Being good at IT work is not good enough to work in IT anymore. Confused? It is actually pretty simple. Today, due to the increasing complexity of IT projects, the emphasis placed on teamwork and communication skills, a heightened need to meet budgets and deadlines, and the pressure on top executives to deliver results, project management knowledge has become an often required asset of IT professionals. Allan Hoffman talks about the pitfalls that these pros can fall into when they have not boned up enough on project management.
The first and most obvious concern is when lack of project management knowledge leads a pro to be unable to get work done on time and within the budget. With the unforgiving atmosphere of many workplaces today, this can lead to an IT pro having a short career. Employers are not afraid to outsource or just plain replace you.
It boils down to the IT pro needing to be able to self-manage, which in itself is a form of project management. When the pro knows how much work can be accomplished and how much time it will take, that information can be related to the team so that realistic project schedules can be put together. Hoffman cites a good quote stressing the harsh reality of why many projects fail:
“Hardly anyone ever says, ‘Our software project failed, because our developers were technically incapable — if only we had smarter developers who knew their technical stuff,'” says Thomas Myer, author of No Nonsense XML Web Development with PHP. “Most of the time, it comes down to eliciting requirements, communicating status, setting expectations, meeting goals and pushing back on clients who want to keep adding more and more features.”
The truth is that project managers who are good coders are more valued than employees who are great coders and not project managers. In a sense, coding has become the Clark Kent to the project manager’s Superman. Both serve necessary roles, but Superman is the guy you want to see when a roof collapses.