Software upgrade rollouts. Database and server migrations. Security protocol change implementation. Hardware replacements and upgrades.

At any given time, your IT team is facing a list of projects that need to be completed. (Even more so at smaller companies where the “IT team” is one or two people trying to play catch-up when they’re not wearing one of their other hats.) At times, projects even seem to get added to your to-do list faster than you can cross them off.

Such is the nature of virtually any modern business. Staying current on security, delivering your customers the type of experience they demand, and equipping your employees with the tools they need to succeed requires you to be every bit as proactive about technological upgrades and process improvements as you are about system maintenance and monitoring.

The days when a calendar on your wall and sticky notes on your desk were adequate tools for managing the types of projects your company demands are in the past. Today, if you are going to have any chance of staying ahead of the curve on IT projects (and hopefully, maintain your sanity), you will need to be much more deliberate about your approach, understand how to work on multiple projects simultaneously, understand the proper sequencing for projects, and ensure that you are able to complete these projects in ways that minimize interruptions to your company’s work and your customers’ experience.

There are a myriad of tools designed to help you manage technical projects. There are, of course, classic tools like Microsoft Project, which remains the solution of choice for many companies and is a reasonable standard against which to measure any other potential solution. Other companies have signed large contracts with rapidly-expanding firms offering cloud-based project management platforms to simplify collaborative management and leverage shared data. Other companies embrace open source project management systems and platforms (whether installed locally or in the cloud) to access robust functionality without making a commitment to a single vendor.

No matter what route your company decides to go, it is imperative that you approach technical projects with the degree of intentionality that these solutions are designed to support. Successful project management is dependent on defining a clear scope of work, assigning the necessary resources, carefully and accurately documenting the work that needs to be done and the work that has been done, and following through.

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