Click for larger view.
And if you lack the authority or resources to meet that baseline? Find another project -- or, failing that, start looking for another job.
3. Just saying yes to expanding requirements. Your average IT manager is no stranger to tall orders. But when project requirements keep changing, inexperienced managers often avoid the anger of higher-ups by agreeing to the impossible. Just saying no -- or at least pushing back with realistic adjustments to the time or resources required -- can avert failure or 11th-hour contingency plans.
Anthony Hill, CTO of Golden Gate University, says he makes sure that when a project begins there are sign-offs regarding scope and level of commitment from the stakeholders. “It’s a big red flag where the stakeholders haven’t agreed to responsibility and accountability for the project. The project manager has a performance responsibility but shouldn’t own the outcome of the project,” he says. “The project manager should escalate early and escalate often.”
4. Falling behind on emerging technologies. Staying current can prevent embarrassment at the very least. One good example is the emergence of virtualization as a means of server consolidation to save on hardware and power costs and to increase overall server utilization. “Being unaware of new technologies is more of a missed opportunity than a pitfall,” Wells Fargo’s Gauchat says. “The pitfall is ignorance of technologies that upper management is getting the buzz on.”
5. Failing to detect competing agendas. Stay alert for conflicting priorities that could derail your best efforts. If stakeholders are at odds, make them iron out their differences before the work starts. Golden Gate University’s Hill recommends implementing a project charter that documents all the elements of a project, who the stakeholders are, who the sponsors are -- and defines the roles of the business project manager and the IT project manager. “We deal with the issues of competing agendas beforehand,” he says. “If we can’t get agreement, we don’t start it.”
6. Underestimating your importance. A common lament among workers with specialized skills of vital importance is that they get passed over when advancement opportunities arise. Instead, work that only they can do piles up relentlessly.