Sunday, May 29, 2011

Failure to identify the ROI in Project Managers

IT Project Managers are expensive.  If an IT department is given a fixed budget on human resources, they might be tempted to spend the budget on 2 developers instead of one Project Manager, after all, it’s the developer that does all the coding which is pretty much what the clients are buying, so where is the ROI (return on investment) for Project Managers?

Today I am a Project Manager, but not too long ago, I was a web developer, as a web developer, it was easy to justify my ROI, after all I am doing "ALL" the work right?  A client comes to us asking for a site that needs to for fill a certain objective, I build a site to satisfy the objectives, client is happy, I get paid.  It’s simple.

Project Managers are not writing code, so they are not seen as physically building what the client wants.  Departmental Managers, Directors, HR Managers, or just about any (misguided) decision makers are failing to justify the need to Project Managers (PM), especially since they are an expensive resource.
So to reluctantly justify the acquisition of the PM, they hire a PM but give them multiple roles such as Business Analyst, Architectural Design, Documentation Writer and Tester.  Now hiring one person, paying one salary, calling this person a Project Manager, so he is ultimately responsible for any assigned projects, not assigning Business Analysts and Testers to the projects so the responsibility falls to the Project Manager, who has to ultimately for fill these roles himself/herself for project success and (here’s the most profitable part) stretch this “Project Manager” across 5 or more projects is seen as THE justifiable reason for hiring Project Managers.  If that’s the intended purpose, are you using Project Managers correctly?

When a true Project Manager is assigned to a Project, he automatically has many roles and responsibilities; the project manager is responsible for ensuring that the project team completes the project (and since IT projects are inherently risky – this role is essential)  – this mammoth of a task is a time consuming one (that’s why you need a dedicated resource assigned to it)  it involves the management of the following factors (based on PMBOK) …
  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost
  • Risk
  • Communication
  • Quality
  • People
It also requires a strong Change Management Plan, a Master Project Plan, a strategy to drive success for every factor mentioned above and a strong involvement in pretty much all the phases of the project.
Adding more “non-PM” roles to the Project Managers responsibility list (like Business Analyst and Tester), prevents the PM from properly managing the PM factors correctly.  Also, adding too many projects to the PM’s plate prevents the Project Manager in assigning a fair amount of time to a specific project.
This means that we are not using Project Managers correctly, which means that the projects are NOT managed correctly, which ultimately means that chances of project success has just dropped significantly –

This means that the entire project is compromised.  This alone seems like a strong ROI reason for getting Project Managers for Project Management tasks – but it is still difficult to convince the Decision Makers, because even though I am saying that that project success is compromised, project success is still possible and that’s all the decision makers hear, and since PM are expensive, the Powers That Be are expecting them to perform miracles.

The Decision Makers that ultimately decide if a Project Manager should be hired needs to ensure that in order for the Project Manager to be successful, their roles and responsibilities needs to be limited to Project Management roles (“limited” is such a bad word here because the amount of work from this role alone is pretty high) – the number of projects assigned to a PM needs to needs to be low enough allow him/her to spend a fair amount of time on each. 

In other words, the Project Managers needs to be provided an environment that promotes success, this is often overlooked, especially since we are hiring Project Managers for the wrong reasons.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Top “non-technical” SharePoint related links

If you have a strong interest in SharePoint, you may have subscribed to SharePoint related groups and discussions via your favorite social network (FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and blogs.  The problem with this approach is information overload. 

The problem goes beyond information overload, I am an IT Project Manager working with SharePoint projects, and when doing research on SharePoint, I notice that many articles are just too technical for the non-technical people involved in SharePoint projects.

If you enjoy reading my blog, it may be because I try to keep the focus on SharePoint but I also try to keep the topics non-technical – I haven’t found many blogs out there that has this focus, so I understand that my audience is specific, and I understand the difficulty you have in finding relevant SharePoint content.

So, I have decided to compile a list of SharePoint related links that I believe is very interesting for non-technical people interested in SharePoint or have a non-technical involvement in a SharePoint projects.
I am expecting this list to grow over time with your input, so if you know any links that fits within this list, please pass it over and I’ll add it in (Please note that the list is in no specific order)

White Paper: Trying to decide which BI tool is best?
“Trying to decide on which Business Intelligence application is best for your business?  With all the choices available, do you know what style of BI is right for you? The white paper "How to Choose the Right Business Intelligence Technology to Suit Your Style" will help you with those questions and more.”

Video: SharePoint 2010 - Content Management System-File Sharing-Intranet Collaboration-Benefits

“Content Management System-Intranet, Collaboration, File Sharing-Intranet Collaboration-Benefits of SharePoint 2010”

Video: SharePoint Intranet Overview
“Overview of the features that a sample corporate intranet site could have using Microsoft SharePoint”

PowerPoint:  SharePoint: Truth and Fiction

Video: Signing within Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Article: 5 Steps of a Successful SharePoint Site Transformation
“Migration is not just a technical activity – it is a metamorphosis. More and more companies are beginning to understand this as they hear stories from the field, and as they learn the lessons from early migrations to SharePoint 2010.”

Article: Content Migration Tools for SharePoint
“With the release of the new version almost a year ago, SharePoint is getting day by day more popular amongst organizations. It is just a matter of time until a decision is made to migrate from an older version of SharePoint or even from a different enterprise content management (EMC). The following third-party solutions will help SharePoint Administrators to migrate or consolidate content.”

Article: Top 10 mistakes made by SharePoint 2010 administrators
“Working mainly on the administration and architecture side of SharePoint, I don't get to do a lot of development. That's not necessarily a bad thing as it means that I can be more objective when it comes to deploying solutions to SharePoint farms and making changes to our infrastructure.
However, I do like to keep an eye on the development side to help ensure that we follow best practice, and frequently come across articles detailing common mistakes made during development. I figured that I have seen - and made - a fair few "common mistakes" over the years on the infrastructure side that might be helpful for those new (and perhaps not so new) to SharePoint administration.”

Article: SharePoint Online for Office 365: Developer Guide

“Use the SharePoint Online for Office 365 Developer Guide to gain knowledge and understanding of SharePoint Online within Microsoft Office 365, and the rich features available to developers and designers.”

Video: Coffee Talk Guest Segment Featuring Laura Rogers On InfoPath Form Building And SharePoint

“In this special guest segment of Coffee Talk we were joined by Microsoft MVP Laura Rogers. Laura takes us though creating Infopath forms that dynamically build as they go through a workflow. Great example how the combined power of InfoPath and SharePoint, combined with some out of the box thinking, can really supercharge your capability delivery in SharePoint with no code.”

If you found many of these links interesting, then subscribe to my twitter feed (nadirkamdar) all these links and many more are mentioned there and if you like this non-technical summary approach, let me know and I'll provide you with a list 3 or 4 times a year.