Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category

Death to Project Management!!! Long Live Project Management!!!

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Having had a role in all parts of an IT Project Management (PM) plan – from manager to peon – I feel safe in saying that most company’s PM plans are like how most people play poker:  you know the rules enough to sit at the table but at the end you sit in stunned disbelief having wasted a lot of time, wondering how you lost that much money, having no idea what you should have learned from the experience or how to prevent it from happening again in the future (other than not playing.)

There are lots of ways to think about PM and its application:

Some think it’s an art while others think it’s a science.  Some think it’s a hybrid of the two while others believe that the mixed approach is what causes all the problems to begin with…

Some project managers think everything can be cured with another paper form and another spreadsheet while others know the solution is only one more impromptu meeting away.

It’s not unusual for a company to start off with lofty goals only to have a wish list so grandiose that it collapses under its own weight while others have plans no more challenging than a grocery shopping list.

Of course, there is the team perception of the PM plan as a whole.  A few see it as an obstacle that gets in the way of getting “real work” done while some tolerate it as an annoyance that must be endured like a Human Resources “Just Say No to Harassment” video so somebody somewhere can check it off a requirements list.  Others stick to the plan with such fervor that any deviation results in open calls for a public stoning (assuming it’s been added to the plan previously, of course…)

I wish I could say that there are two extremes when it comes to participation but sadly not so – it’s usually a handful of people constantly fighting to get things done – as some co-workers don’t have the interest in success as the people tasked with making it work do (not enough time to make the project a priority, no real stake in the outcome, or just plain contrarian attitudes for opposition’s sake.)

If you have read this far, you might be one of those people who have been blessed/burdened with the job of Project Manager for an IT project.  Periodically, I will be posting “war stories” of real projects along with alternative perspectives on common thinking in the project world.  Hopefully, they will help you succeed in your role wherever you are.