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Overview of IT Project Management

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1 Overview of IT Project Management
Todd Shyres Principal Consultant, MBRIDGE, LLC UCLA Anderson MBA PMP Certified Last Updated: January 2015 M MBRIDGE Consulting Services

2 Professional Background
Started in Project Management in 2001 as a Technical Consultant for a public Professional Services company. Managed projects for clients including Sony Pictures, Fidelity, and Washington Mutual Bank. PMP (Project Management Professional) Certified in 2002. UCLA Anderson MBA in Graduated with Honors. Technical Background IT Security – PCI (credit card payments) Auditing and Compliance. CISSP Certified. Network Engineering, Linux / Windows. Managed Technical Projects across numerous companies and on different types of projects: Clients: Fidelity, Sony Pictures, Disney, Intuit, LabCorp, Sempra, Etc. Types of Projects: IT Infrastructure, Data Center builds, Software Development projects, Software Integration, IT Monitoring, Security Auditing, Process Improvement. Why I got into Project Management. Enjoy being the go-to person for the stakeholders, engineers, and customers.

3 Project Management – Basics Part 1
A Project has a start and end, and is not part of the typical routine. The Project Constraints: Scope, Time, Budget. Change one, and the others change as well. Figure them out, write them down, share them out. Know which is the most important. The old joke… “We can do it Fast, Cheap, or Good. Pick 2.” Typical Project Phases: Initiation -> Planning -> Execution -> Monitor -> Close-out Initiation: Document the goals, who this is for, why it’s important. Determine the team. Planning: Kick-off, Build Project Plan (scope, budget, schedule, task lists, risk plans). Choose Methodology. Execution: Design, Build, Test, Train, Etc. Monitor and Control: Continually compare planned versus actual performance (schedule, cost, scope). Close-out: Get confirmation the job was done. Document what the team learned. Communications Get a Cadence set for meetings, calls, status reports. Too much is better than not enough. If people tell you “I get it” you are doing your job. 1 2 3

4 Project Management – Basics Part 2
Corporate Culture Take time to listen to people and find out what the culture is like. Things to Notice: Work/life balance, importance on internal relationships, how does work really get done (defined processes, knowing the right people), dress code… yes this matters. Resources If your team is good (proactive, go-getters) your job is EASY. If not, may need more time to manage. Find out the escalation path if there are issues. What the end-state is will dictate how you manage the project. A secure mobile app for a bank will have different requirements than a project to build a house. Don’t think you can walk into any project and bring over 100% of the tools from the last one. Some Key Things to know: Critical Path – The steps in a project that take the longest, and therefore push back the entire schedule. These are the tasks you should be focused on. See the next page… TIP: Notice if people wear wing-tip shoes, or flip-flops

5 Project Management – Critical Path
On a project you will have a list of things to get done, and will know how long each will take. If you chart the tasks out (like below) you can see that some items drive the entire schedule. If you bring those in faster, the entire schedule gets done faster. Those items make up the “critical path.” In the example below the arrows in ORANGE are on the critical path. If you do those faster you will eat breakfast sooner. Those are the items you should focus on. Making Banana Bread and Coffee 15 min 30 min 1 hour Pre-Heat the Oven Bake Cool Bread Gather the Ingredients Measure and put in a bowl Stir Enjoy Breakfast Grind the coffee Brew coffee Coffee

6 Everyone is a Project Manager
Planning a Wedding Gather Requirements Scope: Wedding by the beach guests. Vegetarian options. Live band. Open bar! Budget: $45,000. Time: June 1, 2016. Planning Document what has to happen, and by when. Visit venues in November Cake tasting in Feb Order the flowers in March Build the seating chart in May Execution / Control Kick Off Meeting with your wife to talk about the plans. Lock in the venue, order flowers, tuxedo rentals, invites, band, cake, etc. Weekly: Run down the check-list to make sure everything is on time and in place Close-out: Make sure your significant other is happy. Pay all the wedding bills. Go on your honeymoon.

