Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and cybersecurity have propelled digital transformation across the business landscape. Software or IT firms are investing heavily in planning and executing these projects successfully to maintain their competitive edge.
However, we are just at the nascent stage of the development of these projects. The complexity will increase substantially in the future. Thus, before taking up these projects, gathering accurate data, finding the right expertise, and creating the right project model is imperative.
In fact, a study from PMI suggests that Projects are 2.5 times more successful when PM practices are implemented.
So, now that we know that handling these projects is not an easy job, let’s delve into this easy guide that will help you sail through them successfully.
Tips for tech project managers
- Create a systematic project plan in advance
The first step before you begin any project is to create a well-detailed plan to ensure no task is overlooked or missed out. Especially when you are managing a tech project that demands a full-proof plan in advance. You need to get your idea right. A comprehensive project execution plan consists of roles, risk matrix, quality and testing plan, estimated schedules, and other essential details.
Now, the question is, how do we go about it when highly specialized projects have a plethora of steps to be covered?
An advanced project management tool will facilitate you to plan a pipelined project with a fine-toothed comb. Right from demand forecasting to what-if scenarios, the tool will provide you with accurate predictions to tailor the plan accordingly. This will enable you to set the scope of the project and eliminate potential pitfalls that may hinder the progress down the line.
- Develop domain expertise and stay abreast of novel trends
Before you begin working on any tech-related project, you need to get your basics right and know how these technologies work. In short, a project manager should have the subject matter expertise to lead the project’s success. After all, only when a project manager is aware of the know-how of the emerging tech can he, or she bridge the existing gaps and do justice to them.
The steps, tasks, processes, and skills required to complete each project are unique, and managers must know how to go about it to ensure the project’s success. Otherwise, the project managers should scale up their game by undergoing training to hone their skills. It will help them learn the different frameworks and methodologies pertaining to the different projects and make strategic, well-informed decisions.
- Build a partner ecosystem
One important thing to note here is that these tech advancements are developed to benefit the industry as a whole and not just particular firms. So managers should consider creating a partner ecosystem and get more stakeholders involved. When you have support from your C-suite executives and other stakeholders, it enhances the value of your project.
Once your project is ready and running, you can broaden your network by connecting with firms who are tech developers too. This will give you a better platform in the industry and increase your project’s value. However, managers have to implement certain regulations and policies while networking and getting executive buy-ins. They should not lose complete autonomy as it can lead to discrepancies. A partner ecosystem must be built on mutually agreed terms and policies.
- Escalate resource requests well ahead of the curve
Allocation of the right resource to the right project is a pivotal part of project resource planning. Of course, the project cannot hit the ground without the workforce driving its course. Starting from initiation, program development, testing, debugging to execution, every task requires specific competencies. Managers will need data scientists, data analysts, programmers, and more resources on board to reach the milestone. Thus, identifying appropriate resources with the right skills and allocating them before beginning the project is crucial to avoid bottlenecks.
Resource management software allows automated resource requisition workflow. It enables project managers to send requests to resource managers for fulfillment. As the data is consolidated on a single platform, it helps resource managers to apply multiple filtering criteria to identify and allocate best-fit resources to the project. Thereafter, project managers can schedule suitable project members to the right tasks with simple drag and drop functionalities. Having the right resources steers the project to success.
- Prevent silos of communication
When you have a team where every member is working on their own tasks, for example, a programmer is developing the app or program, a data scientist is integrating the right data, and so on. There is a possibility of ineffective communication. This can lead to inefficiency and can create disparities which will eventually hamper the project’s progress.
A study reveals that 57% of projects fail due to “breakdown in communications.” A manager, therefore, has to ensure that all the team members are collaborating and communicating efficiently to channel task execution.
You can resort to advanced collaborative tools where-in all your files and progress can be shared with the concerned team. For instance, a programmer can plan his/her work once he/she knows that the data scientists have integrated the data, a tester can begin testing once he/she is aware of the development of the program, and so on. This will eliminate chances of discrepancies thereby improving the functioning of the team.
- Maintain your data inventory in one place
Data-centric technologies like AI or IoT or machine learning can only succeed when they learn from the data history. For instance, if you want to humanize the experience, you need to feed the right data to the program. Otherwise, the end-product will not align with your expectations. Hence, managers should ensure that they have the right data in the right place.
Data inventory is the driver of success for data-driven projects. If it goes wrong, developers and testers will have a difficult time debugging the errors and fixing them. To eliminate these errors and save time, it’s imperative for managers to keep a refined data repository with them.
Ultimately, these technologies focus on the business and how they can drive innovation to steer the firms to the path of glory. When they are integrated together, they can reduce operational costs, improve safety, increase precision, and enhance profitability.
Thus, project managers should up their game to drive the firms to the competitive edge and manage these projects meticulously using advanced management software and tools. The above-mentioned tips will help you smoothen your project management process and help you foster innovative tech in your work culture.
Mahendra Gupta is PMP certified and has expert authority in the project resourcing domain. He is a resource management and workforce planning subject matter expert at Saviom Software. His wealth of experience has helped over 40+ multinational businesses around the globe transform their project portfolio. Follow his work here.