Project management practice is increasingly grabbing IT industry interest. Currently there are two dominating methodologies of project management, namely, US Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) initiated by project management institute (PMI) and UK PRojects IN Controlled Environment 2 (PRINCE2). Both methodologies tries to standardize project management practices through establishing a set of guidelines, standard processes, and controls. PMI focuses upon providing the tools and techniques required for every process and HOW they are applied. On the other hand, PRINCE2 focuses on the nitty gritty of project management practice details without going to the ‘HOW’ part. Nevertheless it provides heavy details and templates for required deliverables.
Throughout hard skills required by project managers represented in PMI knowledge areas and processes and PRINCE2 controls, components, and processes, we still find a lot of other skills and knowledge areas that do not have enough attention. In this post, I will highlight few of them.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci
Project managers should not plan for complexity. However, complexity shows down the road accidentally. IT project managers should absorb the complexity generated from development, design, end-users, etc. The art of simplicity is a highly required attribute of successful project managers. On the other hand, simplicity needs proper planning and cannot stumble about easily. Project managers should create communication plans, change management, scope control, and other areas as simple as possible.
Selecting the Team
This is another skill of project manager. Among the whole herd how IT project manager should select good talents. It is a core skill of IT project manager to spot special people who could make big difference with projects and missions assigned to them. Resources selection should balance core technical skills with other soft skills. Beside setting some questions inspecting resource muscles with core skills during interview, other parts of interview should explore the blind side of personality, named as “attitude”. As more agility is required in nowadays projects, other soft skills have increasing importance. This covers cross-functional communication, ability to produce under pressure, problem solving and other required skills of team members.
The Skill of Delivery
Methodologies do not make deliveries. They help and guide based on best practices exercised before in the past. PMBoK is a general project management practice and is not intended to specific industry and accordingly is not addressing IT industry. I argue that IT project manager should have an IT background. He should be fully aware of software development life cycle (SDLC) utilized. This helps a lot in delivering project objectives. Agile software methodologies favor “Now” over “Soon” or “Later”. The art of developing a plan that guarantees incremental delivery of projects target with faster ROI to customers. This area is not covered in most PM methodologies since they are product development independent. I will tackle this topic in more details in future posts.
The Art of Dealing with Human Beings
This is one of negligible areas that require a great amount of soft skills. This area is not governed by physical science, it is rather a branch of social science. The ability of IT project manager to assess the context of surrounding people, i.e., stakeholders, sponsors, etc. is very important in identifying the approach of management style. Sometimes following the book without consulting surrounding human nature causes project failure. Smart project managers realize these facts and act accordingly.
I will continue adding more perspectives in future posts. It is good to share with your point of views as well.