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which responsibilities do you suggest to assign to a PMP in a software project?

jose m. sanchez
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 03, 2007
Posts: 2
I know PMPs have knowledge to manage any kind of project, f.e. building construction, new "x" product release, etc., but there's not guarantee that they have knowledge about how to do software, and doing software is not easy. In my experience, in middle or large size projects a PMP is a good option to help in very management activities, as help in making schedules and balancing work loads, apply some metrics to have information about team velocity, monitoring activities, etc., but normally is not a good idea to get them making technical decisions, nor to lead and convince a team to do things in some or another way nor to identify best practices in the team or organization. A manager is very useful to know status and many other management activities, but not necessary good to give solutions in software projects. With this in mind, i personally suggest to get a PMP as a support for software development teams, but not as a leader. What's your opinion?
Ryan Jumawan
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 23, 2007
Posts: 2
When you are working in a software development project as a PM.. it is an advantage if you are equipped with 50% management and 50% technical.. Why technical knowledge? so that you can relate and understand the complex technical issues with your development team that has a potential impact to your project. As PM, even if you are indirectly making decisions it is your responsibility to make sure you will communicate the status of the project to the stakeholders and provide them guidance and recommendation by providing them data and information like budget versus forecast planning versus actual dates milestones and risk assessment for them to make the right decision based on your inputs. In any case that for example a software project release schedule will be extended for some reason that a certain funtionality is a ship issue, as PM you must understand the technical limitations and problems why the schedule will slipped and make sure communicate that to the stakeholders with your recommendations and risk assessment for them to make the final decision either ship the product or not.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by jose m. sanchez:
A manager is very useful to know status and many other management activities, but not necessary good to give solutions in software projects. With this in mind, i personally suggest to get a PMP as a support for software development teams, but not as a leader. What's your opinion?


A good leader, at least the way I use the term, doesn't give solutions, but enables the team to come up with the solutions. This much more requires strong facilitation skills rather then technical skills.


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Andrew Stellman
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Joined: Feb 28, 2007
Posts: 44
jose m. sanchez wrote:
I know PMPs have knowledge to manage any kind of project, f.e. building construction, new "x" product release, etc., but there's not guarantee that they have knowledge about how to do software, and doing software is not easy.


Just so you know, there are several schools of thought on this. Some people do seem to think that a good project manager can manage any project. Jenny and I very much disagree with that -- we feel that you definitely need to know about software in order to manage a software project. One reason for that is that software projects run into very specific kinds of problems that you run into when you're doing software projects, and someone with no software experience won't see them coming, or understand them when they happen. (And for what it's worth, the PMBOK(r) Guide (which the PMP exam is based on) seems to agree with us on that -- it explicitly says that industry knowledge is needed.)

With this in mind, i personally suggest to get a PMP as a support for software development teams, but not as a leader. What's your opinion?


I've known many PMP certified project managers, including me and Jenny, with a lot of experience managing software projects. You need at least two years worth of project management experience before you're qualified to take the PMP exam, and that experience needs to come from somewhere. There are many people with PMP certifications -- like me -- who started out as programmers (I have a degree in CS from Carnegie Mellon, and worked as a programmer for years before going into management). So I recommend using a project manager who has a PMP certification but who also understands software development and the industry that your company services. It's a tall order, but it's also a very important position that you need to staff properly.

Oh, and one more thing: if you're an Agile shop, then your PMP certified project manager who understands software development also needs to understand Agile. And yes, there are people like that out there. I've talked to many of them -- in fact, when we do talks at PMI conferences and meetings to audiences of PMP certified project managers, we almost always get questions about Agile and how it applies to what we spoke about.

Andrew


<i>Andrew Stellman<br />Author, "Head First C#" and "Head First PMP"</i><br /><a href="http://www.stellman-greene.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Building Better Software</a> - <a href="http://www.stellman-greene.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.stellman-greene.com</a>
 
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