Why you should not save on a professional PM

The article will cite several terms, as well as examples of industries where illiterate management can lead to disaster.

This article will be interesting to all those who are ever going to assemble their own team, open their own business, or have already done it, but something went wrong. And yet, to all those who, for unknown reasons, the project cannot be completed for a long time.

Management (eng. Management - management, management, administration, management, ability to manage, own, manage) or production management [1] - development and creation (organization), the most effective use (management) and control of socio-economic systems. - Wikipedia .

Managers are called differently in different branches, in construction it may be the Chief Engineer of the Project, in rescue operations the senior officer in charge of the operation, in military operations the commander in chief.

Immediately make a reservation, in the article I combine the concepts of Product Management and Project Management, as in fact, product management is one of the subspecies of Project Management, in case the Project consists in the creation or development of a Product.

All professions related to management, contrary to the prevailing stereotypes, are highly paid, not because this is a “steep position”, but because the person occupying it assumes certain responsibility, and the more it is, the greater the amount of remuneration for the work done.

There is also a stereotype that “the boss is a slacker, all his subordinates work for him”. Yes, of course there are such “chiefs”, but they cannot be called professional leaders (managers).

And so, let us imagine a situation where a person without a specialized education, but with big ambitions in a “well-hung tongue”, is appointed as the Chief Engineer of the Skyscraper Construction Project. And even imagine that he has an IQ much higher than the average in the ward. Will he cope with the project, or will he be fired? Surprisingly, most often the answer - cope.

The world is arranged in such a way that in large projects, its colleagues and subordinates will definitely have a specialized education, work experience, and simply stretch the project on themselves. But only under the condition that they will not be disturbed, and all their recommendations will be accepted without question. In this case, the Manager - just a man - a symbol and actually performing the role of the Queen of Great Britain.

If the "Queen" starts to act up, and try to implement the project "in its own way", despite the existing canons and practices, most likely a fiasco will occur.
One of the problems with this development of events is the constantly growing crown of the “Queen”, and as a result - the deterioration of the attitude towards the “subjects”. As a result, the “subjects” leave the “kingdom”, and the “queen” considers himself to be a super-efficient manager.

The second problem is the impossibility of replacing the "so effective" manager. From which all his subordinates are constantly in a state of stress, because in fact all achievements are the work of their hands and brains.

But there are after all a large number of projects in which the role of a manager is played by one person, which excludes the possibility of performing basic tasks and taking on responsibility by subordinates. In this case, it all depends on this manager. Now ask yourself the question: would you fly on an airplane, even if it was assembled by a team of professional craftsmen, but under the guidance of a man who does not know anything about this industry?

Yes, he could fly on airplanes as a passenger, yes, he could even be interested in physics and have an idea of ​​how the plane still manages to fly into the sky. But he does not know even 10% of what even a university graduate who has received a specialized education, not to mention honored aircraft designers, knows.

So why in IT everyone so easily trusts project (product) management to specialists, not that they who do not have specialized education and experience, but who have not even attended courses on “PM for dummies” and who have not read a page from the book “PM book”.

In the current realities of the CIS, PM can become any. Especially, it is strange that the fastest way to become a PM is from manual QA engineer to PM. And don’t get it wrong, I’m not saying that everyone who became a PM without having studied this specialty at a university is not a professional. I say that in order to become a professional, you must acquire the appropriate knowledge and experience. And it is easier to do this through training than through unsuccessful and unfinished projects.

Yes, some people have a predisposition, or even “talent”, to rally the team around themselves, and to lead them to a common goal, the so-called “Leader's Genome”. But is that enough?

In the field of IT, a huge number of projects that have not been completed, for completely different reasons, from the termination of funding, to the banal reluctance of the project owner to bring everything to the end due to stretching for several months or even years. And personally, I am sure that in 90% of cases (we are not talking about projects for inventing something fundamentally new, on which whole R & D departments are working), the failure of the project lies on the conscience of a non-professional PM or For some reason, played his role in the project.

This also applies to the owners (customers) of the project, who believe that if they are crazy enough to invent a brilliant idea, or develop a business plan, they will easily cope with the project (product) management function. The success of such undertakings rather rare than the rule.

All those who at least once invented their own idea are well aware that there is no limit to perfection, and the owner, the ideologue, the customer of the project - constantly complements it and cannot stop. Because of this, backlog is growing during the implementation of the project, and therefore the deadlines are shifted, and therefore we don’t get into the budget. This is how property owners ruin their idea.
The role of the PM in this case is to clearly organize the project implementation process. From writing TK, which will not be changed by more than 10% from the moment of the start of development, to evaluation of tasks by time and complexity of implementation, for accurate calculation of the project budget. Repeatedly there were cases when the involvement of a hired professional PM, for a project transferred to an outsource, reduced the cost of the project by half, due to a rational description of the tasks, and a correctly written TK. Also, for almost any project, at the “everything is 80% ready” stage, but for some reason already half a year at this point, attracting a professional PM allows you to successfully complete the project in 3-4 weeks.

And now, a few numbers:

  • In our reality, a professional PM on the market on average costs from 2 to 5 thousand USD. per month, full time, depending on experience, field of activity and additional skills that he possesses. But we remember that the PM can work on the outsourcing hourly or piece by piece, by agreement.
  • The average budget of the project at the moment - about 50 thousand cu (Now we are not talking about a two-button application on Android or a business card site).

Draw conclusions. You invest 50 thousand cu in the development, which is not a fact that will end on time, not a fact that does not exceed the budget, and not a fact that it will give you what you need. But you have the option to additionally invest 10%, in return, having received full confidence that the project will be delivered on time, in accordance with the specifications and requirements described in the ToR, and also with a fixed budget.

If we really really want to save money, and manage it yourself, you can hire a PM at the beginning, to prepare the TOR and draw up a development plan, and finally, to bring the project in line with the requirements. But be careful, the basic rule for the interim period for you will be: "Whatever happens, follow the plan.". Otherwise, the temptation to improve the project in the process will prevail, and you will get all the above problems.

Professional PM is not a panacea for all diseases, but definitely a cure for hemorrhoids.

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