How to Plan an IT Project

it inspector holding a notebookEven experienced project managers sometimes need help to know exactly how to plan an IT project. The complexities of IT mean project planning can be quite different from one case to next.

Even if you’re not an experienced IT planner, there are fundamental techniques that are helpful to know and relatively easy to learn.

Step by Step

Regardless of how much experience you have, planning an entire project from scratch can be daunting, so the first bit of advice might be the most important. Take it step by step.

What is Your Goal? Every project has an end point, which is when the goal, or desired result, is achieved. As an example, we will look at planning for updating the OS on all the PCs in a small office. Thus, the goal of our example is to have all the PCs running with the new OS.

Scope, Time & Budget – Reaching your goal means balancing three variable constraints:

  • Scope – the amount of work that needs to be done to reach the goal
  • Time – how quickly the goal must be reached
  • Budget – the financial resources available to complete the job

Scope, time and budget are inextricably linked to each other and you must ensure that one does not affect the others to the point of interfering with your ability to achieve the goal.

In our example, presuming we know it will take 3 hours to update and test a single PC, and there are 25 PCs in the office, then the scope is 75 hours of technician time (to keep the example simple, we are excluding details like acquiring licenses, etc.) or approximately 10 person-days.

Time is usually the most underestimated variable. As such, deadlines can increase budgets and scopes as more resources might be needed to meet an inflexible due date. Using temporary or contract staff for all or part of the work can mitigate your time constraints.

In our example, budget considerations include the cost of licenses, downtime while PCs are updated and technician time to reach the goal.

Risks – It is important to determine and have contingencies in place, including budget, for anything that might interfere with reaching the goal.

While real-world planning is far more complex than our simple example, the idea of taking things step by step is important regardless of the difficulty of the job.

If you would like more information about how to plan an IT project, call PeopleToGo today at 1-800-283-5042 or Contact Us.


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