In previous blogs I’ve discussed the potential value of project management as a soft skill (particularly in Part 4 of my Soft Skills Survey sequence from September 08). I remain completely convinced that for most IT professionals, especially those who aspire to technical lead or IT management positions, there are few better ways to pursue such career goals than by going after training and certification in this area. The Project Management Institute rules in this arena, where its CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and PMP (Project Management Professional) certifications stand out amidst a field of possible options (a nice survey appears in this About.com article “Project Management Certification“).
But I hasten to point out that acquiring project management certs is one thing, and rigorously practicing project management disciplines is entirely another. This is one of those areas, like so many others, where a little bit of knowledge can be more dangerous than complete ignorance. For example, Jadeep’s “Project Management – A Sad Story” blog posting tells a truly pathetic tale of “over-promising and under delivering” on client projects.
Just because you have a project manager appointed and responsible for projects doesn’t mean that the projects will actually be managed. There must be sufficient discipline and involvement from staff at all levels to make sure that reports coincide with reality, that milestones are being met, deliverables created and actually delivered, and so forth, for any kind of project to succeed. As Jadeep’s tangled mess so aptly illustrates, sometimes things get out of hand and must be rescued or reworked. When this happens, the first order of business is to determine what the real status is and when, if ever, anything can actually be built, delivered, implemented, or whatever the project plan calls for. After that it’s usually time to revise the requirements, revisit the deliverables, and rework the schedule.
Ignore this obvious advice at your own risk. Just as the eating provides the proof of the pudding, the outcomes and outputs from a project provide the proofs of success and failure, sometimes in astonishing mixtures!