April 04, 2006

IT Projects & their Management

I have carried out various roles in various capacities with contrasting skills over the last five years.

Whenever I have a discussion with a fellow colleague, junior or senior, everyone seem to be surprised at my decision of making few lateral moves and not making any make vertical move.

I was designated as a project manager and then I made a lateral move to join the SEPG team. It was a well calculated move I made and rewards were enormous subsequently. I felt like I was growing in each aspect of the IT projects.

However, it makes me to wonder on how a professional who has only looked into the technological aspects of IT projects can claim to have so much competency that he can handle a project independently. With just 4 – 5 years of experience in IT projects and without a larger perspective, we look at the project as a set tasks, loose out on the bigger picture.

Some common traits of the project managers with very little exposure to the non-technological aspects of projects, I have noticed are:-

(These are typically the project managers with 4-7 years of experience in IT)

Well, as a fellow colleague puts it, there are people with 15 years of experience who are freshers.

• If I do not understand something, it does not exist.
• If there is something I do not know, it is not required for my project.
• The metrics is always required for compliance sake and not for project.
• My project is on track as long as I am completing the tasks as required by the customer.
• The project is successful when I deliver the project on time.
• The highest quality of the software can be developed and delivered by thoroughly testing the software and I can do it without following any organizational processes.
• Extreme Programming is the best way one can deliver high quality to the customers.

And my list goes on…

With no intentions of pointing my fingers at anyone, the point is, it takes loads of experience and exposure to various other functions to make one a good IT project manager, specially in IT Service Industry. Unless the understanding of various roles is clear and the fundamentals are right, one can make a very good stormy project manager and will keep creating storms with one or the other.

I have seen younger professionals, looking after PM’s role and making life miserable for team, the support groups and the staff in general, just because of ignorance they have.

It goes a long way when you first get the exposure and then look at vertical growth. Its always a nice idea to jump start a career but it may not be wise, unless one knows the challenges ahead and meets them.

Again with no intentions of challenging any one who has grown by leaps and bounds in his career, Congratulations, its an achievement indeed!

Let me also mention, I am still looking for a project which failed due to technological reasons, if there is any, write to me about it.

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