Quality of Project Management in IT industry

Project Management – What does this term mean to you? What comes to your mind when you hear this? Is it really such a big deal? Do you need specialists to tackle this art? Let me try to answer these questions by borrowing from my work experience.

From what I have seen in the IT industry (the chaos that I work in), people have limited ideas when they start their stint as a Project Manager. They more often than not, grapple with the enormous tasks on hand, not knowing where to start – one thing leads to the other and finally the customer, project teams suffer. It really helps if you have a Senior Project Manager as a Mentor, who can guide the newcomer on every step where he/she has doubts.

In reality, what happens is that the absence of a defined technical career path handicaps a really good technical associate. By handing him a promotion, not only does the Management ensure that he loses his technical capabilities completely, it also puts the burden of Project Management on the technical guy. In my viewpoint, one has to be mentored on the lines of Management in 1-2 projects (typically a development project) as an Assistant PM before giving him the mantle of Project Manager.

PMI is another misconception that is present – I can say this is definitely the case in IT organizations in India. Managers think that once they are certified as PMP, everything falls in place and all projects will be success. So much hopes do people have. But, what is the actual performance of certified PMP’s on development projects? In fact, my Boss is not convinced at all, about the effectiveness of the training/certification. Is it the fault of PMI? Obviously no. It is the mindset that has to be changed. The PMBOK gives you the various areas one has to work on, information on the different concepts. It is upto the Project Manager to choose how and why he should use the knowledge learnt in a way that is effective in the projects that he manages. Remember, each project is a different ball-game – what works for one need not necessarily work for the others.

Is it a big deal? The answer is ‘Depends’. To a seasoned Project Manager, it would mean more of  Common Sense. To a novice, it is an enormous task. You definitely need good Project Managers to run the show. Of course, it does not mean that it is the end of the World. Projects do become successful by the help of other Seniors in the team and some good team-work. But, the chances of a successful project is more if the PM is competent.

Of course, most of the tasks that guarantee the success of a project are ‘common sense’ ones. The sad case today is that common sense is commonly not followed during software project execution. That is probably the single reason why Many projects fail.

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