PW&WCBA – Mary Gerush – Define, Hire and Develop Your Next Generation Project Managers

Mary Gerush speaking on Define, Hire, and Develop Your Next Generation Project Managers

“It’s time to paint a new picture of the IT project manager.”

Traditional project management has helped us build our world and these standards are entrenched in our IT culture. Today’s project manager is skilled, trained, certified.

But are we successful? Data suggests the answer is “NO.”

Business value matters most:

Before projects were measured by: On time and on budget!

New measures for value:

  • Business-focused
  • Benefits realization and ROI
  • Customer satisfaction and adoption

Project managers need to prioritize differently now.

Teams have changed in this brave new world:

  • Distributed globally
  • Culturally diverse
  • Multi-sourced
  • Cross-functional

Business and technology complexity is growing in this new world:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Partnerships
  • Compliance
  • Diverse architecture
  • Integrations and legacy
  • New technologies (Cloud, open source, mobility, Web 2.0, social media)

In summary, the new project manager needs to hone their people skills and adapt to new technologies. The soft skills that a project manager has is absolutely crucial to the success of project managers in the new technology-driven world. Not only that, but technology-awareness helps. Familiarity with new technology and industry-specific technology is helpful for success as a project manager.

What Agile Scout liked about Mary Gerush’s talk:

Organizations need a new type of project manager! Below are some great take-aways from the pragmatic side of Mary’s talk.

“Let go of your preconceived notions of what a project manager is.”

Project managers need fantastic people skills:

  • Active awareness
  • Adaptive communication
  • People-orientation
  • Servant leadership and team-orientation
  • Flexibility
  • Strategy
  • Analysis
  • Customer-orientation
  • Results-orientation
  • Personal character

Project managers need to focus on the team and work relentlessly to build trust. They also need to establish robust communication channels and remove barriers, don’t become one!

Project managers need broad business and technology understanding:

  • Organizational awareness
  • Marketplace awareness
  • Customer awareness
  • Business relationships
  • Domain/industry knowledge
  • General IT fluency
  • Organization-specific IT fluency
  • Technical relationships

Project managers need to answer the following questions:

  • What adds the most value?
  • Where is the risk?
  • What is just waste?

Project managers need to adapt to new approaches:

  • Agile!
  • Multiple releases
  • Smaller increments
  • Fewer features
  • Phased approaches
  • Lean approaches: Adding value, eliminating waste, fit to purpose
  • Lean approaches: Provide guardrails and guidance for delivery

Focus on QVR (Quality, Value, Risk):

  • Quality includes: Not just testing. Holistic end to end quality in all departments and processes
  • Value includes: Innovation, faster delivery, business benefits, growth
  • Risks include: Complexity, exposure, compliance

QVR of product and process:

  • Risk + Value = Develop high risk, high value features first
  • Quality product = Business defines success and customer satisfaction and adoption
  • Quality process = Eliminate waste by focusing on the value of every task and deliverable

So what can we do now?

  • Build a team and put people skills and teamwork front and center for project manager development.
  • Immerse yourself in the business: Shadow business partner, and study the competitive landscape.
  • Get to know your technology: Partner with technical teammates, set up learning sessions, and read techie publications.
  • Learn more about Agile and Lean!

“Stretch your thinking, but don’t ignore risk. Paint a new picture of project management. Change your thinking and open your minds.”

Check out Mary Gerush’s slides below:

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