With all the swats upside it you've been getting, your head must be getting sore.
Normally, I agree with you Chip or at most point out minor discrepancies or razz you about a minor point. But on this one I have to admit that you deserve a big swat upside the head. Or several dozen.
What in heaven's name were you thinking?
This person has stated that they are a BA and a Project Manager at this point. Obviously, the skills set they have is what is required to do the job -- they wouldn't be working otherwise. All that is being questioned is if they could make it as a consultant/contractor. The answer is an obvious yes ... qualified but nevertheless obvious. (Qualified because there are so many ways to destroy a consultancy).
What you (and others) are expressing is a typical technician's prejudice -- "if you aren't knowledgeable about my job then you obviously can't do yours". It's the same prejudice that asks for 5 years hands-on programming skills in a software that is only 2 years old from a VP. Not gonna happen, folks. Wrong person, wrong job, wrong skill.
A PM has and needs a set of skills that have nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with programming. A BA has and needs a set of skills that have little -- very, very little -- to do with programming. A programmer has skills that have very little to do with either PMs or BAs -- let me rephrase that, in 30 years of IS/IT I have never used my programming skills as a PM.
If you are building a large building you need an architect, an engineer, a contractor and tradespeople. Each fulfills a seperate role and each brings a different set of skills to the table. I would no more expect an architect to be able to run wire legally than I would expect a plumber to be able to design the building.
IT is no different. Each of the three (PM, BA, PA) has a role to play and each is needed. But they don't have to be the same person or type of person. In fact, I would be prepared to argue that they can't be ... the skills and thought processes need to be too radically different for one person to make the necessary leaps at the same time. A Programmer is a doer, a BA is a theorist and a PM is a manager -- and never the three shall meet.
I have been a successful PM in multiple industries including IS, IT, Marketing, Construction, and Organizational Development/Startups and whatever SME is required the required project management skillset has been the same. I've been a BA in multiple industries and no matter what the programming language, the skills required were the same. I've also been a programmer ... and I have never, ever used my programming skills for project management.
I have worked for good PMs and bad PMs. I've worked for good BAs and very bad BAs. And every time I've worked with a bad one it has been a case of a programmer (or operator or accountant) being dumped in the job and not realizing that their skills weren't appropriate to the new job.
As for the constraints and timelines ... got news for you Leod1961 .... there's a reason that the PM asks for estimates from the programmer and then doubles or triples it. What you think is a constraint is just part of YOUR job for me. Project constraints are far more dangerous to the success of the project. To put it into your point of view, the PM is worried about constraints that affect you having a job not whether a report can fit in 132 columns or has to be split up.
(BTW ... there are a large number of BA/PMs who have very successful consultancies often as true consultants rather than as contractors. Programmers as true consultants are few and far between.)
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