All projects are managed against the triple constraints of time, cost and scope. Technology projects, however, come with their own additional constraints. In this video, Bob McGannon explores the common constraints that are specific to technology projects including the bridging from old to new technology, resource constraints and dealing with architectural standards.
- All projects are managed against the triple constraints of time, cost, and scope. However, technology projects are special and typically come with additional constraints. There are three common constraints specific to technology projects. Let's start with bridging the old technology to the new. Your new system should be better and provide additional value to your business. However, sometimes data that's required in the new system does not exist in the old.
To address this constraint, you'll need to plan for the creation of new data prior to implementation or determine if you want to have the new data created slowly over time as the new system is being used. The advantage of creating the new data is that there is no additional work to be performed by the project team prior to implementation. The disadvantage is the new data that could be valuable to the business won't be available for a considerable amount of time and it puts additional burden on business resources to create that data.
If you decide to create the data, you'll need to develop a data management plan to determine the information to be created, where it will come from, and how the data will be populated in the new system. While this takes significant effort, it can be time well spent if it adds value to your business. Take time to compile and discuss the pros and cons of these options with your sponsor or steering committee. Another common constraint is resourcing.
Technology projects can take awhile and the skilled employees required for the project are also required for business as usual activities. This can create a prioritization conflict. The following list of techniques can be used to manage this constraint. As soon as possible, create a resource plan for each resource required and when you'll need them along with the hours per week required for project activities. Consider backfilling resources with a temporary resource from within the company or, if feasible, hire a contractor.
Have a junior person perform a role with a senior person overseeing their work. This is doable and the junior person is likely more available and eager to learn. Move the schedule out. Sometimes you have to simply be realistic. If resources can't be freed up, then the schedule needs to be adjusted accordingly. Communicate quickly if resources are not available for project activities as agreed. Management decisions can then be made relative to business priorities.
And finally, I recommend the liberal use of praise and chocolate so people want to work on your project. The final common constraint is technical architecture standards. Even if the standards are not written down, they probably do exist. For instance, if you find a product that is only offered by the vendor on a Microsoft platform but your company is an Oracle shop, there's a good chance it will not be easy to purchase and implement the solution. Following architecture standards can be frustrating.
However, it's probably in your best interest. If you purchase a product not aligned with the architecture standards, getting in-house support will likely be difficult and it can be expensive to hire a company to provide the support you'll need. If a solution is chosen that's against the architecture standards, be sure you get written approval from all the appropriate stakeholders. So those are the technology constraints, things that make our project special. Keep in mind constraints are not necessarily a bad thing.
They are the realities that we have to deal with and are often there to keep us from going astray.
- Identifying and managing stakeholders
- Guiding process and organizational change
- Considering a cloud-based solution
- Planning a technology project
- Assessing risks and changes
- Executing a technology project
- Addressing challenges such as conflict and changing priorities