December 29, 2009

Why waste time on Project management ?

Recently I came across some of the blog posts regards to Software Project management. It seems like Project Management is another project to Project Managers but so often they claim that they never able to do a accurate schedule or a budget, so the question arise − “Why do Project Management?”.

I’ve been working in Software Industry for the past 9 years and I have never seen a successful Project Manager although I’ve seen plenty of good technical people. I must admit that I have observed some of the successful projects are handled without a proper project plan, or should I say without a “Project Manager”. For a successful software project, the key factor is its technical people and I really don’t believe that’s anything to do with the Project plan or the Project Manager. How did Google products succeed ? Why did Windows Vista failed ? Was it because of the Project Managers or Project Plans? I doubt. In software, it’s a well known factor that the requirements change. Neither the Stake Holders nor the Project Managers are fully aware of the business requirement at the initial stage. So the next question − “What’s Agile ?”

Agile – one of the frequently used terms in the Project management these days. Agile is defined as to keep things simple and to move quicker. Two-thirds of the development time is wasted by the Project Managers for various meetings and requirement explanations. I strongly disagree the fact that every project needs a “Project Plan”, a simple plan would do for most of the projects. We need to understand the scale of the project while keeping the things simple. I don’t intend to talk about massive projects like in NASA or the other major companies, no doubt that they need Project Managers. But for 30-40 developer projects who would need to waste time & money just to create a larger scale project plan ?, A good technical leader is capable of doing the job. At last what matters is the outcome of the project, not how we manage the project. All my thoughts are based on the Software Development and this might not be true for other industries like Construction & Manufacture which are far more matured. Software development still on its way for a strong blue-print unlike Building construction, .

No offense meant to Project Managers, but comments are welcome − After all, Project Management is their Job. - I've been using twitter for quick updates, Technology & cool stuff, please follow me if you're interested.


Chandana N. Athauda said...

Well said..! Even project managers are very good at spoiling the life of good technical people.

PM Hut said...

Good article, but I can't think of any Project Manager anywhere who would agree with you.

Project Management is a necessity and you I'm not able to imagine a project without a project plan (as you're suggesting). 30-40 developers is a lot, who is going to keep them on track and monitor their work, will it be the technical leader, their manager? Who is going to deal with the client and stakeholders, the Project Manager has a lot of responsibilities that no one can really take for granted, and contrary to what programmers tend to believe, Project Managers do work, and working doesn't have to be coding.

I've published an article from the other side of the spectrum, we don't need no project managers.

Thanks for sharing!

Ludmal De Silva said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I agree that the Project managers are essential part at least for medium and large scale software projects. My only concern is that Project Managers should simplify their process; therefore the programmers will have his/her peace of mind to overcome the project obstacles.

Project management − is a process, a set of activities which needs to execute with time, effort and most importantly discipline. More often it differs company to company. The process should be optimized overtime; however this requires a lot of discipline and practice. In most cases, a person who’s not competent technically chooses Project Management as an alternative, this reminds me a good old saying − "how you do anything is how you do everything”.

However, I strongly believe that Project Mangers must have a technical background and they must have some development experience. If they can work in harmony with the programmers it is not that difficult to make the project a success.