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Project Management and IT


Project Management and IT Peg Schafer Senior Technical Project Manager StarfishStorage _at_ Cambridge Computer Tools I LOVE JIRA a great ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Project Management and IT

Project Management and IT
  • Peg Schafer
  • Senior Technical Project Manager
  • StarfishStorage _at_ Cambridge Computer

The Plan
  • Why Listen to Me?
  • QUICK overview of ITIL, TQM, PMP, Agile
  • Why some dont work, but some bit do work
  • A few words about who is in control
  • What project managers can do their goals
  • Profiling the work a particular IT department
  • Tools Books

  • Why Listen to Peg?
  • Previous Life - The Formative Years
  • BFA Sculpture
  • UNIX Sysadmin _at_ CMU Bellcore
  • Masters at Media Lab
  • UNIX Sysadmin Manager _at_ BBN, Harvard, Tufts
  • Several Years on the SAGE board of directors
  • Job Description Booklet, Salary Survey, etc.
  • Ive always loved the art of UNIX Sysadmin

  • Why Listen to Peg?
  • Single Parenthood - Transition to Project Manager
  • - Trouble Ticket w/ Asset DB to
    co-ordinate international operations
  • Microsoft - New NOC trying to manage Linux
  • A very Large Web Hosting Site - New Data Center
  • Scholastic Web Hosting for gt 15 million students
  • Tivli (a startup _at_ Harvard Innovation Lab)
  • StarfishStorage - Data Management SW

  • Project Management Methodologies ITIL
  • Wikipedia The Information Technology
    Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of
    practices for IT service management (ITSM) that
    focuses on aligning IT services with the needs of
  • Utilized by big sites like US government
    building battleships with a 100 different
  • Emphasis on pre-planning
  • Emphasis strict control
  • Regimented
  • Not much to do with the small sysadmin site

  • Project Management Methodologies TQM
  • Wikipedia Total quality management (TQM)
    consists of organization-wide efforts to install
    and make permanent a climate in which an
    organization continuously improves its ability to
    deliver high-quality products and services to
  • Best at continuous work requirements factories
  • Everyone needs to agree
  • Re-examination of processes
  • All employees have input and managers have to
  • Works well in Japan cultural co-operation

  • Project Management Methodologies PMP
  • Wikipedia By the Project Management Institute
    (PMI) A Guide to the Project Management Body of
    Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) a book which presents a
    set of standard terminology and guidelines for
    project management.
  • Most widely used by all companies
  • PMP certs very popular career choice
  • Very logical and adaptable

  • Project Management Methodologies PMP
  • The nine knowledge areas are
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Human Resource Management
  • Project Communications Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Procurement Management
  • Project Stakeholders Management

Project Management Methodologies PMP ABOK -
Automation Body of Knowledge BABOK - Business
Analysis Body of Knowledge CMBOK - Configuration
Management Body of Knowledge EABOK - Enterprise
Architecture Body of Knowledge EMBOK - Event
Management Body of Knowledge SEBOK - Systems
Engineering Body of Knowledge SWEBOK - Software
Engineering Body of Knowledge TMBOK - Test
Management Body of Knowledge
Agile Software Development Wikipedia Agile
software development is a group of software
development methods based on iterative and
incremental development, where requirements and
solutions evolve through collaboration between
self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It
promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary
development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative
approach, and encourages rapid and flexible
response to change. It is a conceptual framework
that promotes foreseen tight iterations
throughout the development cycle.
  • Agile Process Just the basics
  • Planning Epics -gt Stories -gt Tasks
  • Ranking
  • Estimating Story Points
  • Sprints two week blocks of work
  • Demo completion of sprint
  • Evaluation what did not get done and why?
  • Do it all over again plan the next sprint
  • Kanban board continuous development until done.

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PMs know about all these frameworks (methods,
processes, etc.) to get work organized IT people
know about technology Management knows they want
X (poorly defined) by Y date far too near in
the future Users just want it to work so they
can do their work Developers want well designed
thought out detailed specifications.
  • No TWO computing infrastructures are alike.
  • People
  • Systems
  • Software
  • Purpose Goals
  • A computing infrastructure is configured to meet
    the needs of the enterprise that owns it.
  • If a company is poorly run, its computing
    infrastructure will run poorly.

  • Why are standard PM practices not a fit for IT
  • ITIL too much planning not contractors
    people are not interchangeable most sites not
    that large
  • TQM work changes too much not repeatable
    too many individual thinkers not culturally
  • PMP best of the lot modern techniques for
    SW development
  • Agile fast on its feet but cannot put off
    things until sprint is done
  • PMs mostly come from business school not
  • Many PMs focus on SW development

  • Why are standard PM practices (sometimes) are not
    a fit for IT departments?
  • PMs lack of knowledge offends IT workers
  • IT Departments do not control the work flow
  • Project deadlines rarely relate to the amount of
    work required to accomplish the task Marketing
    wants a webpage that does X (poorly defined)
    asap regardless of database ability or what
    else is scheduled for the the accounting
    department that week

Management who is really in charge?
  • Management structure is not always
  • THE Manager may not be the real manager
  • Technical Leader ?
  • 500 pound gorilla ?
  • Wimpy CTO?
  • The PM is generally NOT the one in charge
  • Especially if they are consultants

  • For ANY process to work an IT department needs
  • A strong CTO which can manage the demands of the
    enterprise. i.e. Marketing needs to put their
    requests through them for approval weeks ahead
    of time.
  • Can analyze foresee the future requirements of
    the enterprise.
  • Can introduce new technologies and get the to
    implement them.
  • CTO that supports planning.
  • If you are a PM for an IT department which does
    not have management support, get another job.
    You are there for political reasons (or worse).

