives according to their acceptance criteria, within an agreed timescale and budget.
IT project management includes overseeing projects for software development, hardware
installations, network upgrades, cloud computing and virtualization rollouts, business analytics
and data management projects and implementing IT services.
In addition to the normal problems that can cause a project to fail, factors that can negatively
affect the success of an IT project include advances in technology during the project's execution,
infrastructure changes that impact security and data management and unknown dependent
relationships among hardware, software, network infrastructure and data. IT projects may also
succumb to the first-time, first-use penalty which represents the total risk an organization
assumes when implementing a new technology for the first time. Because the technology hasnt
been implemented or used before in the organization, there are likely to be complications that
will affect the projects likelihood of success.
IT project management involves a structured approach to planning, organizing, leading, and
controlling information technology projects. There are various types of IT projects that an
organization could undertake, including:
Software development and implementation
Hardware installations (e.g., servers, desktop computers, or telephony systems)
Network system upgrades
Data management
IT Project Life Cycle
For any IT project, the project will have a start point and an end point, and the part in between is
known as the project life cycle. There are generally five phases for all projects.
To illustrate these phases in the management of an IT project, let's look at a company that is
replacing all sales force laptops with tablets.
1) Initiation - A sponsor and a governing team (sometimes called a steering committee) are
appointed, and they clearly define the goals and objectives for the project. A project manager is
assigned to the project, a project team is recruited, and the project charter is created.
2) Planning - The project manager and the project team work together to define all
the deliverables, or intended outputs, of the project, and then plan all of the tasks needed in
order to produce each deliverable. Each task is assigned a start date, end date, and responsible
person(s), and all of the tasks together roll up into the project plan. The project planning
processes can be repetitive in nature, and it's quite normal for planning to occur often throughout
the project.
3) Execution - The project team executes the project plan to create the deliverables of the
4) Monitoring and Controlling - As the project is being executed by the project team, the
project manager monitors and controls the work of the team for time, cost, scope, quality, risk,
and other factors. The project manager regularly reports the project status, as well as any issues
and risks, to the project sponsor and steering committee. To ensure that the project meets its
objectives, monitoring and controlling is also an ongoing process.
5) Closing - At the end of each phase of the project, and at the end of the entire project, project
closure ensures that all of the project work has been completed, is approved, and that ownership
of the project deliverables have been handed over from the project team to operations.