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How much of your job involves project management?

By jasonhiner Moderator ·
IT professionals typically get handed a lot of projects, but is project management a formal part of your job? How much is your overall performance tied to the success of your projects? What are some of the biggest challenges you face in managing and executing projects?

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Operational versus Project

by JamesRL In reply to How much of your job invo ...

Typically the IT organizations I have been involved with have had two sides of the house - the operational groups, and the project groups.

The development side of an organization has people who do projects(new software or major enhancements) and some who do maintenance (fixes, patches, adjustments for new legislation etc). Sometimes the lines get blurry. But maintenance work doesn't fit the classical project definition of being unique and one time. In software most of the time projects are a larger part of the groups activity than maintenance.

Same can be said for the operational side of the house - Data centres, help desks, networking groups etc. They spend more time on day to day activities than projects, and some of their "projects" aren't one time or unique. For example rolling out a new version of an existing production software may seem like a project, but it really is an ongoing activity that should be approached with a similar amount of planning to a project. Changing the architecture, adopting a new platform, putting in new services, those are projects that operational teams lead. Adding new servers to address capacity issues, keeping software current, those are ongoing activities.

Project management has been a formal part of my job for 12 years now.

The biggest challenge is usually around stakeholder engagement. Many internal customer groups think they can just get the ball rolling and watch it run. In truth they need to be involved at every major phase transition to ensure that their original goals and objectives are still being met.

For complexity, Y2K was my largest project. I went to work for a billion dollar company as the Y2K project manager. It was challenging to get to know the company and its internal politics while ensuring the work was getting done. It was only with very strong executive backing that I was able to succeed. Then of course, non-techies thought we were making it all up.

James

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Conflict of intrest

by Nath-UK In reply to How much of your job invo ...

My job title is Senior Analyst, and there is no explicit reference to Project Management in my job description. I do however spend around 40% of my working time managing projects and I am PRINCE2 Practitioner qualified. The rest of my time is split between consultancy and technical delivery on projects. Quite often I am the project manager and technical body on projects. On larger projects I may have additional technical resource to help deliver the project. Although invariably I play a technical role in these larger projects also. I believe that project management is only truly effective when the project manager is not delivering the technical deliverables of a project. When the PM also has a technical role there is a conflict of intrests and a loss of PM objectivity. This is definately detrimental to project delivery and has caused projects to fail. On the odd occassion where my only role in a project is project manager, the projects run a lot smoother and do not fail.

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