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IT project management strategy for CIOs

For the CIO looking to increase organizational success, an IT project management strategy is key. Check out our IT project management resources in this guide.

IT project management is one of the most valued skills in today's IT organization, whether you're a hardened veteran...

or a fresh-faced IT rookie. CIOs seeking advice managing projects will find various resources on Agile, project and portfolio management (PPM) and IT project management in practice in our CIO Briefing.

This guide is part of the SearchCIO.com CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date visit the CIO Briefing section.

IT project management with Agile

In 2007, I was named manager of the Transparency Program, a collection of a half-dozen projects related to creating transparency in health care insurance, pricing and service delivery. The program, one of the company's two key initiatives, was high-profile and high-risk. We were on course, chugging out releases, and the releases for the next 18 months were planned out in front of us. Then came October 2008 and the dramatic drop of the Dow Jones Industrial Average that plunged the United States into a recession. In July 2009 I received a call from our project sponsor: "Transparency has been canceled. Close out the project." It felt like a sucker punch to the gut, and took the whole team by surprise. Fortunately we were using agile, and each iteration was self-contained. That made closing the project easy. We already had delivered the highest-value features to the customer.

In the Transparency Program's case, the project scope changed, as often happens with agile projects, but we remained focused throughout the project lifecycle on scheduled release dates. Let's take a closer look at agile project management from the point of view of schedule and budget.

Read more from expert Joseph Flahiff in "Agile project management approaches for on-time and on-budget delivery." Also:

  • Agile project management, from Agile to waterfall
    A seasoned Agile project manager shares an insider's view of Agile definitions, lingo and frameworks, as well as the mind-set needed to kick-start Agile project management.
  • Choosing a management approach that clarifies Agile project completion
    A rundown of the three parts of Agile project management -- scope, schedule and budget -- needed to capture often-elusive Agile project end dates.

IT project and portfolio management strategies

Is project and portfolio management (PPM) dead? Are we the ones who killed it? Let me share a couple of recent experiences that make me think so.

First, I was asked by a CIO to assess his company's PPM process. This IT executive felt his company was no longer getting much value out of its PPM structure. How did he come to that conclusion? For one, the members of his company's PPM steering committee were finding every possible reason and excuse not to attend their own regularly scheduled meetings. This CIO knew for sure the process was in trouble, however, when the vice president of marketing explained that he had missed the most recent prioritization session because "my dog ate my portfolio status report."

Read more from CIO Niel Nickolaisen in "Project and portfolio management dead? Try these tips for your PPM process." Also:

  • Cloud-based project management service gets projects off the ground
    A cloud-based project management service can help companies looking for low overhead get projects off the ground.
  • Your PPM solution is no longer relevant? Maybe you're doing it wrong
    Embracing a PPM solution is tough work. Jonathan Hassell discusses the difference between good project and portfolio management and 'good enough.

IT project management in practice

John Barker, IT director for the city of Nashua, N.H., had one big thing going for him when he was hired to lay the groundwork for an IT transformation approved by city officials two years ago.

"The existing [legacy] system was so difficult that they all agreed that anything would improve it," said Barker, who came aboard as the city's IT director in 2006. "We probably had four high-probability risks that could take down the city at any point."

But anything proved to be everything. Nashua's 30-year-old legacy system was used for the city's financial applications in departments ranging from planning to public health to fire and police. "This tool was a hammer and everything was a nail," Barker said.

Learn more in "'Guerilla' project management anchors a city's IT transformation." Also:

  • How Lands' End's CIO seized the moment to soft sell a cloud strategy
    Lands' End CIO Steve Cretney needed to sell a cloud strategy to help the retailer expand internationally.
  • Project management offices helps CIO navigate rough financial waters
    A two-person project management office helped Doe Run Co. CIO Sharon Gietl navigate budget cuts and layoffs. Read about how she made it work.

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