How to set yourself up for IT project success with perfect planning

So, you’ve just won a great new client who wants you to take on a huge IT project for them. Congratulations! When you’re up on cloud nine, what’s the first thing you’re going to do?

Odds are, you can’t wait to get started to show your client what wonderful things you can deliver for them. But there’s a fundamental step here that’s so often overlooked until it’s too late. Can you afford to skip ahead when there’s so much at stake?

It’s all about starting strong, and you can set up your project for success by building from the ground up. So, what’s the first thing you should do before you get started?

That’s right – lay your IT project’s foundations.

And here’s how to do it…

How to perfectly plan successful IT projects

Define the project charter

Make sure the project charter encompasses everything your client wants and needs. Don’t be afraid to ask your client or boss questions so you can find out more detail. And make sure that it’s possible for you to deliver the scope within the agreed time frame and budget.

If the project charter needs altering in order to fit within the budget or to be completed within the allotted time, discuss this with your client and work out the best plan of action.

If they’d rather change the scope than alter the budget or deadline then that’s fine, but it needs to be agreed before the project commences so everyone’s on the same page.

Make it clear to your client or your boss that if they decide to amend the scope midway through the IT project, you will need a project change to agree on a revised budget and time frame to ensure you can still successfully deliver what’s required of you – the last thing you want is for your integrity to be compromised when your project fails because of a sudden change in scope.

Get the numbers right

Is the IT project’s budget realistic? Does it provide sufficient financial support to cover all the costs you’ll incur to complete the project successfully – and within the agreed time frame? Have you considered all areas where portions of the project budget may be allocated?

These are the questions you need to ask yourself before kicking off the project, as if you have insufficient funds to see it through, you’ll have much tougher questions to answer if the project fails.

It’s imperative that the financial part of the planning process is done right – any errors could cause serious issues for you further down the line, maybe even stopping you from completing the project. Is this something you can risk doing wrong?

Make time work for you

The time frame set for your IT project needs to be realistic. We know how uncomfortable these conversations can be, but skipping this vital step can lead to complications and delays further down the line. So, can all the tasks within your IT project be completed to a high standard within the agreed time frame? The last thing you want your team to have to do is to rush and make a mistake.

To make sure the time frame is realistic, break down the IT project’s scope into manageable chunks and calculate how long each of those stages will take your team to complete. Get your team’s assistance to ensure these plans are as accurate as possible.

If you need more time for the project to be successfully completed, raise this with your client before starting off, and revise the time frame so both you and your client are happy. If the time frame can’t be extended, the scope may have to be readdressed to ensure the IT project deadline can be successfully met.

Get key stakeholders on board

You want to lead a successful project from day one. To do that, you need the confidence and backing of key stakeholders throughout your IT project, so it’s important to get them involved at the start and include their input from the very beginning.

Remember that each person is a stakeholder for a reason. They can offer insight into the target audience, expertise in a specific field or something else, and their opinions will help to shape your IT project’s scope – and success. What are their expectations? Always ask and never assume.

Be open and honest with stakeholders, keeping them in the loop at every stage of the project, making sure any developments still meet their requirements.

Comprehensive project plan

Once you’ve agreed on the project charter, budget and time frame, and received input from key stakeholders, you need a plan that can deliver everything within the constraints provided. 

A plan is absolutely crucial to any IT project. It’s where your project gains its detail and comes to life. And it’s where you determine clear, specific tasks and expectations to ensure that your team is able to achieve everything you defined in the charter.

If your IT project starts going off track, your plan can help you to pinpoint where things went wrong, and you can use it to help bring your project back around.

Your project plan is where your entire IT project is detailed and defined.

You can achieve IT project success, every single time

Did you know that one of the main reasons IT projects fail is because they’ve been built on bad foundations? Now you’re a step ahead of your competitors, as you know that a key factor in achieving success is proper project discovery– and you know what that entails. Can you afford to take a chance by skipping the discovery process when you’re starting any future IT projects?

If you understand the importance of IT project planning and can learn how to nail it every time, you’ll set yourself up for success. And who doesn’t enjoy success?

Want to learn exactly how to do it, step by step? Download our free eBook to help you lead successful projects, every time.