Sunday, November 11, 2007

Project Manager Selection

Many times the success of a project reflects favorably on senior management, while the failure of the same project will be blamed on the project manager. Without question the role of project manager is critical, but so is the quality of senior management's decision on which manager is being matched to a particular project and development team.

Equally important is whether a project manager has been given the authority as well as the responsibility of managing a project. If a manager has little or no authority to enforce coding standards, source control, unit testing, or to resist scope creep foisted upon him by users or (even) senior management, then this manager can hardly be held accountable for failures in these areas.

Senior management must not only correctly select the right manager for a project and the associated team, they must make it clear that their choice of manager has their support, and the authority to run their own show. Selecting a manager that has never done at least moderately agile development may not be the best choice when managing developers who have done nothing else. But, selecting a manager that has done waterfall and agile may be a very good choice since the manager is in a position to educate the development team.

There are a number of key points for senior management to consider when assigning the manager. A project manager is not there just to take notes during meetings and send out updated status reports, or just add more detail to the project plan. A project manager is there, at least partly, to ensure that quality deliverables that meet the business specifications are built, on time. Many times this must be done while harmonizing with developers who are temperamental, for whatever reasons.

Clearly, a large burden is put upon senior management to select the right manager for the project and personnel.

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