Managing a new IT project is a major undertaking. Handled the wrong way, an IT project can quickly turn into a headache. And when IT projects go off the rails, they frequently fall off schedule and out of line with their budgets.

However, there are a few things that you can do to help your IT project along. For a smooth IT project experience, be sure to take the following pro tips into account.

Provide direction and strategy

Any successful project requires strategic direction. Whether it’s a mission statement, project briefing, or a policy directive, your team must be aligned with your end result. Providing clear direction and transparent goals ensures that everyone knows exactly what is expected.

Without clear direction, team members could easily waste time and resources. Or just as bad, they might not do anything. Either will have a powerful negative effect on your project.

Document and prioritize tasks

According to Forbes,

Documenting tasks can be as simple as creating a spreadsheet or as elaborate as a formal project plan using project management software. If you have never created a task list or project plan, search for free templates online that will work for your project. Meet with your manager and/or project sponsor to ensure that you have prioritized appropriately.

Clear communication

Any project is apt to have aspects of it that face change. When this happens, make sure that every team member is on board with what’s going on. Your team cannot effectively complete your IT project without clear communication.

And in that same vein, make sure to discuss the challenges of the project so everyone has a clear vision of what is involved. Whether there are roadblocks that may arise or risks that are being undertaken, being transparent is important to a project that is victorious.

It’s far better to openly discuss potential obstacles and be ready for them than to run into them with no warning. You need top-notch communication.

Be open

Although you probably have a set plan on how you expect your IT project to play out, don’t be afraid to listen to your team and hear their suggestions. You’re the project manager for a reason. Just remember that a good project manager is always open to hearing input from others.

You may be surprised by an unconventional solution to a project-related problem.

Another benefit of this is that your team will feel more respected and valued by knowing their input is important to the project.

Maintain focus

A large (and sometimes small) project may have you pulled in varying directions. It’s important to maintain your focus on the task at hand. If you have to, make a daily log of what needs to be addressed and escalate the issues that take priority.

But make sure that you stay on track and are not distracted from your IT project goals.

Six traits of a project manager

CIO suggests six traits of a successful project manager:

  1. Be strategic
  2. Encourage and recognize valuable contributions
  3. Be invested in your success
  4. Respect and motivate
  5. Stress integrity and accountability
  6. Work in the gray

In our experience working with clients to complete all kinds of IT projects, we can confirm that each of these is necessary for success. IT projects have the potential to get out of hand quickly. The only way to make sure yours are successful is to go into them with a solid commitment to the right kind of approach.

Open communication, clear directives, maintaining focus, and being open to ideas from others can make a powerful difference in your IT project.