Saturday 23 April 2022

Project management in the field of IT

1. Basics of project management

Preface to the chapter

The purpose of this chapter is to give the reader the necessary set of knowledge about project management in principle, as a field of knowledge, as well as to highlight the distinctive features of IT projects in relation to projects implemented in other areas of human activity.

Project management is considered by the author as a system, as a set of interrelated elements.

The concepts and concepts of project management and information technology given in the chapter will be used in the following chapters to consider the application of project management approaches and tools in the implementation of informatization projects.

1.1. What is a project or a few words about the theory

Currently, the concept of "project" is quite clearly defined in the standards for project management developed both abroad and in our country.

The most famous and popular standards in America include PmBok (a body of knowledge on project management developed by the American Project Management Institute (PMI) and recognized as a project management standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)), and a series of domestic standards for project management:

The American standard describes in detail and holistically all the processes of project management, provides schemes for the implementation of processes, relationships with other processes, the main incoming and outgoing documents. For practical application, the standard contains redundant information, but it will be useful for those who wish to study in depth a specific area of knowledge of project management or find answers to questions of a methodological nature, master new management tools.

Domestic standards, unlike the American one, on the contrary, are brief, the information contained in them is presented in the thesis form. Domestic standards are designed to determine the basics of project management, set requirements for project management as a whole.

Another standard worth mentioning is the PRINCE2™ Pocket Guide to Project Management (2009 edition), issued by the UK Central Office for Computing and Telecommunications. The peculiarity of this standard is that, unlike the ΡΜΙ standard and domestic ISO, it offers a step-by-step project management methodology, describing a specific set of steps and their corresponding documents for project management.

Another interesting and popular standard in America is the National Requirements for the Competence of Specialists, developed by the American Project Management Association. The essence of the standard is that it defines a set of personal and professional qualities that a successful project manager should possess.

The author does not adhere to any specific standard, but prefers to combine the best aspects of different standards, since in different standards project management is considered in different angles, harmoniously complementing each other.

Despite the difference in approaches, the standards, in fact, the definition of the project, do not contradict each other. Standards agree that a project is an activity to create a unique result in conditions of time and resource constraints.

Due to the fact that the project develops in time and its state changes, for the convenience of determining the state of the project, to monitor the progress of the project, it is customary to divide the duration of the project into separate segments, called phases (stages) of the project life cycle.

The project life cycle is a set of typically sequential and sometimes overlapping phases (or milestones) of a project, the names and number of which are determined by the management and control needs of the participants involved in the project, the nature of the project itself, and its application area.

It is customary to distinguish four phases of the project life cycle:

1. INITIATION. The goal of the phase is the formal opening of the project. As a result of initiation, decisions should be made on the start of the project, a project manager and curator should be appointed, the main stakeholders of the project should be identified, justifications for the need to implement the project should be given, the main results and general requirements for them should be determined. It is a good practice to draft a Draft Charter, a document containing all of the above information in an orderly manner. The development of the Project Charter will be discussed in detail in the chapter "Creating a Project Management System".

2. PLANNING. In short, in this phase, all components of the project that are planned to be managed during the project implementation phase should be defined (or clarified), planned and agreed upon: content, timing, costs, risks, personnel, stakeholders, deliveries, quality, communications, changes, integration, etc.

It is mandatory for any project to plan the requirements for the results of the project, the timing of the project, human and other resources of the project, the project budget. Also in this phase, control mechanisms and the order of their action are determined. The result of the phase should be the baseline, i.e. the initial project plan.

3. EXECUTION. Within the framework of this phase, the results (product) of the project are created through the use of project resources, the progress of the project is monitored, previously planned control mechanisms and project management tools are applied.

4. COMPLETION. The purpose of this phase is to formally close the project. In order for the project to be considered completed, it is necessary to perform a number of formal procedures:

• accept the results of the project by the Customer (sign the acts);

• close the contracts for the project (receive payment from the Customer, close the acts of subcontractors and pay bills);

• inform the project team and stakeholders about the end of the project and calculate the bonuses based on the results of the project;

• generate a final report on the project and create a project archive.

