Thursday, June 08, 2006

What does a PM do

A colleague of mine and my self came to discuss what a project manager
actually does during a day. It turned out to be and interesting

I work in a large IT-organisation but it is fairly matured when it comes
to project and all the co-workers are used to that we have a large
number of simultaneously ongoing projects. There are not many at work
who questions the being or not being of a project manager, which is
good. But I have learned that there is many other who have a different
situation and that the role a project manager often is questioned; ?what
do you actually do, do you have the mandate to decide this, I?m not
reporting to you, etc?? This is for me strange and is just a sign of an
immature organization that do not see the benefits of running projects.
All roles in an organization has it?s own challenges and can be more or
less demanding but I can not think of a more complex and demanding role
than a project manager.

So? What does a PM do?

We lead, manage, follow up, make new plans, escalate, coach and many
other things. Yes, we do all those things but what we do more than
anything is to communicate. That is, for me, the primary task for us. We
can produce all the plans in the world if we not are able to communicate
them in a proper way. I often say to my fiancée (which is not in the
IT-industry) that I?m in a lot of meetings, talk in the phone or write
emails. That is for me about communication and communication is not at
all an easy thing to do. At the same time say to a coworker that he
needs to shape up and also keep his motivation is a trick? But
nevertheless is communication our most important mean for an PM to be
able to deliver.
I write a weekly information mail to all project members and key
stakelholders in the project. This has turned out to be very good and it
is worth the hour it takes to write.

Remember to communicate! But also think about that quantity is
not always better than quality.

Recommended books about the topic;

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) - Third Edition, Paperback


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Goals and vision

Wow…what a week!
I started the week by flying abroad just over the day, which meant an extremely long day. Then we had a steering committee meeting on Wednesday in the 3rd party project. We have top managers in that steering committee so it is a bad place and time to “screw up”. My self and my colleague did a good SC-meeting, but we could have been better prepared. Need to improve until next meeting in August! The IT-organisation is delivering a service to the business-organisation for this service and we have the system in production for 10 countries. The project is proceeding to plan for coming countries and the maintenance-teams needs to secure the daily production. Our IT-organisation has the 1st and 2nd line support and the supplier of the system has the 3rd line-support. So, to be able to secure high service-level to our business there are four different entities that needs to collaborate; The Project, The Maintenance-team, Operations and the Supplier. The true, but sad, fact is that this is not working at all today. The service-level is low and the business is fed up with all the problems regarding downtime and bad performance. One of the IT managers in the SC asked me what I thought we should do about this and I was not prepared for this question even though I knew that the topic was going to be discussed. I thought about this issue later on and came to the conclusion that common objectives, goals and vision is crucial when different teams should work together. This is especially important when it comes to larger projects or programs. Continue to repeat the vision and goals for the project over the time in the project. People tend to forget.