Project Management Central

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Topics: Agile, IT Project Management, Leadership
IT Project Management -- what tech should a PM be most familiar with?
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I've managed sales projects and development of products partnering with outside vendors. I am constantly reminded that IT Project Management is the most lucrative.... I am fluent utilizing most of the various software like SharePoint, Confluence, MS Project and Visio and Jiva - but to most PMs working with IT, what kind of Software Development IT knowledge should I know as it relates to the Software Development Life Cycle?
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Really depends on the organization.

Having an understanding of how applications work; business, database, presentation layers, etc., plus a solid understanding of how [relational] databases work and the relation with the application, is a primary area to start with. Also a recognition of the difference b/t software and programming languages.

There is much to it, but having a solid understanding of those foundational principles would provide a good base to get started; at the very least.
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I would add that a working knowledge of software repositories helps. Since you say you know SharePoint, you should already be aware of how document versioning works. This is similar to the way most software repositories work. Also, consider using your Sales background to your advantage, especially when it comes to Requirements Planning. This can be tricky for many Development teams, as getting requirements often involves building a rapport with the Business team and/or end users. The technical parts can all be taught, but being able to effectively communicate and build trust takes skill.
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1 reply by William Washinski II
Oct 30, 2018 11:22 PM
William Washinski II
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I appreciate that, as I am recognizing that much of my sales background puts me in multiple advantages in relation to some areas of Project Management.
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From my experience at least most IT PMs have limited or no technical IT knowledge and are unable to do any of the jobs of the project team members.

I have recently heard about a lady that has starter her career in IT Project Management with absolutely no IT experience of any kind and no project management experience, she just had a Master's degree in project management with outstanding academic results. Probably the academic results counted for the hiring.

Her colleague (which I know) didn't tell me but I think she was hired as a project management intern before she was given her first project to manage. Her colleague also told me that she manages the least important and least complex projects from the department.

The conclusion is that for employers the technical knowledge is not important when hiring IT PMs. You probably only heave to learn at the most basic level the activities the project teams are doing so that you can monitor and report the progress. You also need to learn at the basic level the terminology the experts are using in order to understand what they are telling you.

Not all the IT projects involve software development, the majority probably don't, so you may have to learn at the basic level things related to operating systems, servers, networks, etc. Also understanding things from the IT user perspective would help.
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Since almost all IT project includes data storage and integration I would say as a minimum have a good understanding of DB basics (SQL, schemas etc.), messaging (store/forward, subscription, queuing etc.) and middleware platforms. Then some application server and network protocol basis will also be beneficial. I won't be too fussed about development knowledge such as IDE's, frameworks etc.
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Prototyping is one of the important tools that could help with software developnent projects and it will save tons of time in gathering requirements
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Use code generation tools. In case there is the possibility that code is automatically generated from the design, this possibility must be exploited.
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In software development, an area not to underestimate is testing and defect management. As such, I would at least try to get some knowledge of software testing tools (be it functional testing, performance or load testing) as well as commonly used defect tracking solutions such as Jira or ClearQuest.

Good and effective testing can play a significant role in product acceptance, so understanding the basics will assist in planning for this phase of the project.
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I concur with my colleagues here. In my experience, in order to succeed it's important to know about various platforms and databases.
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Oct 19, 2018 2:00 PM
Replying to Glenn Chundrlek
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I would add that a working knowledge of software repositories helps. Since you say you know SharePoint, you should already be aware of how document versioning works. This is similar to the way most software repositories work. Also, consider using your Sales background to your advantage, especially when it comes to Requirements Planning. This can be tricky for many Development teams, as getting requirements often involves building a rapport with the Business team and/or end users. The technical parts can all be taught, but being able to effectively communicate and build trust takes skill.
I appreciate that, as I am recognizing that much of my sales background puts me in multiple advantages in relation to some areas of Project Management.
Network:175



So where can I start? You need to know everything right now! Kidding. I would suggest if you're in an organization begin by selecting the technologies along the SDLC process your teams are working with and learn, mentored on, those. It helps if you have other technical people around you. Asl questions. As you gain some knowledge expand along the process learning more and more as you go along. One thing I've seen is that some PMs with little IT / Technical experience learn enough through their own efforts that they can successfully set in on requirements, or design/dev sessions, with QA teams and understand where they are heading. Eventually, you'll be able to ask questions because PMs need to ask questions.

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