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December 14, 2016

IT Project Managers Use Big Data to Meet Deadlines

Today’s successful businesses are fully informed. They are aware of their target market and how customers interact with their products and services. As data analytics has become more readily available, brands have discovered the power of information. Armed with the right data, brands can create strategies that are guaranteed to get results.

The use of big data has spread to project managers, who face increasing pressure to meet deadlines while still staying on budget. With access to the right information, project managers can improve their results, giving them a positive track record that can lead to career growth. This guide will help you use big data in your own projects based on the way IT project managers are already using them.

The Tools

Information technology professionals often have access to tools that aren’t necessarily available in other business areas. Leaders often rely on IT to set up and deploy the data analytics systems they use every day. It then becomes much easier to apply those systems to the projects they manage within their own teams.

You don’t have to employ a full team of pricey data analysts to get the information you need. Software is already available that can help automate the process of collecting and extracting data. Analytics are built into many of the software solutions businesses use everyday, including Microsoft Project, so it’s important to activate these services where they’re available. Here are a few dedicated data analytics solutions you can use:

  • Talend—This free, open-source solution is ideal for users who need advanced data analytics capabilities.
  • Tableau Public—The ease of the drag-and-drop feature of this data visualization tool makes it popular with a range of companies.
  • RapidMiner—Another data analytics tool, this open-source program allows users to extract data without any coding.
  •—Once you have the data you need, can help you compile it into a visually-appealing report.

The Project Manager Role

Successful project management often relies heavily on the project manager. If you’re outsourcing the duty, it’s important to look for a third-party provider who includes data analytics in their skillset. A project manager who is up-to-date with the latest developments in the field will realize the value of gathering as much information as possible before submitting a project proposal and setting deadlines. Additionally, when a data-driven project manager provides project timelines and progress reports, the information will be backed with data science, rather than relying on theories and estimates.

If you’re choosing an employee for your staff, you should look for experience applying data to the project management process. In addition to looking for a PMP Certification, you should also search for someone who has experience gathering, reviewing, and analyzing data. Data-driven project managers will naturally include detailed data in descriptions on their resumes. If you don’t see this information, ask project manager candidates how they monitor the results of their projects in order to accurately report them to their leaders.

Putting Data to Use

Once your project managers are in place, it’s important to know how to use the data they offer. Your project managers should be able to provide reports detailing the resources they’re using, where team members’ time is being spent, and the percentage completed for each phase of the project. For businesses, this information can be useful in identifying where resources are being wasted or team members aren’t pulling their weight.

On a long-term basis, it’s important that your project manager provide data that you can put to use in planning future projects. If you can learn from the successes and failures of your current project, you’ll likely find that you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. You can also play toward your strengths, repeating the methods that worked. If you work with the same team for all of your projects, you should study the data and discuss how you’ll change your approach before starting something new. If you transition to a new team or third-party provider, you’ll have valuable information they can use to make your next project a success.

IT project managers look for analytics to support the work they do each day. This extends to projects, which often rely heavily on multiple deadline-driven milestones spread throughout a project’s timeline. By looking for a project manager that understands the importance of data science, your business can improve the success rate of its projects.

Edited by Alicia Young

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