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5 Lessons for Managing Massive IT Projects

Change can be hard on even a small project, so can you imagine the growing pains of change on a massive project? In an article for TechRepublic, Conner Forrest shares the five tips Eben Hewitt, CTO of Choice Hotels International, uncovered as the secrets to success to projects of any scale. Hewitt conducted a session in which he shared five lessons for project management in the grandiose sense:

  1. Find what is necessary.
  2. Find where the project aligns.
  3. Define what will be the most beneficial.
  4. Design for a comeback.
  5. Clarify the uncertain.

Defining Paths of Progress

When beginning a project, it is important to delineate early what is actually necessary. Defining a project’s identity can help to understand what components are going to be crucial. Often, a project is too big for everyone to have a clear picture of what is going on, and establishing a “cookie cutter” path for the project to be on can help everyone to align their interests.

In the project, there will be elements that, when aligned and completed, open up a clear path for other elements to be completed. Look for those. Just like in the games of Candy Crush or Tetris, aligning the pieces that fit together clears the board to work on other aspects. Begin a project by finding steps that create the most opportunity for change or allow for parallel work.

Knowledge is the key to success, and this holds especially true when executing a project. When Hewitt’s team first began looking into load testing, he pushed for an increase from 1% to 30%. He sought to learn more about this feature and determine any adversities they may face early enough so that this knowledge could be beneficial rather than derailing the entire project.

How to Manage Risk

Project failure is an unfortunate possibility. Hewitt recommends, rather than analyzing what went wrong after the fact, to create a plan beforehand in anticipation of failure. This document can address things such as: events that are supposed to happen but for some reason do not, events that should never take place, or even a surprise event.

The final lesson Hewitt took away from his project was to “define the architecture.” He recommends that while dreaming up a project, begin with the desired end result and work backwards. This will illustrate all the steps that need to occur in order to successfully complete the project.

You can read the original article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/5-lessons-for-managing-massive-it-projects/

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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