Are you an IT project manager?

A short guide to principles and tips for success in IT project management

Although you won't generally find me talking about IT project management, it is a topic that overlaps with software architecture in a number of areas. For example, it's fairly typical to see software teams where a software architect and project manager are jointly responsible for the successful delivery of a software system. Here, the software architect is usually responsible for the technical risks and the project manager picks up all of the "other stuff" (e.g. risks associated with timescales, budget, scope, etc). Project management is an interesting area, particularly when you start throwing agile approaches into the mix. In the same way that I've discovered a lot of uncertainty about the software architecture role, my wife has discovered the same of project management during her career. And this has inspired her to write a book. To quote from start of it:

My background is in software development and, having made the decision to become more involved with managing projects, I noticed that most websites, articles and books discuss project management from a very generic perspective. There seem to be very few books that take a more holistic view of IT project management including what skills you need, problems you may come up against due to technology and general tips on project management principles. After all, technology projects have their own unique activities and challenges.

Now working within a project management office, I provide guidance and support services for project managers who work within a complex and changing IT environment. In undertaking this role, I found that the advice, support and document reviews I undertook started to show some common trends. These include a lack of understanding of how to define and present IT projects to the business and common mistakes made in day-to-day project management.

This trend led to me sounding like a “broken record”, repeating the same advice over and over again to different project managers. That started me thinking about writing a short book that is clear, concise and quick to read, covering the skills, principles, tools and activities that will help you to successfully manage an IT project in the real world.

Are you an IT project manager?

The book is currently titled "Are you an IT project manager?" and is a work in progress, being published incrementally on Leanpub. I may be biased, but I'm looking forward to it evolving over the coming weeks, particularly as I've heard some of the stories that are yet to be written about.

About the author

Simon is an independent consultant specializing in software architecture, and the author of Software Architecture for Developers (a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility). He’s also the creator of the C4 software architecture model and the founder of Structurizr, which is a collection of open source and commercial tooling to help software teams visualise, document and explore their software architecture.

You can find Simon on Twitter at @simonbrown ... see simonbrown.je for information about his speaking schedule, videos from past conferences and software architecture training.



Re: Are you an IT project manager?

Some developers believe that 'agile' means project management isn't necessary (which can be the same attitude they have towards software architecture). This is not true - agile development requires lightweight and continuous project management as well as architecture. IT project management is different from managing other types of projects and specific advice would be useful for many PMs I've come across!

I also look forward to the book's evolution and I'd like to make a chapter suggestion! Can we have a chapter called "How to interact with your PM" which would give advice to developers about what and how to give their PM information to make everyone's lives easier. Many IT workers avoid contact with their PMs and often inform them of issues far to late or provide unusable information. You could even make it an appendix for PMs to print and hand out to their teams!

Re: Are you an IT project manager?

That's a fantastic suggestion, I can also see how this would be hugely useful. I'll pass it on. :-)

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