Methods of effective IT project management

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Methods of effective IT project management

IT project management is the process of planning, organizing, monitoring and controlling resources, activities and time to successfully implement IT-related projects. It encompasses a wide range of activities, from defining project goals to project completion, while also covering risk management, communication, project team, budget and product delivery.

Key aspects of IT project management

  • Defining project goals or defining clear and measurable project objectives that align with the organization's goals.
  • Project planning i.e. developing a detailed project plan, including tasks, schedule, resources and budget.
  • Team management i.e. creating an effective project team, defining roles and responsibilities, and motivating team members.
  • Progress monitoring means regularly tracking the progress of the project, identifying any delays and taking corrective action.
  • Risk management means identifying, assessing and managing risks to minimize the impact of unforeseen events on the project.
  • Communication means establishing effective communication channels, both within the team and with external stakeholders.
  • Delivering business value i.e. focusing on delivering business value by meeting project objectives.

The role of effective project management in the success of IT ventures

In an environment where change is rapid and requirements are evolving, skillful project management becomes an indispensable part of achieving goals. The following are key aspects of the role of project management in the success of IT ventures.

Aspects of good project management for the employee:

  • Providing clear goals and deadlines enables employees to focus on tasks. Eliminating ambiguity and maintaining deadlines leads to higher work efficiency.
  • Consciously identifying and managing risks eliminates uncertainty. Employees feel more confident when they know potential challenges and are prepared for them.
  • Open and effective communication builds employee engagement and motivation. Keeping them informed of project progress and changes to the plan maintains clarity.
  • The ability to adapt flexibly to change helps employees develop adaptive skills. Teams are more open to innovation.

Aspects of good project management for the customer:

  • Timely delivery of the product according to customer expectations builds trust and increases satisfaction. The customer can be assured of receiving the finished product at the agreed time.
  • Effective risk management reduces the likelihood of delays and changes in the project, which translates into customer satisfaction.
  • Regular communication with the customer enables ongoing adjustment of the product to meet customer expectations. The customer feels involved in the development process.
  • The ability to adapt the project to the customer's changing needs makes the product better meet the customer's expectations.

Aspects of good project management for the product:

  • Maintaining deadlines allows you to focus on quality. Not rushing allows the development team to thoroughly test the product, which translates into quality.
  • Planning for potential problems helps minimize their impact on the final product.
  • Avoiding misunderstandings and errors through effective communication translates into a better quality product.
  • Flexibility in the face of change allows the product to be better adapted to current market requirements.

IT project management methods


Scrum is an incremental and iterative project management methodology specifically designed for the software development field. It is one of the most popular and flexible Agile working frameworks, enabling project teams to deliver valuable software efficiently and adapt to changing market or customer conditions.

Scrum is based on short, usually two-week, iterations called sprints. Each sprint is designed to deliver a specific and ready-to-use product component, which is then incrementally added to an existing product. This approach allows the customer to benefit from new features as they are created.

In an environment where customer requirements can evolve over the course of a project, Scrum shows great flexibility. Changes to requirements can be made even during a sprint, allowing rapid adaptation to new conditions. The role of the Product Owner, representing the project stakeholders, introduces a strong customer focus. Prioritization decisions in the product backlog are made based on the business value to the customer, ensuring that the most important features are delivered as a priority.

Scrum promotes openness and transparency. Daily stand-ups, sprint reviews and retrospectives foster regular communication within the team and with stakeholders. This enables understanding of project progress and ongoing challenges. The Scrum team is autonomous and self-reliant. During a sprint, the team organizes its own work, makes decisions to solve problems and ensures that the sprint goals are achieved. This fosters increased commitment and responsibility among team members.

Traditional approaches: Waterfall

Waterfall, also known as the cascade model, is one of the traditional project management approaches that, unlike the Scrum methodology, emphasizes sequential and linear execution of activities. This approach is particularly effective in projects where requirements are well-defined from the outset and are not subject to significant change during execution. In the Waterfall approach, each phase of a project is executed sequentially, with no possibility of returning to a previous phase. Decisions are made based on assumptions made in earlier phases.

Classically, these phases include:

  • Definition (Requirements): Definition of project requirements.
  • Design: Creating accurate technical specifications based on the requirements.
  • Implementation: The phase where coding and development of the product begins.
  • Testing: Checking that the product is as intended and meets established standards.
  • Implementation (Deployment): Putting the product into use.

The project is planned in detail at the initial stage, and the schedule and scope of work are approved before the start of subsequent phases. Great emphasis is placed on creating detailed documentation in each phase of the project. These documents serve the function of tracking the progress of the work.

The traditional Waterfall approach is still used in many projects, especially where requirements are stable and change is unlikely

Dynamic approaches: Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP)

Kanban is a dynamic approach to project management based on the principle of visualizing the work process and controlling the flow of tasks. It is often used in projects where customer requirements are variable and there is a need for constant adaptation to new priorities.

The basic tool in Kanban is a board on which task cards are placed, representing specific work to be done. The board is divided into columns reflecting different stages of the process, such as "To Do," "In Progress" and "Done." Kanban allows the flexibility to add, remove and modify tasks according to the changing needs of the project. This makes the delivery process continuous.

Kanban imposes limits on the number of tasks that can be in a process step at one time. These limits help maintain balance and prevent overloading the work team.

Extreme Programming (XP) is a team programming methodology that aims to deliver high-quality software through the use of a series of practices and principles. It is often used in projects where innovation, code quality and fast product delivery are key. Two developers work together on one task, which allows them to share knowledge, check each other and maintain high code quality.

