Have you ever bought a house, most of us have or will if we are lucky. Did you get legal help, and did you do all the running around surveys, checks etc yourself ? Probably not. Even if you consider yourself a legal boffin chance's are you still got a survey, or pest inspection report.

Why you can read the legal contract, you can see if the property has any pests ?

You did it because of what you don't know, and what's hidden, and because you don't live it and breath it everyday to know the pit falls, the timing and how to protect yourself from what your not being told, and because words like "if the for mentioned covenant is deemed is absolute on or before the first day preceding contract exchange, or is not executed on before the  21st day after exchange etc" leaves you not really sure about what why and when.

or maybe you built your own house, and had sperate contractors, who did half the job you  expected, after you wanted, which pushed the next task further behind, and you didn't end up getting what you want, paying more for it, because this wasn't included, neither was that, oh that's an extra ( called scope creep in IT).

Did you look after and manage these individual contracts building your house while you performed your normal 8:00 - 6:00 PM job. If you did then your normal job must have suffered, or you really aren't needed. Most of us in IT don't have the time to take on more as we have already taken on last weeks retrenched staff roles.

A good Project Manager will define for you and with you the scope, i.e. we are buying this house, this address, by then for $x, and he will collect all the information, costs timing, budgets, how you will move, with whom, the risks, the expected cash flow, who is going to pack your house, the items that you want to pack yourself, because you don't trust anyone else, or don't want the extra cost.

A good Project Manager will sit down with you and try to deliver the project the way you want, that suits you business processes, (or you wife in house example) with the foresight based on experience and understanding of alternatives and risks, on which you can make informed decisions.

As the project progresses instead of you chasseing the bank to find out if your finance is approved for your new house or if the contract has been prepared, the project manager will call you or provide a report showing when it will or was approved, and what will be done if the bank don't do it on time.

A good Project Manager will not bring you problems without solutions. If the house you are buying suddenly develops code problems or Telstra/Optus cant deliver on time, the reason should be determined, and a solution theorized for your approval prior to change.

A Project Manager will document the project in a form that you can understand from conceptual stages through to all phases until completion and on going support. You should expect reports providing you with enough information to satisfy yourself that project is on time and budget, and if not why not, and before it runs more than  5% over, not after.

There is not to many of us left now as lateral thinking outside the four dots doesn't receive a lot of encouragement. But we should be looking just beyond the house in our example even though it may not be "in scope". This is to insure that you have covered all aspects, and that you realize they are about to build high rise flats beside what was to be your prestigious house.

An excellent project manager will document exclusions, because often its what's missing that you don't know, that will bring you unstuck and lead into scope creep, an unfortunately common practice to reduce tender's bottom line figures.

With their knowledge based on experience and training, combined with any long term strategies which would have been disclosed at the beginning any potential to capitalize on future directions should be identified and their benefits assessed even if out of scope. While you might not be planning for dual occupancy with your new property, it might be nice to know that the land is of sufficient size, and if you move that pool your putting in four feet to the left you can still build a second residence up the back, or use your old system/network components as part of a DRP plan or development environment.

Many IT projects are driven by technology advancements rather than demonstrable business needs. technological advancements in isolation are not a good driver and the potential reduced cost of ownership while achievable in many cases realization can be difficult, or it may come at the cost of productivity, licensing, interoperability, training or support. The real drivers need to known and agreed in order to quantify the success or failure of any project.

All projects which can effect the bottom line of any business should have a contingency plan which should from part of the overall project, and not just an after thought. In many case's the contingency plan can form part of the migration, development, or testing strategy and need not be a dead cost if not required, it can in fact add value.


13/05/2002 04:39:08 PM