Monday, January 09, 2006

Woes of a Project Manager

All my fellow IT professional would agree that this role is the backbone of any established IT firm. Of course it’s different that as a developer I felt developers were the key. So what one thinks is kind of relative to what one does or where one is. The Project Manager is a much maligned person as I have experienced. The team you lead thinks that you are a decorative accessory who just has to say a few smart words at the right time to the right people. They also think that you are a disaster technically and the poor chap/lady is around just because he/she has no chances of getting a job anywhere. What does a Project Manager have to do anyway??

1. Read and reply to mails
2. Attend Meetings
3. Conduct appraisals - only twice a year at the most

For this shit they get paid so much. Of course the developers have to bear all the burdens in this world!

Now let’s see the other side, what does a Project Manager's boss think about this great person. The typical words you hear are:

"Now that we have a full time Manager for this project, I should not hear anything from the customer - if I do that means you are not doing your job properly"

Phew! That’s loads of responsibility; you have to be answerable for things beyond your control like:

Q1 Why didn't you reply to my mail within 2 hours as defined in the SLA? (The mail server crashed :( and pigeons don’t reach where you are in 2 hours...)

Q2 Why wasn't the team member available at the desk when I called? (He went to the loo for godssakes!)

Q3 Why did you use a SELECT statement when you could have used a cursor (excuse me? are we supposed to read minds as well???)

Q4 Why doesn't the team sit together? (Blame the admin - they never give you a seat and they don’t really care if you sit on the floor with a laptop)

Q5 why did you attend training on Informatica when the project is on PL/SQL?? I will not pay. (Clients don’t believe that you should add to your skills)

Q6 Why didn't you deliver on time? Why does the code have bugs?? I will not pay

I am confused now ... it seems I am a shopkeeper who always has to make sure that I get paid for the goods I sell!

Now for any of these problems you are not going to be supported by the organizational hierarchy. After all, the project is your baby and you gotta manage if the baby falls down or the baby cries.

Sigh

I have recently found a reason to live and bear this ordeal of being a Project Manager. I was convinced that I am nothing but a punching bag who offers solace by absorbing the punch but now I have this wonderful viewpoint that another fellow Project Manager recently shared with me.

Consider this; an idol in a temple is central to the existence of the temple, the devotees, and the flower seller and so on. Take away the idol and the temple is nothing but an empty room. Similarly, a Project Manager is essential to the existence of a project without whom it will not run.

God is truly great - he has shown me the reason to continue in this role!

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