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Old 04-24-2019, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,596 posts, read 3,026,483 times
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Just in a very general sense, the idea tends to permeate tech and IT that they don't need no steenkin' management. A good, close team could probably achieve goals on its own. The reality, though, is that there has to be someone with full oversight who can drive any project with more than 3 people or taking more than 1 day. Otherwise, most project groups turn into a slow tug-of-war over deadlines, features, milestones etc. that make little progress in between contentious review meetings... and then group-lie to the boss about it.

At best, a project manager is of little use. But I'd bet that in most cases, a competent one halves delay and hassle, no matter how big and bruised the team egos.
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Old 04-24-2019, 01:45 PM
 
4,363 posts, read 3,237,175 times
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Most of the project managers I've worked with in the past were good. They facilitated good communication between different departments and stakeholders, clarified expectations, figured out how to resolve bottlenecks, and helped keep projects on schedule.

I found that the good ones gave the project a focus and a sense of continuity. Without them, many projects tended to languish or fall apart altogether when key people moved on to other jobs.
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:13 PM
bUU
 
Location: Georgia
11,881 posts, read 8,658,776 times
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I've been a software developer (22 years), management consultant (14 years), and project/program/product manager (5 years). I rarely meet (another) software developer who respects management/coordination/budget people, and I rarely meet (another) management-type who understands the work of software development. I don't put much stock in sniping any of the players engage in directed at any of the others categorically. It often indicates nothing more than a lack of perspective on the part of the complainer.
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:28 PM
 
1,369 posts, read 1,112,960 times
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As a PM, I feel the value I provide to my team is good. Without me they'd be fumbling thru projects to meet some pie in the sky timeline that would go on forever. Most of what I do is communicate, remove impediments and bring much needed structure/continuity to the projects. I engage with teams to set the expectations/goals. But, by in large they are in control of how they want to get the job done. I think the value I provide is the strategic-thinking part. It helps keep us aligned and focused on our goals. I'm hands on, but not overly so because I trust my teams' expertise and loyalty to the product. Besides, I have zero interest in granular details. Just give me enough so I know what's happening. Additionally, I protect them a lot from anyone trying to overload work on them or bringing in non-value added changes etc. that increase the risk that the project will go over board. I love my job!

Unfortunately, the organization I work for hasn't fully embraced project management as a whole yet. So, there's a lot of resistance esp from those who want to keep doing things like they've always been done for decades. Also they lack perspective about projects overall. I'm here because the incoming executives saw value in having a new pmo, and I was the first pm hired on. Obviously, the rest of the org doesn't share that vision because the resistance overall has been quite a struggle some days. The pmo was sprung on them and they had no input on the justification for forming one. Then all of a sudden I get hired, 6 -figure salary and they're all looking at me like I have 3 heads. So, I don't take it personally. However, most days I feel very undervalued and have decided to leave the org in a few months.

So be nice to your pm's. They are dealing with stuff too. Communicate with them. Help us help you. That's our mission.

Last edited by lovely40; 04-24-2019 at 02:43 PM..
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:21 PM
 
12,284 posts, read 18,405,549 times
Reputation: 19122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I work in IT, and I'm on several large, concurrent projects where we have PMs.

Each one of them, down to a person, acts like they're the boss of the analysts and engineers actually doing the work. I received a request from one of them this morning to create user accounts. My team doesn't handle that, and I was never informed of what type of accounts they needed. I get a nastygram back that "I'll take this to someone else if I need to," CCing other employees on my team who are no longer on the project. After all that, the vendor PM still didn't provide all the information required to create the accounts.

I was placed on a new project last week with a brand new PM who has never done this type of work before. He's a nice guy, but clearly in over his head and has no IT background. He's useless.

I have another project where the PM has been out sick for weeks/months and follows up on every single minor issue. She wants to another the status of minor support cases and other super granular data. She's not around enough to help, and being so granular is causing us to lose focus on the bigger picture.

Anyone else find these people to be damn near useless?
It sounds like this PM didn't do a proper stakeholder analysis. A Project is a formalized process and should be done by someone properly trained (is she PMP certified)? The problem is companies pull any old person out and say "hey, you head this project", there is no project charter, no support, no stakeholder analysis, no risk assessments, no stage gates, no effectiveness checks, and thus you get problems like this, and project fail.

However, you are part of the problem as well - I would hope instead of you saying "it's not my job man" you could at least point her in the right direction and tell her who she needs to contact to get accounts set up.
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:02 PM
 
1,200 posts, read 436,011 times
Reputation: 3722
REAL Project Managers shpuld be people who have actually been workers on similar projects, whether analysts or programmers or construction engineers, or whatever is relevant to deliver the project on time or on budget.. but rarely both. (And often neither).

Then they get the creds to play leader.
Usually they are needed mainly for upper management who want a single point of contact to either praise or threaten.

The best ones, if they are NOT experts in any of the specialties within the project team, should be viewed more as recording secretaries, resource allocators, conflict mediators, and time-project trackers.

Few of them actually LEAD anything.. the worst of them just get in front of the parade and twirl the baton and/or crack the whip!
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:15 PM
 
11,126 posts, read 8,534,553 times
Reputation: 28094
Quote:
Originally Posted by PamelaIamela View Post
REAL Project Managers shpuld be people who have actually been workers on similar projects, whether analysts or programmers or construction engineers, or whatever is relevant to deliver the project on time or on budget.. but rarely both. (And often neither).

Then they get the creds to play leader.
Usually they are needed mainly for upper management who want a single point of contact to either praise or threaten.

The best ones, if they are NOT experts in any of the specialties within the project team, should be viewed more as recording secretaries, resource allocators, conflict mediators, and time-project trackers.

Few of them actually LEAD anything.. the worst of them just get in front of the parade and twirl the baton and/or crack the whip!
If the whip didn't need to be cracked, the PM wouldn't need to crack it.

Some developers cannot get out of their own way and get lost in the singular pursuit of producing code. A project is so much more including producing artifacts, going through tollgates, and handling governance matters.
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:11 PM
 
1,200 posts, read 436,011 times
Reputation: 3722
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
If the whip didn't need to be cracked, the PM wouldn't need to crack it.

Some developers cannot get out of their own way and get lost in the singular pursuit of producing code. A project is so much more including producing artifacts, going through tollgates, and handling governance matters.
I have done both for IT banking systems.

My experience is that PM's without the knowledge or experience in the actual DOING of the work often become lost in the technical details because they have insufficient understanding of the difficulties and problems that often crop up. They then become primarily 'enforcers' for management which only wants what it wants, when it wants it... usually yesterday. Hence, 'the whip'.

But what do I know after 38 years in the field. Things may be entirely different now.
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:35 PM
 
11,126 posts, read 8,534,553 times
Reputation: 28094
Quote:
Originally Posted by PamelaIamela View Post
I have done both for IT banking systems.

My experience is that PM's without the knowledge or experience in the actual DOING of the work often become lost in the technical details because they have insufficient understanding of the difficulties and problems that often crop up. They then become primarily 'enforcers' for management which only wants what it wants, when it wants it... usually yesterday. Hence, 'the whip'.

But what do I know after 38 years in the field. Things may be entirely different now.
The principals of project management cover all industries. PMs don't need to be experts in the field to manage the project. I don't need to know how to code in order to manage an IT project.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Central VT
13 posts, read 3,843 times
Reputation: 39
I've worked with Project Managers who are certified, credentialed Project Managers. They know how to run meetings, know how to move things forward, know what the stakeholders need, and deliver on time or earlier. I'm now working with someone whose title is Project Manager who can't find his way out of a paper bag, much less lead anything.
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