What makes a good project manager? Pause momentarily and capture your first thought to answer that question. Most of us answer the question with attributes like setting proper priorities, keeping command of a group, effectively communicating, showing domain expertise, or resolving conflict. It would be rare to hear someone answer the question in terms of keeping tasks and a schedule. Yet this is one the most fundamental skills an IT project manager needs to have; the ability to drive a team to define and set a schedule. Why do task status and schedules encounter the most resistance in the life of the project? I think it’s because team members don’t like to give estimates and to be held accountable for meeting a specific schedule. To be fair estimating working duration isn’t easy and it’s not uncommon in IT to have partial requirements. “I’m not going to win any popularity contests” An
Push-ups are for treats! One of my most memorable childhood treats was orange sherbet push-ups. I can still envision those pops with the plastic push sticks and the plastic bottom. Of course the plastic bottom was good for licking at the end! A paper covering with colored circles surrounded the orange sherbet that made for the tasty sweet treat. Today, I’ve replaced Push-up pops with the push-up exercise, but I never lost my taste for orange sherbert. Push-downs are for opportunity and growth. At work, I prefer push-downs. I prefer to push decision making down to employees that are valued not only for their knowledge and skills but for their customer service and relationship skills as well. These are the employees closest to producing tangible output and closest to direct customer interactions. I use the word ‘prefer’ because I know there are pros and cons of decentralized versus centralized decision
The question every IT professional should ask. I think through this question quite a bit. It has significance in the equation of work satisfaction and success. It is fundamental in how every IT professional should approach their career. What do my customers require of the Information Technology group? Typically, we try to answer this question in terms of running the business and growing the business. I have lived the tug-of-war between providing stable systems that run the business and new systems that grow the business. It means being risk averse and cutting costs but yet taking risks and investing in new technologies. Can IT provide both and do both of them really well? The irresistible force is growing the top line revenue of the company or finding new sources of revenue in an ever changing world. But the immovable object is the need to keep existing systems running and to
Disclaimer: I am a Google Adsense user on my blog, but I do not pay for Google ad placements on search results. Several years ago I received an offer from Google for $100 worth of free ad placements. It was the start of a grand adventure at work. We ended up using the $100 credit to purchases ads for the eCommerce site at work and then multiplied the value of the credit. As you would imagine that led to more ad purchases (paid this time) and quite a bit of fun exploring different ad placement,. bidding, and keyword techniques. This last week, I received a very similar offer from Google. They are offering $100 if I spend $25. It’s for new customers only. I am classified as a new user because I’ve not used paid ad placements with my personal account or blog. It’s tempting to play with the credit
Self-serve station at Wal-mart. I had a gallon of transmission fluid and some aftershave. One of those late night shops. Swiped my card, and got a prompt about hitting “OK” with instructions. I looked again and wondered if I had swiped the non-mag side, so I swiped again carefully. Same error message. I read it more carefully and saw it said “insert in bottom.” I realized it was my new Amex chip card and I needed to do the new insert thing, but the self-serve station was hanging vertical, which made that awkward. That’s when the young girl with the dragon tattoos around her forearms started walking over to me. She held out her hand to take the card from me.