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Information Technology Project Management

By Expert Author: Team USATInc

What then is a Project? Carl Chatfield and Timothy Johnson1, prominent writers for Microsoft, say, “A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined scope, beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or deliverables), undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.” The key words here are temporary, scope and time constrained. The temporary characteristic is antithetic to the standard requirement of businesses, i.e., longevity, with a concomitant invariant- the innate fundamentals of business are repetition in permanent or semi-permanent tasks to manufacture products or provide services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.

The first issue that comes to mind is that there is some aim to be achieved, i.e., a preset goal must be met. This objective is obviously composed of a set of mini or multiple sequential targets to be achieved within organizational constraints, requiring intervention by a team of software engineers comprising the external solution management body. Were it not so, the project would be small enough for an in-house solution that could be met by the organization’s software expert/experts.

The project scope is the definition of what the project is supposed to accomplish and the budget (of time and money) that has been created to achieve these objectives. The scope must be lucid and unambiguous. Any smart project manager will build in clauses within the contract to avoid any change in scope. If a change suddenly becomes mandated, like newly quantified greenhouse gas emissions, carbon credits or corporate social responsibility, the budget must be increased. Scope changes occur in the form of "scope creep". Scope creep is a common phenomenon and is seen as the piling up of small changes that by themselves are manageable, but in aggregate are significant.

Then there is the time frame within which the objective is to be met. Time frame management is usually carried out using a Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) chart with its critical path. Alternatively, A Gantt chart, showing activities displayed against time, could be used.

The other constraints are cost and quality. If an organization has a fixed budget, the cost factor is delineated while describing the ultimate objective. Therefore, the primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives within preconceived and inflexible constraints. As just seen, money and time are at a premium, whereas quality cannot be compromised. The secondary challenge is entirely managerial or strategic, viz., how to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet pre-defined objectives. Any team of professional software engineers that cannot meet agreed-to stipulations mat be considered as not worth its salt.

BY Unique Solutions of Advanced Technologies Inc

USATInc.com is the online presence of the company. They provide quality, reliable and cost effective IT Solutions that eliminate bottlenecks and frustration in running a business. USATInc.com is helping customers achieve success via custom software development, custom programming services, legacy applications management, IT consulting, and staff augmentation services. Their service offerings aimed to improve business operations, business efficiency and profitability.

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