Monday, February 21, 2005

How many project managers does it take to change a light bulb

Spent the day in a project mangement workshop with the aim of refining and improving our PM methodologies.

I've never been in a room with so many project mangers before - Admittedly I was the only one with a software development background - the rest of the guys are all your more standard IT deployment/change mangement folk.

Some idle thoughts:

Maybe this PM stuff is one great big marketing beanie that you pull over the head of prospective customers and yell "Look How Professional I am!"

Project Managers by their very nature tend to be control freaks. Just a few weeks ago I was making a joke about old school managment, where you make a plan and nobody believes it except for you, and then everybody lies to you so you can tick boxes on a schedule that became irrelevant as soon as you wrote it. I think most waterfall development methodologies suffer from this problem. But, the agile methodologies suffer from a fuzzy level of schedule that means you can't plan very far ahead. Surely there's got to be some common ground?

There are huge amounts of money spent on this stuff, which often doesn't result in success. Most big IT companies have a brain-mooshingly enormous project methodology that sits in a huge box gathering dust in every project office. And it's main purpose is to fill in tender responses with bogglingly complex graphics. I know that when I worked for the Australian Government, we had a big box of methodology that I used to keep my coffee machine on.

It was very useful for holding coffee machines...

I guess the point is that if you've developed a methodology that has a heavily beaucratic undertone,to the point of giving stakeholders the shits, you're not going to get much in terms of performance and risk management, which is the whole point of said methodology.

Unless it's the beanie thing.

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