If you have time, people and money-management skills, project management might be a good career choice. If you also have the ability to recognize how technology can impact business users both positively and negatively, you might want to consider information technology, or IT, project management. An IT project manager, or PM, is responsible for bringing new or revised equipment, applications and systems into service to meet the business needs of an organization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT PMs earned a median salary of $115,780 per year in 2010, and the job outlook through 2020 is 18 percent. A bachelor's degree in computer science is typically required.
At the start of a project, the IT PM prepares a charter to clarify the business and technical requirements to be delivered. The charter must also identify the project scope and resources. The scope includes specific locations, business user needs and technology needs that will be addressed. Resources include the project’s budget, tools and equipment, project team members and other human resources that can provide support. The PM will need to manage all of these resources through to the project’s conclusion.
Work Breakdown Structure
The PM creates a work breakdown structure, or WBS, for the project. The WBS provides a framework that allows the PM to coordinate resources and tasks effectively. The framework identifies the phases or stages of the project, individual tasks, the projected duration for completion of each task, and key milestones that are used to track progress. The WBS is documented in a project plan that identifies tasks, timing, milestones and the resources assigned to each task.
The PM creates a communication plan to provide regular reports to stakeholders of the project’s progress. The plan identifies how status will be documented, how it will be presented and at what frequency. Status meetings are scheduled and conducted on a regular basis. The project plan is updated regularly, typically during meetings the PM holds on a weekly basis with the project team. When a problem arises, the PM formally communicates the issue to project sponsors and stakeholders, stating the risks it represents to the project’s success and what action is needed.
The project is completed after all milestones have successfully been achieved. The PM measures the project’s success and reports these measures to project sponsors and stakeholders. Measures circle back to the project charter and show the degree to which all business and technology requirements have been met. The PM also meets with customers, project team members and other resources to review what went right and what went wrong during the course of the project. The results of these reviews are recorded as lessons learned and fed into the next project, to continually improve the project management process.
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