Wednesday, April 09, 2008


How many Project Managers does your IT shop have?

Do you work in an IT shop where there are two project managers for every developer?

Folks in human resources do a wonderful job of tracking the salaries for specific positions within a geographic location or industry vertical. Have you noticed though that while they are babbling about work/life balance, none of them ever track the ratios elsewhere of project managers to developers which is the leading cause for lack of balance?

Wouldn't it be curious if we all stopped focusing on worst practices encouraged by CMMi and instead indexed ourselves against top IT shops such as Microsoft? Would it be interesting to understand the ratio of project managers to developers in Microsoft vs our own shops? I think we all know what the numbers would show but some speculation is in order as to why.

Some would argue that the differences are in the business model. I would argue that the difference is more in the folks who run the business. For example, you wouldn't need to explain simple IT concepts to Bill Gates but may need to in your own shop. Within an accounting firm, the partner usually worked themselves up through the ranks and therefore junior accountants aren't spending time explaining why one needs to do double entry.

Would work/life balance come into harmony if there were minimum criteria in order to be an IT executive? It has to be more than simply managing perceptionbusiness expectations and needs to incorporate something about actually knowing more about the details of which you manage.

Developers are the step-child of most IT shops nowadays and have to deal with incompetent project managers, idiots that come up with colorful but otherwise incomplete architectures and on top of that are being increasingly coerced into methodologies that are crap while having to fix up code written by freshers in second-class countries such as India. No wonder college kids don't want to become computer science majors anymore.

Other than a conversation on PMBOK or other methodology approaches, what guidance would you give to the project managers you work with?

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