Determining IT Project Health

As a project manager, program manager and consultant, Harold Hunt, PMP has a record of achievements in the United States and seven other countries where he lived and worked for 23 years managing multinational technical personnel with minimal cross-cultural conflict in multi-cultural environments. Applying a variety of methodologies, he successfully managed numerous information technology and related programs and projects involving mainframe, mid-range, client/server and web-enabled architectures and networks.

Project sponsors, Chief Information Officers (CIOs), program and project managers, and customers must be confident that information technology (IT) projects are “healthy”—that is, on track for timely and cost-effective delivery of the solutions required by the customers. Consequently, trustworthy assessments of project health are necessary. This article advocates an approach using proactive, objective and metrics-based project health indicators and communication of assessment outcomes by simple executive-level and project management-level dashboards.

The topics addressed in this paper include:

  • A definition of project health determination for IT projects
  • Project health assessment activities
  • Factors that build trust in project health indicators
  • Project critical success factors
  • Key performance indicators and metrics
  • Collection and retention of metrics
  • Project critical success factor dashboards

The initial step in writing this was to research materials produced by experts in the field to acquire an understanding of industry best practices for project health assessment (the sources researched are listed at the end). Based on this research, a definition of the term “project health” is the starting point for project health determination. Activities used to assess project health are summarily described, but the emphasis is on …

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