7 Project Managing the Wedding
Some Key Things to Know With a wedding you have a deadline, and need to make sure work gets done before the date. On some projects you will hear “get it done as quickly as possible” and the work will dictates when it will get done. Things will change! If there is going to be a rain-storm the weekend of the wedding then you may need to change the plans. Be open to that. Define Who Your Stakeholders are – in this case it should be obvious. Your #1 goal is making them happy, within your time and budget. Hire a live band. Yes it will cost more $$$, but it’s worth it.

8 “IT” Project Management
A few Years ago “IT” was a team of people doing “IT” work. Now Technology permeates every aspect of business. KEYS to Success: Know the key aspects about the technology -> What it does, how it helps the business. Learn the buzzwords, acronyms and companies so you know what people are talking about. Examples: PCI, SaaS, cloud-based, VMWare, AWS, SAP, ServiceNow, etc. Learn about the project and what needs to get done. Decide the best way to: Plan, Track, and Communicate the project to those who need to know. Be prepared to answer questions No one will look at your schedule and say “looks good!” They will ask “why does that take so long?” Don’t take anything personally. People will test you to make sure you have your act together. If you don’t have an answer it’s fair to say “I’ll get back to you.” Just remember to do so. Know the scope can & will change. When it happens re-plan the schedule, budget, and resource needs. Then SHARE IT OUT! Add in a small buffer to the schedule, and be honest that it’s there.

9 How are IT Projects Different
IT Project Management varies widely depending on which facet of IT your project is focused on. However most IT projects do have some core common principles which set them apart: The roll up to a CIO, a CTO, or a Vice President of Technology. IT projects usually enable business getting done. They are typically are not focused on ROI (return on investment), and instead they will support a business or application that will have an ROI. They may need to be refreshed often. This goes for both software and hardware projects. They are typically expensive. Most of the IT projects we have worked on range from $250K to $225 Million.

10 Numerous PM Methodologies
No one size fits all. Learn what is needed, and then decide the approach. For example building an iPhone app will need a different methodology than setting up 5,000 Office365 accounts. Different Types are Available: Waterfall – defined phases. Output from one phase is an input to another. SDLC – project broken into defined work phases. Agile – Do work vertically. See next page. Scrum – A type of agile. Lightweight, allows for rapid changes. Hybrid! – Take the best from all. Others – there are new ones coming out that you should continue to look into. If you are running a project then you should fight for the methodology you think will work best. However, some clients and companies have their own that you will be asked to work within.

11 Agile for Software Development
Agile Framework (Product Management) Group of software methodologies. One of the more popular is called Scrum. Used when requirements are changing so can adapt easier to these changes. Encourages team-work and self-organization (less micro-management) Track scope changes! These happen a lot. Track bug fixes (use software to capture these). Know that software developers can be interesting to work with : ) Agile can be used for a wide variety of projects, but is typically used for those where requirements are not set in stone, or are continually changing.

12 Software Development - Scrum
Scrum (considered the easiest of the Agile methodologies) Mainly used for Software Dev, but can be used for other projects with rapidly changing requirements. Scrum Master, Product Owner (requirements), Dev Team. Burndown charts showing daily progress Projects are divided into Sprints which last 1-4 weeks. User stories – capture the requirements in easy to understand business needs. Velocity is how you measure work getting completed (measured in story points, days, ideal days, or hours) Daily 15 min scrum meetings: What did you work on yesterday? What are you working on today? Any issues or roadblocks? Note: graphics from

13 Really nice view of the scrum process from Digital Humanities LAB at CVCE

14 The Project Manager Toolkit (not all)
Document Detail Required? Requirements Tracker Capture & Track the requirements / Scope. Online, DB, Excel. Yes Project Plan List of things to get done, and dependencies. MSFT Project, Excel Schedule Show when things start and end. Show Dependencies. Risk List List of risks and their potential impact. Excel, Online tool. Maybe Budget Tracker Estimated and Actual Costs Task List List of every single work task the team needs to do Roles & Responsibilities Chart Resources, Title, Role, their level of involvement Status Report G/Y/R Status, Upcoming Milestones, Open Issues/Concerns Comm. Plan Chart showing how the team communicates Web-Site Secure site to share the key documents and schedule. SharePoint. Meetings Necessarily Evil. Has as few as it takes to get things done. High-Level Project View Shows key milestones, dates, maybe the owners Nice to have