The project is developed in short cycles, most often lasting one to three weeks. This enables continuous delivery of a valuable product.
Great emphasis is placed on writing automatic tests, which allows for quick detection and correction of errors. Code integration is performed frequently, sometimes even several times a day, to avoid integration problems later in the project. Programmers work in pairs, which contributes to better understanding of the project, improving code quality and increasing efficiency.

Both Kanban and Extreme Programming (XP) are dynamic approaches that allow you to flexibly adapt to changes throughout the project. Kanban emphasizes process visualization and steady workflow, while XP focuses on development practices that aim to ensure high-quality code and fast product delivery. Both of these approaches have gained popularity in environments where innovation, quality and speed of delivery are key elements of project success.

Hybrid approaches: PRINCE2, AgilePM

PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a hybrid approach to project management, combining elements of classical methodology with flexible practices. It is often used in large organizations where there is a need to control processes while adapting to changing project conditions.

This method introduces a precise project structure, defined by roles, products and stages. Each role has its own clear responsibilities, which helps in supervising processes. A project in PRINCE2 is divided into stages, and each stage ends with an assessment and a decision to continue the project. This allows you to monitor your progress and increase your confidence in achieving your goals. Decisions are made at different levels in the project hierarchy. The concept of "lead by exception" allows problems to be solved locally at lower levels while maintaining control at the management level. PRINCE2 places an emphasis on understanding the business, customer needs and delivering business value.

AgilePM (Agile Project Management) is a hybrid approach combining Agile principles with some elements of traditional project management. Designed to deliver valuable software in dynamic business environments.

Projects are implemented in short, iterative cycles, which enables continuous delivery of valuable software. The client actively participates in the design process, defining priorities and having the opportunity to make changes even during the project. AgilePM enables quick adaptation to changing market or customer conditions, which contributes to project agility.

Both PRINCE2 and AgilePM are hybrid approaches that combine traditional elements with flexible practices. PRINCE2 focuses on precise project structure and process control, while AgilePM focuses on agility, adaptation to changes and active customer involvement. Both of these approaches are adapted to different contexts and organizational needs.

Advantages and challenges of Scrum in IT Project Management

Advantages of Scrum:

  • Fast delivery of value - Scrum enables regular delivery of valuable software through short iterations (sprints), which allows the customer to benefit from new products as the work progresses.
  • Flexibility to changes - Changes in customer requirements can be introduced even during the sprint, which allows the project to be adapted to changing needs.
  • Customer focus - The Product Owner role ensures customer focus by prioritizing tasks based on business value, enabling the most important features to be delivered first.
  • Transparency and communication - Daily stand-ups, sprint reviews and retrospectives promote regular communication within the team and with stakeholders, which increases understanding of the project's progress.
  • Autonomous teams and commitment - The Scrum Team is autonomous, which promotes the involvement and creativity of team members. Everyone has specific roles and responsibilities.
  • Risk reduction - Regular iteration allows you to identify and manage risks on an ongoing basis, which minimizes potential problems in the long run.
  • Effective use of resources - Scrum allows for the effective use of resources by focusing on the most important tasks and eliminating unnecessary work.

Scrum Challenges:

  • Lack of Structure for Some Teams - For some teams, especially inexperienced ones, the lack of traditional hierarchy and precise guidelines can lead to inefficiency.
  • Customer Engagement Required - The effectiveness of Scrum requires active customer involvement, which can be a challenge, especially when the customer is not available or does not have time for regular meetings.
  • The Need for Team Maturity - Scrum works best when the team is mature and able to manage the work independently. In the case of teams with a low level of maturity, there may be difficulties in implementing Scrum.
  • Risk of Excessive Focus on Speed - Focusing only on the speed of delivery may lead to the omission of processes that ensure high quality and durability of software.
  • Difficulty Estimating Time - Estimating time for individual tasks can be difficult, which may affect your ability to predict when a project will be completed.
  • Team Distribution Challenges - Working in remote teams can lead to communication and coordination challenges, which can impact the effectiveness of Scrum.
  • Team Fatigue - Continually delivering value in short cycles can lead to team fatigue, especially when the work is intense and demanding.
  • Potential Problems with Managing Multiple Projects - Coordinating multiple Scrum projects can be challenging, especially for large organizations working on multiple products simultaneously.

Despite the challenges, Scrum remains one of the most popular and effective methodologies in IT project management, especially in projects where fast value delivery and flexibility are key. However, the effectiveness of Scrum depends on proper implementation and adaptation to the specific needs of the organization.
In the context of IT project management methods,

Scrum is a dynamic methodology, particularly effective in the area of software development. It is based on short iterations, flexibility towards changes and customer orientation. Waterfall is a traditional approach, sequential and linear, effective in projects with well-defined requirements. Kanban and Extreme Programming (XP) represent dynamic approaches, with Kanban emphasizing process visualization and XP emphasizing programming practices and rapid product delivery.

Hybrid approaches such as PRINCE2 and AgilePM combine traditional elements with flexible practices. PRINCE2 focuses on precise structure and process control, while AgilePM focuses on agility and adaptation to changes. Both of these approaches are adapted to different contexts and organizational needs.

The advantages of Scrum in IT project management include rapid delivery of value, flexibility to change, customer focus, transparency and efficient use of resources. However, challenges such as a lack of structure for some teams or the need for customer involvement can impact the effectiveness of Scrum. Nevertheless, Scrum remains one of the most popular and effective methodologies in IT projects, requiring appropriate adaptation to specific contexts and organizational needs.

About The Author
Izabela Węgrecka

Izabela is a Project Manager and Scrum Master with 6 years of experience in the IT industry. She has experience in leading diverse projects and effectively managing teams. She's a leader with the ability to create cohesive and efficient teams based on Scrum values. Regardless of the project's scale, she's able to establish a dynamic environment where collaboration, innovation, and delivering valuable products take precedence.