Highly Successful Project Management in the IT service industry is going to drive the successful outcome of any initiative that you’re beginning as an entity or an enterprise.
Brian DeVault and Mike Cromwell discuss how NETRIO operates when it comes to project management. In this week’s White Board Wednesday video, they bring their best tips and tricks that have led to the most project management success in their 30 years of experience.
Mike CromwellSo welcome to Whiteboard Wednesday, 2021 edition.
Brian DeVaultI'm Brian DeVault, CTO of Netrio,
Mike CromwellMike Cromwell, partner and evangelist with Netrio. So today we're going to talk about we heard from viewers that thanks for those who liked, commented and shared our whiteboard Wednesday content, we got some good feedback from those who have been watching. And folks want to hear more about Netrio's approach to project management.
Brian DeVaultThat's what I hear.
Mike CromwellAnd so this is an area that's certainly a big critical success factor and can make or break an implementation.
Mike CromwellSo first question to you, Brian, on the topic of project management, knowing that you are as maniacal about that as anybody I've ever met in the 30 years in this business. Let's at a high level, talk through your philosophical view is on project management.
Brian DeVaultIt's a great question.
Brian DeVaultSo I think project management in the IT services industry is going to drive the successful outcome of any initiative that you're beginning as an entity or an enterprise.
Brian DeVaultRight. So any time you're out to accomplish a goal, you know, one of the most important things you can establish is what are we trying to do? Right. And that frames up a project. So that enables somebody who has the organized mindset to put a project management plan together to say, here's where I start and here's my logical finish line.
Mike CromwellAs you're thinking about a good project management, what are some of the top characteristics of a good project management program?
Brian DeVaultSo definitely having the structure behind it, so, you know, at Netrio, we have kind of our eight tenets of all of our project management activities that we follow. And, you know, it starts at the top where we're defining scope, we're defining who's involved and what the reporting structure will be, how frequently we're meeting, how we communicate as a group, how we delegate tasks, how we accommodate for resource leveling along the way.
Brian DeVaultIf we find out 50 percent of the way through that, we haven't allocated enough resourcing to getting the project completed. The time to adjust that is, is during the project execution right? Not at the end when we realize that we're behind and we haven't missed our deadline or we have missed our line, rather. So those types of things are what we're looking for as good characteristics of a project management program or a PMO project management office, however you want to refer to it.
Mike CromwellBecause one of the key success factors is having the right people perform those duties. So when you're looking at staffing somebody or moving somebody into that role, what are some of the common characteristics that you're looking for in that person that is going to perform that role?
Brian DeVaultSo it kind of depends if you're looking for a role that is somewhat of a hybrid role. You really have to make sure that whatever that hybrid arrangement is, that it allows for a dedicated amount of time per day or per week that's dedicated to project management activities because project management is not something you do as a sidebar to engineering. It's not something you do as a sidebar to performing some piece of the service delivery for the organization. It needs to be a heads down dedicated function in order to be successful.
Brian DeVaultThere's way too many variables to track during the day. There's way too many items that you're trying to identify next steps and contingency plans for or workarounds or resolutions. It may be staffing, it may be technical, maybe otherwise, but they need to be dedicated to that function where possible in order to achieve the greatest success.
Mike CromwellIf you're going to hire somebody into that role from outside the company, what are top three, five things that you look for.
Brian DeVaultSo being organized, being organized, being organized. So, I mean, having the background and understanding the structure of how project management works, you know the scoping, the resourcing, the calendaring function, the tracking, the resourcing, all those types of things are important. But overall, that person has to be highly organized.
Mike CromwellAnd how do you find that out in the interview process?
Brian DeVaultWell, that's a good question. So you ask questions like how do you move Mount Fuji? And the answer is one rock at a time or one step at a time, right?
Mike CromwellIs that really the answer, how you move Mount Fuji? That sounds like a pretty audacious task there.
Brian DeVaultThat's how I'd move it.
Mike CromwellBut in all reality, sometimes these projects in the order of magnitude could seem like moving Mount Fuji.
Brian DeVaultThat's right. And that's why I gave you that answer. So when you think about something, a monumental task or, you know, maybe it's the onboarding of ten thousand electronic assets through an IT managed services contract, you know, the average engineer is going to look at that and go, where do I start? And so one characteristic of a good project manager is somebody that can say, OK, let's group these assets together. What's the logical way that we take these down in order so that we can achieve our end result?
Brian DeVaultAnd so it's somebody that can really break down those monumental tasks into small, achievable tasks or the monumental goal into smaller, achievable tasks that ultimately result in when you combine them all in a successful outcome.
Here are the 3 Steps To Highly Successful Project Management In IT:
Step One: Get The Right People In Place
Arguably the most important aspect of Project Management is the team who is acting as the project managers. Ensuring you have the best team is an often overlooked detail. This person/teams role should be solely focused on project management. In some situations, the PM can have a sort of hybrid role in conjunction with something else, but in NETRIO’s experience, it is incredibly important for this role to be a heads down and dedicated function in order to be successful.
If your company is looking to hire someone specifically for the role of PM, the candidate should be a highly organized individual. Having the background of your field and understanding how project management works is important, but if they are not organized — they are not the right fit for this type of role. Find someone who thinks logically and is able to group assets together to achieve the end result.
Step Two: Establish The Desired Outcome
This simple question will frame the entire project and get everyone aligned on expectations for the project and outcome. The Project Management Institute states “Goal setting is a critical part of preparing for change and accomplishing project objectives. Well written goals provide motivation, focus attention, serve as a basis for managing performance, and evaluating change.”
If a project begins with the desired outcome known by the team and a step-by-step process outlined on how the team will get there, the journey to the finish line will be defined and everyone will feel clear on how to achieve the desired outcome.
Step Three: Maintain Clear Communication
Communication is an essential part of any project. There are endless moving parts in every project and communication must be maintained from implementation through evaluation. Before the project begins, it is imperative to define roles. Discuss who will communicate with who and what exactly will be communicated. It is also important to discuss how you will communicate. At NETRIO, we use Microsoft Teams for internal communication. Establishing a communication plan will lead to a smoother pass to your desired outcome and make sure each individual is clear on roles and expectations as it relates to the project.
This blog post is part of NETRIO’s weekly White Board Wednesday series. Follow along on Linkedin and YouTube each week as Brian and Mike discuss use cases, new technology, and trends. The goal is to provide insights for enterprise customers and channel partners, trying to solve complex problems using technology.