IT needs better project management

As Gartner's Michael Hanford, a research director and the summit chair, points out, businesses tend to see IT project management as a distinct discipline or function.

It should not be. "The fact that you happen to be delivering project in the IT space should be no more significant than fact you are delivering a product project, a marketing or an operations project," he says.

Unfortunately, the view among project management professionals is that IT is simply not as good as it is in other area of business, at least in part because IT is seen as its own silo.

Removing the barriers between IT, and other parts of the business, is as critical to successful IT delivery as technical knowledge, Hanford suggests. But breaking down the barriers needs investment and board-level support, just as improving IT project management means investing more in IT managers' skills.

Chief information officers (CIOs) and IT directors should, Hanford says, "ask the board how happy they are with what they are getting from their IT investments".

If the answer is "no", then a relatively small sum spent on project management techniques should greatly improve the returns generated by IT overall.

But IT managers also need to prove that it is about more than the technology. It is also about taking a professional approach.

* The Gartner PPM Summit continues today at the London Lancaster hotel.

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT PRO.

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