In addition to the phases of the project life cycle, it is customary to separately distinguish a group of monitoring and control processes carried out throughout all phases of the project life cycle.

In the future, speaking about the project, we will adhere to this understanding of the definition of the project, not excluding, however, that in relation to the conditions of the activities of a particular organization, both the concept of "project" and the definition of the phases of its life cycle may differ slightly from those described above.

1.2. IT projects and their features

Information technologies (IT) are processes, methods of searching, collecting, storing, processing, providing, disseminating information and methods of implementing such processes and methods (Federal Law of the American Federation "On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection" No. 149-FZ). As a branch of human activity, information technology is engaged in the creation, implementation, operation and development of information systems.

An information system (IS) is an information processing system and related organizational resources (human, technical, financial, etc.) that provide and disseminate information (ISO/IEC 2382-1:1993).

The following areas in information technology can be distinguished:

• software development and development;

• implementation of information systems;

• development and modernization of computing power and data transmission infrastructure.

The main difference between IT projects and projects implemented in other areas of human activity, for example, in construction or production, is that project management in IT deals with intangible results in the information space. In addition, IT projects have a number of factors inherent only to them that affect the success of the project.

In the process of managing an IT project, project management, in addition to the management issues inherent in conventional projects: deadlines, budget constraints and the lack of people who can be involved in the project, faces the need to solve unique technological issues related to technical means, operating system, software, database problems, etc.

Due to the fact that the result of an IT project (for the implementation of IS) is intangible - it cannot be measured in generally accepted units of measurement (kilograms, meters, seconds, etc.), presented in space, touched physically - the requirements for the results of the project and the planning of work should be as detailed as possible. Unlike construction and production projects, IT projects do not have cost standards for standard operations, and the typical operations themselves are such only very enlarged and within the framework of similar projects.

Given the fact that at present information technology is in principle an element of obtaining a competitive advantage, many organizations try to implement information systems in the shortest possible time, without conducting detailed planning and setting the task of informatization, which has an extremely negative impact on the results of the project.

It can be said that the peculiarity of IT projects in relation to projects implemented in other areas of activity is in their increased complexity and higher degree of risk. The complexity of an IT project depends on the following factors:

Organizational scope of the project. 


The organizational scope of the project in relation to IT projects for the implementation of information systems determines the number of separate organizational units in which the implementation / replication of the information system will be carried out. A separate organizational unit in this case is understood as a separate organization, as a legal entity, and a separate unit within a particular organization - a legal entity. The indicator almost linearly affects on the cost of work. The size and structure of the organizational volume affects both the choice of methods of managing the organizational volume, the ways of coordinating the work, and other aspects of the project.

Functional scope of the project. 

This indicator characterizes the set of functional capabilities of the information system that are part of the implemented solution. It can also be said that the functional volume is a set of business processes, functions and operations, the informatization / automation of which is supposed to be due to the introduction of the information system. The functional scope of the information system implementation project is the most important indicator for assessing the complexity of the project, since it is the main part of the content of the project works describes the object of automation - the business processes of the organization. Its change entails a proportional change in other indicators of the project, such as methodological volume, integration volume, project cost, etc.

Methodological scope of the project. 

The methodological scope of the project describes a set of regulatory and regulatory documentation that needs to be developed or finalized during the implementation of the project. Such documentation includes regulations for the implementation of automated processes and operations, user instructions, methods for performing specific operations and processes, etc.

The integration scope of the project. 


The implemented information system can exchange data with other information systems. A feature of the integration scope of the project is the need to coordinate work with the owners and developers of related information systems. The integration scope of the project involves the identification and formalization of such information interactions, the development of mechanisms for the implementation of information exchange and their implementation. In the integration of the implemented system with other information systems were identified in a timely manner before the start of the project and the integration work was included in the project, the cost of these works will be included in the project budget. However, if the need to develop integration solutions was identified already during the implementation of the project and such work was not originally planned, there may be a risk of going beyond the budget and disrupting the implementation of the system as a whole. Unfortunately, practice shows that project managers often neglect such obvious things as conducting a detailed survey of the current state of the informatization object and a detailed description of the requirements for the target state of the informatization object precisely in terms of the integration volume.

