Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Why Project Managers should NOT lead projects...

In the 90's, the role that led a project was known as project leader, however the title has been rightsized as the vast majority of the folks in this role don't have a clue about leading but could possibly be successful at managing if they stick to making checklists...

I bet if you were to ask the opinion of every business analyst, developer and architect, they would be in universal agreement that project management in large enterprises is headed in the wrong direction. Yes, we have our bodies of knowledge, our cliche best practices and most importantly our savage passion for repeatable process, but with all of this, we still forget the fundamentals.

Hybridism is a mental disorder that has permeated the thinking in large enterprises where architects and project managers are supposed to be peer roles in projects yet we haven't yet figured out that IT projects are best led by architects and not project managers.

We should never all dual leadership structures in project teams. Don't buy into extreme egalitarian nonsense. Someone must be appointed and supported to lead the charge, set the tone and manage the risk and deliverables to completion. If you happen to have a project manager with a technology background then you can compromise by putting this person in charge, otherwise architects should lead the assault.

Enterprises should always build project structure that supports the mitigation of risks that pose the greatest threat to the project. Nowadays, technical integration between a plethora of systems tends to be a recurring theme where architects are best positioned to mitigate risk.

If the greatest risk is software quality, engineering disciplines should be preeminent on the project, whereas if visual appeal and speed are most important, it may make some sense to put someone creative in charge.

Most of all, always heed the need for deliberate thought and design around team structure, leadership and project roles...

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