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PM Essence

What does Cloud Computing mean to Project Managers

By Deepak Vijayaragavan, PMP
As the new buzz in the industry, Cloud Computing is envisioned to revolutionize the way Information Technology will be procured, implemented and managed. How will this impact how we do business? How can a Project Manager prepare for the upcoming big way? Why is managing a cloud computing project any different? What should be the focus when managing a cloud computing project?

The answer to the above questions is discussed in the paper in two parts:

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Firstly, the types of IT projects that businesses will work on are changing. A move to the Cloud requires businesses to rethink how they do business.

  1. More focus will be spent on requirements and how these decentralized applications can meet the business needs of an organization. This will require business process reengineering.
  2. Additional time will be spent by the project manager in building relationships with vendors such as Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce.com, Google and IBM.


Secondly, project management will become more decentralized. The amount of information available, and the speed at which users gain access to it, is increasing.

'Reforming' Project Management is the key for India to become a global leader in delivering variety of cloud computing projects...Let's prepare ourselves!!

Emerging technologies like cloud computing have been increasing the the uncertainty and complexity in delivering different type of projects. Many unknowns are causing the failure of Project Managers to deliver faster, better, cheaper and steadier services.

Cloud computing has immediate appeal to the business community in that, when compared to the traditional on-premises enterprise IT systems, it has the potential to:

Lower IT operational cost
Deliver much faster IT project implementation times
Simplify some of the complexities associated with enterprise IT systems,
Foster innovation through viral projects, and
Release working capital by moving IT system's costs from capital to operational expenditure.
We are seeing a paradigm shift: The conventional enterprise system implementation methodology is as below:
Define requirements > specify > build/ buy > implement > maintain.
Key Challenges
Project Management is taking a paradigm shift with the evolution of Cloud based applications. With the advent of Cloud Computing, there is an added need and urgency for a formalized project management methodology across organizations. The successful delivery of Cloud projects depend on the Project Managers, empowered with project management frameworks and proven methodologies combined with experience. Project Management acts as catalyst in building the robust service delivery engine to deliver faster and cheaper.
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Some of the cloud computing project categories include:
IT strategy and architecture projects – E.g., Re-architecting existing architecture into cloud base solution, Cloud transition projects etc. Organizational capability Improvement project – Develop Cloud Pricing Models and Cloud Contract and Revenue Models, Develop DRP/BCP etc.

Development, Integration and Migration Projects – SaaS application development (PaaS), On Premise to Cloud migration, Migrate applications to private cloud etc.

Testing and Validation Projects - E.g. Testing and validation of Cloud Integrations/Migrations, SaaS application development (PaaS), Performance Testing on Cloud Infrastructure projects – E.g. Data migration from on premise data centers to cloud data centers, Remote Management of servers, virtualized access to servers, databases.

Product Development Projects – E.g. PaaS, Integration Projects, Develop Enterprise Applications, Mobile Applications.

Meeting the Challenges
Cloud projects are different than traditional projects in many ways. There are many specific skills that a project manager had to acquire to deliver cloud projects successfully.
  1. New Cloud Skills for project managers/Team
  2. New tailored project life cycles and methodologies
  3. Country law and regulatory compliance practices
  4. Security standards
  5. Cloud provider agreements, SLAs and Penalties
  6. Cloud Based Architecture technical skills like Hadoop, GridGain, Multicasting etc
  7. Encourage Team Collaboration using WIKIs and other collaborative tools
  8. Optimization of infrastructure
  9. Information sharing between delivery team members, customer team members
  10. and Executive management
  11. Use of Rapid dashboard info on portfolio of projects
  12. Testing on cloud and challenges