Has project management gone out the window?

Andrew Neitlich

I’m working with two very skilled development teams. Both do excellent development. Both come from world-class educational institutions, and have Fortune 500 and emerging venture experience.

But neither provides the type of project management I expect, which includes:

  • A project plan with dates
  • Success meeting deadlines
  • Frequent communication with me about progress, risks, issues (actually, this only applies to one of the two)
  • Ability to accurately estimated resources required
  • Builds released on time
  • Providing status reports on time
  • Asking me how I want to learn about project status and updates

I find this annoying and frustrating. I know that with trends like agile development, spiral development, and other forms of “build the bridge as you walk on it” development, accurately projecting project timelines and issues is difficult.

Still, communication is a KEY part of client relationship management. Many skilled IT professionals need to improve in this area. Otherwise, clients will not be as loyal to you as they otherwise could.

In project leadership you have to manage 4 things:

  1. Client expectations (making sure client has no unrealistic dreams about what the project will do).
  2. The process (classic project management 101).
  3. Results (making sure the client gets the results they expect, regardless of whether you do all the tasks you think you were hired to get).
  4. Relationships (building a long-term relationship with the client, beyond a single project).

I’ve met very few IT pros who handle all 4 of these.