IT Project Management for the Non-IT Executive. (Tech Notes)

Public Management, December 2001 | Go to article overview

IT Project Management for the Non-IT Executive. (Tech Notes)


Managing a project can be a daunting task even for the most experienced project manager. This holds true and is even magnified when the project in question is a system implementation that uses technology to better provide services to constituents.

This magnification happens because of the fact that many implementations come in late and over budget. These also are the projects that are found splashed across the front page of the local newspaper, not exactly a glowing endorsement for the use of technology but one that goes with the territory.

"Information technology projects are risky business," said Mike Herrin, director of finance business technology for the city of Seattle, Washington. "A lot of IT projects don't make it to the finish line on time and under budget. We can build bridges and buildings on time, but IT projects change the culture, the way people think," Herrin said while speaking at the Public Technology, Inc. (PTI), annual conference, held in April in Atlanta. "Information technology problems can be solved with money and time. Business problems can be solved with decisions."

Combine the two kinds of problems, and there is a need for an experienced project manager who will report to the local government manager. This person could help take a project from idea to fruition and usually will have the knowledge to ensure that projects are completed as nearly on time and within budget as possible. This knowledge should include experience in contingency planning and should emphasize costs.

Why a Project Manager?

As Mike Herrin said in Atlanta, a project manager is responsible for identifying cost categories, estimating costs, and managing expenditures. The project manager is not responsible for doing a $20 million project within a $10 million budget. When it comes to the budget for a project, Herrin suggests that project managers pad everything, round up (an expected $10,875 expense should be rounded up to $50,000, for example), list a line item for "miscellaneous expenditures," include money for budget cuts and contingency funds of up to 20 percent of the project cost, and, he said, "protect it with your life."

Near Mike Herrin's workplace in Seattle is Bellevue, Washington, which budgeted $2.3 million to implement a financial system. The project had a defined scope, a defined governance structure, a defined budget, and identified risks and mitigation strategies. A steering committee consisting of the city's finance director, human resources director, chief information officer, and project manager met for an hour every Friday. The setting seemed ideal for a successful implementation, one that would be completed on time and within budget.

But the city ultimately spent $13.3 million on ongoing costs, including software plus annual licensing and upgrades, hardware plus annual maintenance and replacement, the cost of the project manager, backfill for existing staff, and session after session dedicated to training. Throw in inflation, and the total cost over seven years was a staggering $14. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

IT Project Management for the Non-IT Executive. (Tech Notes)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.