How does project management improve the success rate of IT projects?

It is no secret that the failure rate of IT projects is the biggest worry for project managers. Add to this the impact of the current pandemic. A cursory Google search will present you with reports from Gartner, Statista and many others detailing how the spending in Global IT is projected to go down in 2020 (We still don’t have complete figures for all the financial quarters in 2020) compared to 2019. This is despite the availability of vaccines and the growing number of vaccinated population. Also, there’s still no clarity on when and how many offices will re-open in 2021 adding another wrinkle to the IT industry’s timeline. With this background, the rate of project failure could only worsen. 

In this blog, we will analyse the most common reasons for the failure of IT projects and also show you how project management could be effective in solving some of them. 

5 commons problems that IT teams face when taking on new projects 

  • Poor project planning

If we look at the way IT projects are being run, most of them are doomed even before they begin. This is because of the apathy exhibited towards the project planning phase. This is the most important phase that sets the objectives and goals of the projects that need to be achieved within agreed-upon timelines. It is also the time to bring together all the stakeholders in the project and hash out the finer details including deciding on success metrics, ways to overcome impediments etc. Any half-hearted attempt at planning IT projects only sets up the entire exercise for failure. 

  • Broken collaboration amongst project stakeholders

Another oft-identified issue with projects is the lack of communication and co-operation amongst the stakeholders of the project. A lack of agreement between teammates working to complete a project, if not resolved properly, can slowly snowball into an impediment. This can be counter-productive and might reduce the execution velocity of individual tasks and result in an overall decrease in the work rate.

  • Time spent hopping between multiple tools 

When working on IT projects, agents and managers are usually left to deal with multiple tools. This is a serious problem and deserves mention on this list. Switching between multiple software can not only affect the efficiency of the work but also results in fatigue for the team members. Moreover, it can lead to a lack of focused time for performing work that really matters to your team and drive down the morale due to missed targets and deadlines. 

  • Rigidity in the project schedule 

Even when there is a concerted effort aimed at planning IT projects, over-emphasis on the minutiae can lead to rigidity. When planning, there’s a natural tendency to figure out all the minor aspects of the project and plan ahead for every contingency. While the idea behind this comes with good intentions, it essentially conflates inflexibility with the need to be prudent. Having such an outlook not only reduces the options available during a contingency but also betrays the lack of proper planning at the initial stages. 

  • Lack of visibility into your teams’ activities 

Having all your teammates on the same page will be beneficial not only for improving the execution rate of the project but also reduces the disruptions that occur. However, any lack of communication on this front can have serious negative consequences. Trust could quickly become an issue amongst teammates and will serve to bottleneck the day-to-day activities of the project. It can also stall any efforts at mitigating disastrous situations.  

 

According to this popularly cited PMI research paper, adhering to project management

methods and strategies reduced risks, cut costs and improved success rates.

 

Here’s a breakdown of how project management helps improve IT projects. 

When you adopt project management for better execution, you’re giving yourself and your team a better chance of being successful. Project management immediately paves the way to plan your work better. According to this KPMG survey on agility, a third of the organizations believe that implementing agile planning methods improved their project success rates. Planning helps to clearly define goals and responsibilities for all the team members involved. It also provides an improved perspective on the timelines and the smaller milestones to be achieved leading to successful overall completion.  This also presents a chance to precisely divide responsibility amongst the team with pre-defined roles for all the activities needed in the IT project. 

  • Single platform 

In The State of Project Management 2020 report by Wellingtone, a quarter of their survey respondents report not having the right collaboration tool even though collaboration forms a big chunk of their work time. With the right project management tool in place, this problem can be addressed immediately. Having a single tool for both project management needs and regular IT service management helps free two birds with one key. All service desk activities and project-related operations can be done on a single tool leading to improved turn around times and reduced fatigue amongst team members. 

  • Boost in productivity 

Completing projects on time is perhaps the biggest bane of all project managers. Evident in this PMI report is the fact that more than a third of ‘high maturity projects are not completed on time. With the right project management tool, the most tangible improvement will be seen in your team’s ability to complete projects within the deadline. Features like Time tracking – a part of almost every project management tool worth its salt – is indispensable to a manager looking to improve the success rate of their IT projects. 

  • Process Flexibility

Even with the right project management tool in place, adopting a one-size-fits-all approach will be counter-productive to the planning process. The option to run projects in any preferred mode – Agile, waterfall or hybrid – is invaluable to not only the manager but also the team members involved. They are the ones doing the heavy lifting after all. This need for flexibility is reflected in another PMI report which found that only a fifth (21%) of all organisations surveyed relied on standard project management practices. Improved flexibility to adopt any approach necessary to complete the work will surely contribute to an improved adoption rate for project management in IT. 

  • Increased returns on your investment

As the need to improve the completion of IT projects becomes louder, knowing that project management also saves more money is the perfect nudge to improve its adoption. According to the same PMI report quoted in point 3, a whopping 60% of companies completed their projects within the stipulated deadlines when using a project management tool. Among those not using one, only 40% managed to complete them. This is a huge gap and could be the difference between being business becoming profitable and going under. 

Hopefully, now you’re convinced of the impact that project management has on IT projects. The next logical step would be to choose the right project management tool for your business. We believe Freshservice would be the perfect solution for your needs. But, don’t take our word for it! Check out our project management features and decide for yourself.  

Design courtesy – Rajesh Raja