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One of the most essential IT project management fundamentals is measuring success. With cloud-based IT projects, this is especially complex and important.

When you’re operating in the cloud, it can be easy to overspend, scale too fast or too slow, lose visibility, or make a range of other errors. It is crucial to see whether an IT cloud project has succeeded or failed. This visibility enables enterprises and project management firms to determine what they did right, where they went wrong, and what lessons they can derive for next time.

How can companies make sure they’re keeping IT project management fundamentals in line by defining, and then achieving, success?

What is an IT Project?

An IT project is any business undertaking that involves the investment, implementation, and improvement in relation to IT infrastructure, cloud computing, on-premise services, information systems, and more. It represents a large swath of work that can include many areas of IT such as web development, software development, database management, and network configuration to mention a few.

IT project managers must learn that IT projects can affect multiple departments and verticals. This is also true with cloud-based projects. IT cloud projects span across different departments and teams. Many of these may not interact often.

As soon as a large enterprise starts an IT project that involves the cloud, many departments need to be looped in: security, compliance, sales, and more. Separate units need to come together to achieve holistic IT goals. Thus, a successful IT project can drive overall growth; a failed one can be detrimental to the entire organization.

Why Measure IT Project Success?

IT investments, particularly in cloud computing, have scaled up significantly, with spending set to reach nearly $4 trillion by the end of 2021. With so much money and resources dedicated to IT cloud projects, it is crucial to understand ROI. This is why one of the major IT project management fundamentals is measuring project success.

Also, as data gathering and analysis becomes more commonplace, measuring cloud IT project success provides all parties involved with a bigger and clearer picture as to what is working in the business, what is off-target, what can be improved, and so on.

By taking the learnings from previous successes and failures and integrating them into future projects, you and your team are able to cut down on mistakes, make more accurate project budget allocations, effectively manage your expenses, achieve your project goals, and deliver the desired results. The whole organization becomes savvier users of the cloud, in a variety of important ways.

5 Ways to Measure IT Project Success

Since the success of your IT project is key to IT project management fundamentals, it’s important to understand how to measure success. In evaluating IT cloud project success, these IT project management metrics are key:

1. Schedule: Every IT project has a schedule or time frame. The goal for project managers and teams is to deliver and hand over projects within that time frame, and prove that they can accurately estimate how long it will take to complete a given project.

2. Productivity: This particular metric indicates the importance of resource management in IT projects. Project managers have to evaluate their teams’ overall utilization of assets. Did the teams maximize their resources? Were they efficient during the duration of the project? Was the total effort in line with the budgeted effort? Positive responses to these questions mean a positive impact on the bottom line. Failure to maximize resources results in huge financial losses. Every year, companies bleed $8.8 billion because of idle and underutilized compute resources.

3. Budget: Many executives would rate budget and cost management among their highest priorities on a project, so evaluating how the project is performing financially is crucial. To put it simply, did you manage to keep project expenses within budget or did you overshoot? Budget is a tricky area for many businesses. Our 2021 Big Data Cloud Technology report uncovered that, for 40% of enterprises, cloud spend was expected to be over budget by 40% or more.

4. Quality and Satisfaction: Quality control is an IT project management metric focused on clients and their satisfaction. The level of work at every stage throughout the project should be good, resulting in high-quality deliverables that meet or even exceed standards and expectations.

5. Return on Investment (ROI): ROI is another key IT project management fundamental metric. Typically, a project’s ultimate goal is to contribute to the organization by increasing profits. Managers use ROI to determine whether a project will yield a positive payback and have value for the business based on the project’s financial gain or loss, versus the total project cost.

The Importance of Creating and Agreeing on IT Project Management Metrics

Each project typically has different objectives. IT project management metrics that work well for one business, or one business unit, might not work for another. For that reason, it’s important to tailor metrics and reporting to your business’s unique needs.

Are you now able to run Spark jobs faster? Or more Spark jobs in a specific amount of time? Is downtime below a certain threshold?

These might be the right questions for you, or totally different metrics might be appropriate. It is far easier to quantify and measure project success if IT project management metrics are carefully tailored to the unique needs of your enterprise.

Effective Cloud-Based IT Project Management Promises Success

IT cloud projects have proliferated since the advent of cloud computing. Spurred by promises of improved business efficiencies, better data security, and reduced operational spending, many enterprises were encouraged to migrate their processes and applications to cloud-based environments.

87% of enterprises now implement a hybrid cloud strategy, while 93% currently execute a multi-cloud approach. Surprisingly, the majority of enterprises move to the cloud to “better optimize their existing cloud assets.”

Massive IT cloud projects represent an investment of time, resources, money, and effort— all with an implied measurable ROI. Using project management systems to track and measure the success of IT cloud projects is imperative. However, leveraging exclusively on-premise tools to manage projects is counterintuitive as such an approach is becoming more obsolete and further increases the IT project’s budget and spending.

Opting for a cloud-based project management solution promises more success. Aside from the obvious cost benefit, managing projects in the cloud affords project managers and teams with flexibility and scalability they won’t find in on-premise applications. Cloud-based project management solutions enable users to scale their teams or add new features as their requirements change.

Project management teams are now decentralized and no longer bound to the office. Having a cloud-hosted application ensures they are able to access it anytime and anywhere, so they can work in sync with other members.

Closing and Handing IT Projects to Owners

Projects are time-bound endeavors. Once an IT project reaches the end of its life cycle (or fails to do so), there are only three steps to be considered: termination, extension, or transition.

Prior to the moment the ownership and responsibility of the project formally change hands (or departments), project managers must perform a project close-out. A close-out is another essential IT project management fundamental.

This final phase of project management enables project teams to revisit the project, ensure that all items are met, and glean and store as much information for future IT initiatives.

A solid project closure checklist consists of the following steps:

  1. Post Mortem
  2. Completion of all necessary paperwork
  3. Release resources
  4. Tie up loose ends
  5. Clarify and ease transitions
  6. Archive documents
  7. Sign off on completed deliverables

Stakeholders will likely make comments. Take them and learn from them. Their comments are IT project management fundamentals as these will help you deliver better projects in the future.

Each IT project requires ongoing IT support from the developers, particularly for transition, onboarding, training, bugs, fixes, and updates. IT vendors can provide free basic IT support or premium support services, depending on their contract agreement.

Learn How to Eliminate Waste and Optimize Your Cloud Instance

Once you have your IT cloud project delivered, it’s up to you and your team to ensure you get the most value out of your cloud investment. Cloud-hosted infrastructures, processes, and applications can definitely accelerate tasks, improve efficiencies, and streamline product cycles among others.

However, 80% of enterprises end up spending more than their initial cloud budgets. Why? They fail to optimize their cloud infrastructure performance and cost. IT cloud projects are designed to cut down your operational expenses, not add to them. But you need to take a deep look at your cloud IT projects and see where the issues are.

Pepperdata helps eliminate waste and optimize your cloud instance effectively, enabling you to generate handsome ROI from your cloud investment. Our big data cloud IT infrastructure monitoring and optimization platform provides you with superior visibility and observability, helping you identify the best configurations for your big data workloads, optimize resource allocation, and scale automatically while reducing your cloud spend.

Download the Pepperdata 2020 Big Data Performance Report to know how your organization can benefit from superior IT cloud visibility, observability, and big data stack optimization.