Project Management - An IT Imperative?
A theme I kept hearing in sessions and conversation today was around project management, and the importance of having clearly-defined project owners who shepherd large inter-departmental projects to completion. That's not particularly new - we all pretty much agree on the importance of that role. However, I noticed today that technology staffers often end up playing that all-important project management role. I know that's true where I work, and it was also true in a number of circumstances that I heard about today. So, why is that? Are IT people really better project managers than other staff members? I doubt it. Do we communicate somehow more effectively than other staff members? I doubt that too. Was there some magical project management curriculum embedded in whatever training we underwent to become technology professionals? Nope, at least not where I went to school! So what is it?
Here's one idea: At least where I work, IT sits in the catbird seat because pretty much everything our association does has some kind of technology component. Therefore, IT tends to be more aware of the breadth of activities going on in the organization, and we also have established relationships with many staff stakeholders. Plus, we are uniquely qualified to evaluate which tools and technologies would be appropriate for the task at hand. When you put all these things together, it seems natural that IT will be the ones to run the show when it comes time to get the next big project started. My question: is this really optimal? Is it sustainable to expect your IT people to drive all of these projects? Does that foster an "us vs. them" attitude among staff? More importantly, should we be encouraging organizational awareness and building project management competency in other parts of our staff?
What do you all think?
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