The Nature of Information Technology Projects

Unlike projects in many other industries, projects labeled as information technology projects can be very diverse. Some involve a small number of people installing off-the-shelf hardware and associated software. Others involve hundreds of people analyzing several organizations business processes and then developing new software in a collaborative effort with users to meet business needs.

Even for small hardware-oriented projects, there is a wide diversity in the types of hardware that could be involved personal computers, mainframe computers, network equipment, kiosks, or small mobile devices, to name a few. The network equipment might be wireless, phone-based, cable-based, or require a satellite connection. The nature of software development projects is even more diverse than hardware-oriented projects.

A software development project might include developing a simple, standalone Microsoft Excel or Access application or a sophisticated, global e-commerce system using state-of-the-art programming languages. Information technology projects also support every possible industry and business function. Managing an information technology project for a film company s animation department would require different knowledge and skills of the project manager and team members than a project to improve a federal tax collection system or install a communication infrastructure in a third-world country.

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The newness of the field, it is important to develop and follow best practices in managing these varied projects. That way, information technology project managers will have a common starting point and method to follow with every project.

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