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Project management is a big business, but IT project management takes up a substantial percentage of that business. The delivery of IT projects for some organizations is their bread and butter and so IT professionals able to manage these projects are highly sought after. There are a number of key skills associated with an IT project manager. In the following sections we will look at some of the required skills of a project manager and at the key stages in the IT project management lifecycle. There are certain skills required at each stage and these will be identified.
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Required skills of an IT project manager

Firstly, there are the core project management abilities which would be associated with any IT project management delivery. Secondly, there is the appreciation and understanding of technology in a broad sense. This is required to be able to take on any IT project, which could span across multiple professional disciplines, and be able to understand why things are progressing as they are. The IT project manager should be able to question the technical staff working on the project to ensure the right decisions are being made for the right reasons. This is a highly responsible role and the individual in question must be able to carry and thrive on that pressure.

The key stages in IT project management

Planning the IT project: This is probably one of the most crucial stages in the project lifecycle, understanding what the expected deliverables are, identifying key stakeholders, scoping out required resources and planning in timescales. Some top quality customer relation skills are required here and a detailed understanding of client requirements is needed to get this stage correct. This sets the IT project up for its delivery, so a mistake in understanding here could be costly.

Monitoring the IT project progress across milestones: This section covers a large portion of the core skills of the project manager. To ensure the project is delivered on time and to the design means things needs to keep moving to schedule, with everyone identified in the plan doing their bit. There could be many strands to the project, all with differing timescales and intricacies, making management of all a challenge. Organisation skills are the essence of this area.

Executing the IT project deliverables: Here is where the IT project manager needs to bring the project together into one or more deliverables. Ensuring the initial requirements have been met, that expectations are met and the product actually works. Getting stakeholders and users involved in this is important. This is about ensuring that the deliverable is ready to be deployed into the production environment.

Closing the project: If all has gone well, this part should be the most enjoyable. Closing the IT project means deploying, presenting, and analyzing benefits against the original spec. The stakeholders at this point will sign off the IT project and hand over to the day to day support teams.

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