Good Project Management Equals Good Risk Management

So how does an IT project manager translate a customer's business needs into a system that solves the customer's business problem? The key is good project management. Companies with lax project management are far more likely to have professional liability claims than those with formal project management processes in place. Well-thought-out project management processes significantly reduce your IT project management risk.

According to project management expert Karl Wiegers, one of the critical first steps in IT project management is defining a project's vision and scope. For each project, you should clearly outline in writing:

  • Business requirements. All detailed requirements should be based on clear business needs. IT project managers can gather business requirements from the client's senior managers, an executive sponsor, a project visionary, product management, marketing department, or anyone else who has a clear understanding of the need for the project and the value it will provide to the client company and its customers.
  • Vision of the solution. A long-term vision for the new system will provide context for decision-making throughout product development. The vision statement should not include detailed functional requirements or project planning information.
  • Scope and limitations. It's critical to define the proposed solution's concept and range, along with what will not be included in the product. Clarifying the project's scope and limitations establishes realistic expectations for the various stakeholders, as well as a reference frame against which the team can evaluate proposed features and requirements changes.
  • Business context. Any business issues related to the project need to be clarified and summarised. These might include profiles of major customer categories, assumptions that went into the project concept, and the management priorities for the project.

To reduce your own IT project management risk, it may be wise to follow an established project initiation and management process.

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