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Topics: IT Project Management, Leadership
Getting into IT Project Management

Hello PMs out there, I am currently employed with a telecom company. Although my employer doesn’t have a structured PMO set up, I have 7+ years of Project Management experience representing sales and customer service areas on capital projects. Depending on the nature of projects, I take up the role of a Technical Lead/Test Lead/Process Lead/Training Lead/Business Analyst/E2E Project Lead.

A couple of questions to get some direction:

In addition to the ‘field-neutral’ PM skill set that I possess, is there a specific skill set needed when moving into IT Project Management or applying for IT PM jobs?

In our company, all budgeting and cost estimates related work is done by the Commercial Team. For capital projects, I will be involved in providing the necessary inputs for the budgeting/estimating activities and will then use the calculation outcome to make decisions for the project. Is ‘nil exposure’ to budgeting/cost estimate tools a serious showstopper? If yes, is there a commonly used tool/application that I can learn to use?
Additionally, I am a certified PMP and have a degree in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering.

Appreciate your tips and suggestions
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Hi Anu, I don't think it will become a show stopper for not having any budgeting experience. Most companies have tools they use. For example: Excel templates(pre defined based on company's standards) or Servicenow or Clarity RPM. Most of the tools have help material or PMO notes on how to use. If you are PMP certified, the budgeting info given in PMBOK should help you get started.

I would advise getting some exposure to Technology related projects . Examples would be DESKTOP REFRESH ....for example , a project that may involve changing over 100 computers in your company from Windows 7 to Windows 10. not only does that involve changing the hardware, it also involves changing the Operating System and evaluating what legacy systems are tied down to a particular version of Operating System/ Internet Explorer/Java version .

Other examples are upgrade of Microsoft Exchange or Active Directory in your organization or the introduction of a New Software Tool/Service to solve a business problem like an ERP or a CRM solution

Yes, although many organizations exactly do not follow what has been standardized by PMI. But as a project manager, you would implement the knowledge you gained from PMP Certification in many ways in your project. I have seen many organizations, the budgeting process does not involve the Project managers. However as a project manager when you get into the project initially you need to take controls and raise the red flag, if you foresee any issues. Just in case if you wanted to refer to my blog for more PMP related articles.

It is always better to be prepared since you are going to provide the budgets/costs for the capital projects and then be responsible for running the projects by yourselves as you are the PM. But every company has their own tools for budgets/cost estimates based on the tools their requirements.
For a start you can start refreshing your knowledge of the following PM areas, since you are already a PMP certified. You will come across these terms quite frequently in your estimates.

1. Types of project(Fixed Price, T&M, Cost Plus etc)
2. Project Margin % and the calculations(If you executing the project as a vendor)
3. Contingency in case of FP projects, how to calculate it
4. Vendor cost management if you have any vendor providing service in the project
5. Factor affecting project cost escalation(Inflation,vendor cost escalation, software versions becoming obsolete in the mid of the project and cost of upgrading it)
6. Estimating for expenses(Travel, lodging, per diem, other expenses)
7. How to design payment milestones so as to minimize risk exposure and sustain cash flow
I have only listed few of the important points and there are many more

I am worked as a practicing project manager for few years and also have very good experience in presales/sales/estimation of software projects for few years. If you have any further queries and can share more information, I am happy to help

Hello fellow Melbournian. It isn't crucial to have project budget experience but it definitely helps. If you have experts in the tasks you are estimating, then a lot of the budgeting will be estimated by them. Also take a look at previous projects in the company you are now doing projects for, as they should have examples of previous budgets, which will also help you in estimating. Lastly, if you have little experience in budgeting for projects, and I assume you can build a project management team, make sure one of them is good with budgeting and/or financial reports. That should cover most of your bases.

The only thing that makes software/IT projects quit different is the "software intangibility ". It is not easy to measure the progress. On the other side, no matter the environment where you will start to work you need to perform elicitaion activities by understanding the domain and the environment where the organization will perform its activities. We use the Zachman framework file one as a checklist of things we need to elicit.

Like Deepesh suggested, you might find it easier to transition first into technology infrastructure: workstations, servers, data centers, ...

Because even technoloyg infrastructure has a software component (i.e., operating system), it will give you a chance to work your way into software implementation projects and, ultimately, software development projects.

Be prepared to learn enough of the technologies to understand the product constraints on the projects.

Thanks all for your encouraging words and tips to venture into IT Project Management!
I am not sure how soon will archive this discussion taking a screenshot of your advice for future reference :) Thanks again guys!

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