A friend of mine currently finds herself in an interesting position at her company. She works for a VP who spends most of her time in fund-raising. They are in the process of launching new web sites to be affiliated with their organization and the sponsors who have donated money.
My friend kindly describes her boss as "strategic." I, on the other hand, not being quite so kind, would classify her as "stratospheric." This is because she is so far on the upper end of strategic thinking, that she can't even articulate any of it to the people who have to make things actually happen. That, alas, is my friend's job.
My friend is finding herself as the translator between "Ms. Picasso" and the other business units. She has to explain to developers what her boss wants the sites to "feel" like, while making sure that the functionality they'll need is there. She has to ensure that the developers and the marketing department know what kind of reports they'll need to measure the effectiveness of the sites, since Ms. Picasso doesn't even know they need to measure anything (details depress her).
I told my friend that what she's doing currently has been touted as the wave of the future for people in IT. They used to call it IT/Business alignment but now they're calling it IT Pros who "get" the business. As frustrating as it can be right now, she's actually well-positioned.
My concern, and I think hers as well, is whether her efforts will be recognized, since she is not formally called a project manager. Has anyone else had an experience like this?
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.