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Systems Administrator to Project Manager

By minhajlk ·
Hi,

I have been a techie for the last 15 years, I've taken up a job as a Project Manager for a global software company. I would like your advice on do's and don'ts of this position, also what to study and books to refer.

Thanks

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Can I ask a couple of questions?

by NOW LEFT TR In reply to Systems Administrator to ...

Did you not think about this before taking the job?

How did you get the job with no experience?

I would think the information you need would not be found on TR.

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Questions

by minhajlk In reply to Can I ask a couple of que ...

Answering questions with more questions doesn't help, however I will answer your questions.

1. Yes I did weight the pros and cons.
2. I have experience managing people and projects, but not software project management.
3. And for your 3rd question read Thosny's reply. I've been a TR memeber since 2000 and I've always got my answers at TR.

When somebody is seeking help, help them if can, don't discourage them. PLEASE.

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Dozies and Dontzies

by Thosny In reply to Systems Administrator to ...

First of all - congratulations and welcome to the world of project management. My inclusion into this fascinating field was also from the "techie" world. Since most projects incur a relative amount of technical knowledge, your experience will come in handy when estimating work for particular tasks that are within your field of expertise. But what's next? What does it take to turn a techie to a polished PM? Resolve for one, but this in itself is not enough. There is MUCH more...

People skills are paramount. If you are an individual who can inspire his team to heights previously unimagineable, then your qualified.

The first question I ask is what type of methodology are they prepared to utilize? Do they have a preference? Is this a COBIT solution, SDLC (waterfall, iterative, etc), RUP development, etc etc etc? There are so many choices out there and not every one is the best solution for your project... or organization. From this we can build out a plan of how the development will be fashioned and in what phases the project will be built.

But I know what your looking for. As a PM, we have specific "deliverables" we are expected to provide to the client. It's not just a matter of figuring out what the end product will be and say "OK, see you in 6 months!". No - we need to provide validated and quantitative data showing progress is being made (or not being made!). You need to gain an understanding of these deliverables (from yourself and the entire project). If you can join an organization such as PMI, that can lead you in the right direction. In the meantime, let me bueetize some major components of a project from a PM deliverable perspective.

Proposal, Charter, Statement of Work & Scope - these documents formulate the basic outline for the project and provide some required articles (data).

These documents don't have to be fancy schmancy, but they should be detailed enough to defer questions.

You need to have a project plan (which is a living breathing document which should be phased and iterative in design).

Status reports and the like will need to be created and agreed to. No sense walking into a status meeting if your not delivering the information the client wishes to see; so have a firm understanding of what they want to know. You need to track and manage resources. Publish a Individual Status Report (ISR) that all resources will need to complete on a weekly basis (unless there is an inhouse tool used for doing.)

You need to provide a communication plan that details the artifacts that sponsors, stakeholders, 3rd party resources, team leads, team members and others expect to see on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc).

You need to identify the risks that are associated with a project. Items that can change scope, time and cost are items to make note of. Mitigate the risks (what will you or your team do if the risk becomes a reality).

Create an issue log and action item log. Risks, Issues and Action Items are tracked separately, but in some cases - tied together. Risks may have intrinsic issues that have action items assigned. Most issues have action items but may not be tied to a risk. Some AI's have no issue or risk associated with them. You need to determine a process to track them successfully. These should be reviewed during your meetings.

Know your client and understand the matrix of the organization. Know who the players are and what their function is in relation to the project. Have a firm grasp on the tasks, milestones and deliverables. DEFINE YOUR DELIVERABLES!

Know the difference between a Deliverable and a Milestone. A deliverable can be a document, a version of code that is presented for testing; while a milestone is a moment of success that defines completion of a step or multiple steps (testing complete for Version 1, Phase 1 complete - All of Phase one deliverables completed, etc). It's somestimes hard to tell the difference, but with time it comes easier.

Build out a repository for project artifacts. Items such as meeting minutes, action items, issues logs, project plans, charters, proposals, SOW's, use cases, etc are all stored there. Normally, code is not. That is saved within your SafeStore or some other mechanism.

Templates - figure out if the organization utilizes templates for these types of articles. If not, you'll be creating them.

There is so much more, but I found providing fledgling PMer's templates and a graph to show how these artifacts interact is the best tool to get them started. Check out PMI and get some Project Management books from the bookstore.

Let me know if I can help in this regard.

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Thanks a million

by minhajlk In reply to Dozies and Dontzies

Hi Thosny,

First of all let me thank you for your invaluable advice, I really appreciate it very much.

We use RUP, XP and RAD depending on the projects. We have developed our own templates to monitor projects, which almost covers the entire life cycle of the project.

Right now I am going through PM training process and I will check out the PMI, but I will start with a PM Book for now.

Thanks again.

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