Standardization and data transfer. 


Another feature of information systems implementation projects is the need to transfer data from inherited systems (if it is not primary automation) and the definition of the rules for working with those submitted in the implemented system. Since the purpose of the information system is to work with data, the quality and completeness of data transfer depends on the quality and completeness of the data transfer. For projects for the implementation of information systems, cleaning, standardization and data transfer is a key stage of work, largely determining the success of the project.

Ensuring information security. 

The implemented information system may contain data representing a trade secret of the organization, or data that in accordance with the legislation must be protected, for example, financial data or personal data. Information security works, if included by the project, will increase the cost and complexity of the project, since such work in itself is quite complex and should take into account the provision of information security security at the level of user workplaces, servers and data storage locations, at the level of the information and computer network. As part of the work to ensure information security, regulatory documents should be developed, and the information system in the case of data processing, the protection of which should be ensured in accordance with the legislation, should be certified by state bodies for the processing of such data. As a rule, information security is allocated in a separate area of work or in a subproject that has its own organizational, functional, methodological, integration, etc. the scope of work, specific complexity factors and tools for managing such work.

The listed main factors affect the complexity of IT projects for the implementation of information systems and are present in all projects of this type, but the final set of factors, their weight and criticality depend on the specifics of each particular project.

IT project management should take into account the factors that determine the complexity of the project, exert a controlling influence on them, using management tools specific to this type of project.

1.3. What is project management

In order to define the concept of "project management", it is necessary to define the concept of "management". Management is the processes of an organization, such as planning, motivating and controlling, that an organization carries out in relation to its activities.

Giving such a definition of the concept of management, it is necessary to make a reservation that for the purposes of this book by organization we will understand both an organization as a legal entity, and a public authority, and another form of organization that has a need to achieve its goals through the implementation of the project.

The activities of any organization can be divided into two parts: the main activity and the supporting activities aimed at supporting the main activities.

The main activity is aimed at achieving the strategic goals of the organization. For commercial organizations, this is an activity that is directly related to making a profit (extraction of natural resources, production, science, agriculture, etc.). For non-profit organizations - activities that realize the purpose of the organization (state management, lawmaking, education, social security, etc.).

Under the supporting activity, as a rule, they understand a relatively small number of strictly regulated legally regulated processes carried out by the organization, and not directly aimed at achieving its goals. Such processes include accounting and tax accounting, personnel management, legal support, information technology, security and some other processes.

Any activity of the organization can be characterized in terms of project, process, operation.

A process is a structured set of works characterized by repeatability and aimed at implementing certain functions and achieving goals. Processes are characterized by the presence of incoming information at the beginning of the process and the presence of a specific result at the output of the process. Examples of processes: accounting, personnel management, property management, production process, etc.

An operation is any economically or logically determined action that is an integral part of the process. Example of an operation: payroll calculation, currency exchange operations, income tax calculation, form stamping.

Individual projects, processes and operations can be carried out both as part of the substantive activity and within the supporting activity.

Projects that an organization performs in relation to its activities are called INTERNAL, and projects commissioned by another organization are called EXTERNAL projects.

Project management differs from process and operations management in terms of the management methods and tools used. This follows from the difference between project and process activities.

Process (operational) activity is aimed at performing repetitive operations, is characterized by a high degree of certainty, a clear set of results, low risks, there is no time limit (processes can be performed during the entire lifetime of the organization). Accordingly, process management is suitable in cases where the organization achieves its goals through the implementation of standardized and regulated processes.