15 Project Scheduling Software
Trello Binfire Lot of choices. Choose which works best for you and the team. On-line Tools Easy for team members to access and update Cloud based so can access from anywhere, anytime Typically a monthly subscription fee per user Examples: Trello, BinFire, Basecamp, Zoho Off-line Tools Most people already have and are familiar with them Need to save and out, or share on a site Need to set up control mechanism if others will be updating them as well Buy software one time per user Could add more time for the PM Examples: Microsoft Project, Excel, OneNote Microsoft Project

16 Project Management The Real Story

17 PM Secrets (that most PMs know)
If a project succeeds no one says Thank You. Your thanks will be getting more PM work. Don’t fail alone. If things are falling apart pull in help ASAP. Work with external vendors. They really can help you. With cloud solutions vendors are becoming more important. The #1 question will be “when will it be done?” So keep the end-date in mind. People will ask for mundane things… and expect you to get them. I’ve been asked to get sodas, make print-outs, turn down the AC. Once there is a PM involved people forget how to take their own notes and schedule meetings. People will try to hand you their work, or tasks that are not in your scope. You need to learn to push back (gently, then strongly) Ex: “We can write your software but only if you get my team new laptops” You need to keep checking in on people. They are BUSY and need reminders. Lead as much as you can, but know your main job is tracking & reporting the news.

18 What Will Get a PM in Trouble
Knowing there’s a problem, and not letting others know immediately. Covering up repeatedly for the same people (you can only do it 1 or 2 times). Scheduling too many meetings. All about balance. Being too easy or too harsh. Find the sweet spot based on corporate culture. Taking on the work of others. Know your role and stick to it. You are not the one doing the engineering work. You are responsible for tracking & reporting. Believing your project represents you as a person. It doesn’t. Faking the technical details. Let the engineers talk tech. Caving to schedule pressure. If you really know it will take a week, stick to it. Not asking enough questions. If it sounds like an excuse, it probably is. Not adding in a small buffer. Only managing up We all want a promotion, but NEED to focus on the team doing the work.

19 Real World Project – Data Center build
Overview Brand new Data Center in N.W. US. to host online applications Sites get around 10 Million unique web-visits a month Project Managed the Network Plan, Design and Build. 40,000 square feet Data Center. Overall: 18 Months. $25+ Million Budget. 14 Technical Engineers. Initiation -> Planning -> Design -> Lab/Test -> Purchase -> Build -> Test -> LIVE Project Task list was over 1,200 lines long. EVERY Risk we thought up actually happened. Engineers pulled onto other projects, winter storm caused shipping delays, people missed flights, gear didn’t work so shipped back, cables weren’t labeled, etc. 90% of the way through a vendor had to bring in a team of 9 engineers to fix bugs in their software. Took an additional 2 weeks. The next one we did took less than half the time. Learned from our experience.

20 Real World Project – Data Center build
High-Level View of Schedule and Milestones Helpful Charts and Tools For such a large project we built charts to help illustrate milestones and progress. The charts helped us track progress versus actual work completed along a time-line. For Resource Management we tracked all resources including skills- sets, hours, and the budget to ensure we stayed on target for the project. The Resource chart also allowed us to work closely with resource managers to communicate when we would need the team. Resource Tasks List and Costs

21 People like graphics. So use them.
Do Things Differently Project Management should be more than just managing the schedule, tasks, and status reports. A good PM should do things that move the project, and the team ahead. We are firm believers in doing things that get people interested and excited in the outcome. Example: Using charts and graphics can have a BIG impact. On the Next 2 Pages you’ll see examples: The second graphic was still being talked about at the company years later! People like graphics. So use them.

22 Graphical Representation of a Project Schedule
Allows the team to quickly see the high-level tasks, and overall schedule. Let’s you understand how long things take, so you can focus on the right things.

23 Graphical Representation of a Process Work-Flow
Visuals can help people understand the end-to-end process flow.

24 If you have questions reach me at
Q&A If you have questions reach me at Not an actual likeness.

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