I think it is critical for IT to have very high quality project management skills, tools and experiences. We recently completed a very complicated M&A project that was date constrained where we had to have things done by a particular date that we didn’t control. We pulled off that project smoothly and successfully because those involved where applying a disciplined project management approach and were tracking every issue to closure. It worked because we knew how to manage the project, issues were tracked, communications were crisp and great people were involved.
I’ve seen this before when a large ERP project that was fundamentally out of control. We were able to bring it back in control by putting all issues into a single tracking system and then managing everything from that list. In this case, I wouldn’t even engage in a conversation on an issue unless it was in the database and we were having the conversation there (Lotus Notes was great for this kind of thing). If someone sent me something in email, I’d send it back and say get it on the database!
Over the years, I’ve seen teams take large global projects and by applying a lot of discipline and a little bit of IT to the project we’ve been able to get things done successfully.
One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was when my former boss and the company President made the point that they thought the best PM in the company was being done by the IT team. Over time, they simply didn’t have to worry about the things we were doing.
If you don’t have these skills in your shop, you need to find and grow them. If you do have the skills, nurture them and thank them for all they do.