5 Obstacles IT Project Managers Are Facing Every Day by Jen McKenzie T T T T Get Our Tips Straight to your inbox March 17, 2020September 4, 2021 IT departments that develop, support, and maintain the information systems that make a modern business operate face several common challenges every day. Their managers are faced with an ever-evolving cyber security landscape and stubborn technology skill gaps, and they often need to guide their organizations through digital transformations. Tight technology budgets force them to grapple with outdated hardware and outsourcing strategies. Achieving goals set by the management while trying to juggle a number of other issues within the IT department is no easy task for any project manager. Improve remote collaboration with Orangescrum Try it free In this article, we’ll cover the five most common daily challenges that IT project Managers face and offer tips on how to handle them. 1. Finding and Retaining Talent The IT skills gap is an ongoing problem for many businesses for several reasons. Generational turnover is causing organizations to review their workplace cultures in order to attract younger IT professionals. The need to stay competitive in terms of compensation and coaching techniques can also form barriers to talent retention. Technology trends often leave the entire skill set unused or obsolete causing major IT skill gaps that can’t be filled that easily. When organizations move from internal software development to cloud services, for example, it can leave the IT department with a major mismatch between its existing and needed skill base. The best strategies for tackling these problems can vary from company to company. Skills gaps sometimes are better addressed by training programs and promotion from within than by hiring outside talent. Businesses can also create a more creative IT workforce by hiring new talent that comes from different generational, economic, and educational backgrounds. 2. Keeping Information Systems Secure The cyber-threat environment continues to evolve and become more dangerous. Businesses and organizations that previously weren’t targeted by cyber-crime have become targets, and the destructiveness of new threats like ransomware can’t be understated. AI-powered cyber-threats are no longer safely over the horizon, either. Another new source of security and data privacy problems today is the adoption of cloud applications when businesses outsource software and hardware. The economic benefit of these services is clear, but the security risks they introduce can be a headache for IT departments accustomed to handling security internally. The best security practices learned over the past 15 years continue to be a good template to follow. Most security breaches happen because of human error or momentary lapses in mindfulness. Cyber-threats can be effectively contained by a robust network perimeter coupled with physical security and employee training. 3. Managing Digital Transformations Many businesses are attempting to transform themselves with the latest technologies like artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and automation. Some organizations were behind the curve when they started these efforts, which place challenging deadlines and expectations on their IT departments. In other organizations, IT project managers can find themselves attempting to persuade top management that digital transformation is needed. Advocating for appropriate IT expenditures has always been a challenge because of the knowledge gap that exists between technical and non-technical leadership. Forward-looking companies will dive into digital transformations with high expectations, while traditional brick-and-mortar operations may drag their feet. The best way to manage these issues is to make IT leaders an integral part of the company’s executive decision-making process. 4. Getting the Most from Outdated Equipment Overhead budgets can leave IT departments with outdated equipment when upgrades are delayed to get more value from previous equipment purchases. When hardware and software upgrades are pushed off for too long, the result can lead to performance and compatibility problems. Business systems that need to scale up can hit a technical ceiling in these situations. IT departments are in a good position to squeeze the most capacity and performance from their technology equipment than any other business unit. Storage space can be maximized, and operating system tweaks can get the most performance from workstations possible. Performance gains can also be realized by low-cost hardware upgrades like additional storage or memory expansions. 5. Overcoming Outsourcing Risks Outsourcing is a solution for IT skill gaps that are too large to overcome, or which can’t be solved quickly enough. When companies outsource their IT department’s responsibilities, it creates risks ranging from the quality of the outsourced work to the security hazards that are created. Coordinating work for a project done by both internal and outsourced teams can also be more difficult than a purely internal process. Deadlines and features can be missed simply due to communication problems. It’s important for outsourcing plans to be well thought out to avoid these problems. Security risks introduced by outsourcing should be studied closely and mitigated before proceeding. Increase 3X Productivity with Orangescrum Centralized project, task and resource management for growing teams Get Started Free Please enter your email. Dedicated communication and collaboration channels should be established with external teams to ensure that their work remains aligned with company expectations and goals. Final Thoughts The perennial struggle inside IT departments to develop new business systems, maintain existing ones, and keep the business safe from cyber-threats has always hinged on good risk management strategies. It is often the project managers that find themselves between a rock and a hard place, juggling the responsibility toward the team as well as the company management. Skill gaps can be difficult to manage without executive management buy-in, but training and outsourcing are both viable solutions. Steering an organization through a digital transformation is another challenge that many IT departments face today, which requires good organizational and technical skills. The good news is that IT departments naturally bring to the table the skills and experience critical to overcoming many of these challenges. IT departments that have a good rapport with executive management can secure the support they need to navigate these pitfalls and drive future success.