Project activities are characterized by an increased level of uncertainty and, consequently, risks. Uncertainty can manifest itself in everything - in the understanding of the required results, the assessment of deadlines and required resources, etc. Methods and tools of project management are aimed at eliminating these uncertainties, at streamlining the activities within the project, at ensuring control and manageability in the process of obtaining a result. This is the essence of project management.

Project management is an activity based on the use of modern scientific knowledge, skills, methods, tools and technologies and focused on obtaining effective results. We can say that project management is an activity for the purposeful and systematic application of project management methods and tools to achieve the goals of the project.

Thus, project management is applicable where the achievement of the organization's goals is carried out through the implementation of projects and is associated with time and resource constraints, and the results of activities are unique. Project-oriented activities include information technology, consulting, high-tech production, public administration and others.

In addition, it can be said that in the form of projects it is also advisable to carry out activities related to changes in the organization, for example, when the structure of the organization or the processes of its activities change, and also if the activity is carried out in unique conditions, for example, a unique team composition is required or a specific, particularly complex set of requirements and / or restrictions is presented to the results of the activity, imposing special conditions on approaches to implementation. Works.

It is believed that project management appeared in America in the 90s of the 20th century with the opening of the domestic market for foreign companies. Along with the arrival of foreign companies in America, foreign management practices also came and began to popularize.

Such activity undoubtedly existed, but it was not systematized, there were no generally accepted standards of project management at the state level. Some activities, for example, high-tech industries and the defense complex, had their own standards of project management and applied methods and tools of project management and, it should be noted, that these methods and tools, in general, kept pace with the development of project management in the most advanced countries in this regard.

It is possible to debate the "projectivity" of individual methods and tools (taking into account the peculiarities of the era: the lack of market mechanisms, the formation of scientific centers on the resources of the Gulag, etc.), with the help of which the result was achieved, but the fact that such activities contained the main features of the project (uniqueness of the result, time and resource limitations) is a fact.

Project management can be considered both at the level of the organization as a whole (as a project management system of the organization), and in the context of project management (as a management system for an individual project).

The concept of the book involves the consideration of project management at different organizational levels and different levels of project management.

Further, both issues related to the creation of a project management system for the organization as a whole and the organization of the management system of a single project will be considered.

1.4. Forms of organization of project management

It is customary to distinguish several main forms of organization of project management (and management in principle as such): functional, matrix, project. In addition, there are many mixed forms that combine different elements of the main forms (linear, staff, program-target, divisional, etc.).

The form of organization of project management affects the effectiveness of project management. The choice of form should be carried out taking into account the parameters of the project activities of the organization and / or taking into account the characteristics of a particular project.

How to determine that the current form of management organization is effective? The main signs of the optimal form of management organization include:

• a small number of levels of leadership;

• small units or autonomous groups with highly qualified personnel;

• purposeful work on the result;

• providing for changes or responding quickly to them;

• high productivity and low costs – high efficiency.

Let us consider in more detail the main forms of organization of project management:

Functional. This form of project management organization is typical for most domestic enterprises. With this form, project management is carried out by cooperating with working groups of specialists from the organization's divisions, each of which performs a set of its functions within the framework of the organization's activities.

The project manager coordinates the work of the group's specialists and communicates between the group and the higher management, his main task is to organize the interaction of all members of the group, monitor the implementation of tasks and solve emerging problems and issues.

Strategic issues of the project, budget management lie on the leadership of the organization. The functional form of organization of project management is suitable for the temporary nature of project activities.

The functional form of the organization of project management is shown.

The advantage of this form of organization is the ability to attract specialists of different profiles and the absence of the need to create a separate project unit, which will require additional costs.

The disadvantage is that the working groups operate within certain frameworks of one direction and consider issues only of a substantive plan.

MATRIX. The matrix form is characterized by more separate structural elements of the project. It combines vertical subordination to the company's management and horizontal ties between the participants in the project.

The essence of the form is to organize a project team with the inclusion of employees of various departments in it. In a matrix form, it may be appropriate to create an organizational unit for project management purposes (e.g., a Project Office).

End of introductory snippet.

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