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Review of approaches and processes in IT project management

Artem Kalivanov, CIO of Beeline Uzbekistan, discussed IT project management in terms of project definition, management models like Waterfall and Agile methodologies, and the importance of Lean in process management. He highlighted key processes such as organizational structure, monitoring progress, and adapting to project uncertainties. Kalivanov emphasized proactive risk management strategies – acceptance, avoidance, mitigation, and transfer – and stressed the critical roles of communications and documentation management for project success.

  1. Project definition
  2. Differences between projects, products, and processes
  3. Project management models
  4. Basic project management processes

Project definition

What is a project in IT?

  • Projects create unique results. They can be both material and intangible. These results differ from what the company does daily and have already become a process.
  • Projects are limited in time. They clearly define the beginning and the end.
  • Everything else – budget, resources, etc. – is optional or derived from something else.

Differences between projects, products, and processes

A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

A product is an item or service created to be sold or provided to users. In IT, a product can be software, hardware, or a combination of both, developed to meet the needs of users or customers.

A process is a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular end. Processes are established methods or procedures that guide how work is performed to ensure consistency and quality.

Project management models

In project management, the waterfall model is a traditional, linear approach to software development that emphasizes a sequential flow of phases. We’ll talk about it in more detail later.

Products can be managed through Agile, Scrum, and Kanban. In general, Agile provides the overarching principles for flexible and iterative development, Scrum offers a structured approach with defined roles and sprints (but you need to follow all the recommendations for it to be successful), and Kanban focuses on visualizing and optimizing the workflow to ensure smooth and continuous delivery of product features in a small team so that there are no bottlenecks.

In process management, Lean methodology is most commonly used. It is focused on maximizing value by eliminating non-value-added activities and optimizing processes. The most important indicator in it is time. For example, you have a standard request for providing a workplace that takes ~2 hours. Lean can allow you to decompose this process, improve and speed it up so that it’ll take 1 hour. Six Sigma and PRINCE2 are similar to Lean, but they target 6 and 7 indicators, respectively.

Returning to project management, let's look at the classic waterfall model; it can consist of 3 to ~20 stages, and the classic one contains 6: gathering requirements, their analysis, designing the solution, implementation, deployment, and maintenance (or support).

When the project scope is big, the result can be split into several iterative smaller stages (and within each, a separate waterfall goes on). Sometimes, the waterfall can also incorporate Scrum/Agile in the development/implementation stage (while having all the usual steps before and after it). The disadvantage of this approach is that you need to estimate the timeline for the development, and the challenge is to meet the deadline.

Basic project management processes

The processes provide a structured approach to managing projects, ensuring that they are completed to the satisfaction of stakeholders. You need to define from the beginning what are the key success factors: sometimes, bringing the full scope by the deadline is more important than not going over budget (and sometimes, it’s quite the contrary). It’s also very important to have a project organizational structure and define working group roles.

Project organization:

  • Organizational requirements of the project
  • Main stages and results of the project implementation
  • Monitoring the implementation of work on the project
  • Coordination and approval of the project results

If you don’t put enough effort into these steps, you may find yourself in a situation where everything is being approved when it’s too late to make any changes.

One of the biggest mistakes is to think that the project will go as planned. It never does. So, you should think in advance about how you’ll be implementing the changes (in the requirements, budget, timeline, etc.).

Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and controlling potential risks that could affect the successful completion of a project. There are several strategies of dealing with risks:

  • Acceptance: acknowledge the risk without taking proactive steps unless it occurs.
  • Avoidance: eliminate the risk by changing the project plan.
  • Mitigation: take measures to lessen the probability or impact of the risk.
  • Transfer: hand over the risk to a third party to manage.

An example of a risk is “my key employees can become sick”. What do you do in each strategy?

  • Acceptance we’ll deal with it if he gets sick. Anyway, he’ll be cured and get back to work.
  • Avoidance: we replace all our human employees with androids that can’t get sick.
  • Mitigation: we distribute vitamins among the team, and also once a week every employee tells about their work so that all team members can pick it up if needed.
  • Transfer: we hire a third-party company, and our contract states that if their employee gets sick, they provide a replacement within a week.

But remember that management is the key to “risk management”, so a simple list of risks and strategies is not enough. You need to think of the whole process – who assesses the risks, monitors them, analyses the results, and how all this is initiated and conducted.

Last but not least, don’t forget about communications and documentation management. Communications management ensures that all stakeholders are kept informed and engaged, promoting transparency and alignment throughout the project. Documentation management provides a structured approach to creating, controlling, storing, and retrieving project documents, ensuring that information is accurate, accessible, and preserved for future reference.

In conclusion, what you need to do for a successful project:

  • Define its goal and deadline
  • Determine its life cycle
  • Think in advance about everything that can be foreseen (and if you can’t think of anything just now – give it some time and think again)
  • Manage the project through streamlined processes (fortunately, there are plenty of them!)

Sixty-eight IT executives from 15 countries, including Brazil, India, USA, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia participated in the project.

June 2024 was a very dynamic month for AI and data analytics market, marked by significant events, product launches, and industry insights.

On June 4, 2024, the professional IT community Global CIO held its annual meeting with IT leaders from Kazakhstan. IT executives from leading companies in Kazakhstan were invited to the online meeting.

The big news of the past month was the launch of GPT-4o. This new version of generative AI now takes any combination of text, audio, images and video as input, and generates any combination of text, audio and images.

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