  • But all is not lost PMs can help
  • Order out of chaos
  • Structuring the type of work
  • Documentation
  • Work with managers to structure their
  • Let the technical people do the technical work
  • Figure out the culture
  • Introduce tools
  • Keep Meetings Short

  • But all is not lost PMs can help
  • Anything NON-technical give to the PM
  • Planning
  • Support contracts
  • Anything to do with a spread sheet
  • Write Reports
  • Get Quotes
  • Coordinate Meetings
  • Projections
  • Communication with Management
  • Budgets
  • You would be surprised what turns up.

  • Typical IT Work Categories
  • Fight Fires unexpected work
  • User Services Small work requests tickets
    some of expected work
  • Upgrading existing services - must be planned
  • Installing new services must be planned
  • Care and feeding of site e.g. backups,
  • All in all, lots of work users do not know about
  • Planning, testing, configuration, stress testing,

  • A PMs first goals
  • 1 Understand the work THIS department does
  • Take a big view of the work
  • How much unexpected?
  • How does the work come in?
  • How is the work prioritized?
  • How is the work be categorized?
  • Does the ticket system work?
  • Is everything in different mailboxes?
  • Is there a lot of unfinished work?
  • Do the people have the correct skills?
  • Dont gossip

  • A PMs first goals
  • 2 Understand the culture of the company group
  • Very Structured or Organic (unorganized)?
  • How are decisions made?
  • How are projects developed? Is the IT group
  • Is the technical lead the manager?
  • Is the manager only interested in their
  • Does the 500 pound gorilla co-operate?
  • Is there a us vs. them culture?
  • Is there a personality problem in the group?
  • Is there a class system within the group?
  • History of past PMs?
  • How is IT department funded?
  • Dont hit anyone

  • A PMs first goals
  • 3 Determine what can be done
  • List the problems you can solve (keep it
  • Feel comfortable there are problems that take
    years to fix
  • Make allies
  • Have short conversations with managers proposing
    solutions - consider funding anticipate their
    questions and have answers.
  • Dont yell at anyone -)

  • The PMs Job is to Co-ordinate
  • The PM must conform to the cultural methods of
  • Think creatively
  • The boss that only understood spreadsheets
  • The engineer that was too busy to meet with me
  • The management group that communicated best
    using PowerPoint just send me a deck
  • Microsoft - very regimented process -
  • Startup I went to the HW store every day.

  • Change Through Evolution
  • People change if they see a benefit for them
    not the company
  • Listen to the complaints are their solutions
    hidden in the complaints?
  • Listen to management Their view is NOT the same
    as the workers view
  • Dont be afraid to propose a change for a short
    time just to see how it works
  • Then dont be afraid to kill it if it did not
  • The reasons it died are part of your next

  • Steal any good idea to get organized!
  • Agile SW development methodologies can be used
    for projects like installing a new technology
  • DevOps methodologies can fix deployment issues
  • ITIL deployment process can fix bugs in
    production code
  • Daily Scrums improve communication dont need
    to standup
  • Do drawings of projects - feature based
  • Calendars online google is goodle
  • Write documentation put it in one place

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  • Typical IT Work Categories - Revisited
  • Fight Fires unexpected work Budget time for
    the unexpected ITIL escalation
  • User Services Small work requests tickets
    some of expected work Assign to one person?
  • Upgrading existing services - must be planned
    Perfect for Agile
  • Installing new services must be planned
    deadlines Agile
  • Care and feeding of site e.g. backups,
    infrastructure ITIL
  • All in all, lots of work users do not know about
  • PM should tell them inform users of plans far
    in advance
  • Planning, testing, configuration, stress testing,
  • PMs weekly progress reports

IT departments Choose your PM carefully MUST
MUST MUST understand sysadmin speak If not,
realize you will need to explain EVERYTHING to
them. Better to make them go away for a week and
read The Evi Book A large part of PM is human
engineering getting people to work TOGETHER
towards a common goal If they cannot work
together separate the work into distinct chunks
or knowledge areas get management to put
co-operation as a criteria for a raise
  • Tools I LOVE
  • https//
  • JIRA a great trouble ticket as well as a
    development ticket system
  • Confluence a wiki which ties into JIRA
  • Confluences Team calendar
  • Agile support
  • Spread Good Karma
  • Large Wall Calendar
  • Dont give up, but if you hate work start

  • Helpful Books Places
  • Time Management for System Adminstrators by
    Thomas A. Limoncelli
  • The Evi Book UNIX and Linux System
    Administration Handbook by Evi Nemeth et all
  • The Mythical Man-Month by Fredrick P. Brooks
  • PMP examinations
  • ITIL frameworks just google

Closing Advice An IT Project Manager MUST
understand what is going on. Read books at night
weekends just an hour or so will help
immensely. Try not to stab anyone Try to think
differently Steal any good idea Listen to people
- esp. what they like and dont like
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