Integrate Your IT Project Management - Photo by Karen Mardahl

Managing your IT projects spans finance, governance, and delivery with many isolated systems. How can you integrate agile project management and continuous integration into your IT project management?

Dinesh Sheshadri is the founder of Cloudbyz, a Salesforce.com AppExchange partner. They’ve built integrated application for IT Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Application Portfolio Management (APM). Here’s how he sees the cloud combining tools and views:

We’d expect technology groups to have the best internal tools. Where are the gaps and how do you fill them?

Technology groups often use multiple isolated tools and static documents to track their project portfolios. These are difficult to integrate and time-consuming to maintain with current data.

This creates a gap for business reviews across the planning, delivery, and operations phases of projects. Information isn’t in the right format and accurate to make right decisions at the right time. For instance, a CIO might ask “How much did choosing a cloud platform reduce delivery time and operations costs?” That’s difficult to answer without integrated information.

The solution is to manage the complete project process in a single tool like Cloudbyz ITPM. Financial benefits and risks can be consistently captured. Requirements, test scripts, and change orders become tightly coupled. Robust reporting compares project methodologies and technology choices, quantifying the strategic business value of IT.

We strive for quick agile deployments, but businesses have regulatory gates and governance milestones. What are you best practices for balancing delivery and discipline?

Customizable but consistent approval processes balance delivery and governance discipline. For example, a change order on one project will generate requirements to determine cost and schedule impacts to multiple integrated applications. Those other applications vary in lifecycle phase, technology, and project management process.

Managing those approvals in a single system provides a consistent global view of the process. Customization adapts them to individual project needs. For example, a mobile app change order impacts a sensitive data service.  That data service project triggers a detailed waterfall process including security review and regulatory approvals. Those costs are then consistently calculated into the original change order.

This also builds an inventory of applications and application integration points, requirements, and technologies. As future projects are planned, IT can weigh the performance of the current technology landscape against emerging business needs.

Monitoring and maintaining evolving applications in production is key to the DevOps movement. Where does portfolio management intersect with continuous integration?

Portfolio management tracks all aspects of an application throughout its lifecycle. During delivery, it tracks business processes, requirements, change requests, test scripts, execution, and results. During operations, it tracks application stability and technology updates.

Holistic trending of hours, defects, and costs in real-time allows continuous integration of the portfolio management process itself. With increased visibility, teams understand the cost and schedule benefits of process improvements immediately.

What’s your big picture vision for the future of fast-moving IT departments?

IT departments need to be more responsive with tools that increase agility and velocity. Global departments serve a variety of business buyers, so those tools also need consistent collaboration and communication. Integrating portfolio management through the project lifecycle and application lifecycle aligns technology to business strategy, making IT a more valuable and efficient partner.

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