Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On Architects and Project Managers...

As our IT environment has grown more distributed, so hasn't the need to fragment the support of the assets grown? It used to be a business customer negotiated with an application manager (with vested interest in an application) to get work done. Nowadays a project may get assigned a PM that is not familiar with an application or the technologies in use. This is indeed a failure of the PMO mentality. James McGovern makes an interesting argument about PMs ... and other bloggers allude to a link between the technical background of a PM and their ability to be successful. PMs often get assigned to projects where a new solution or significant system changes is occurring. It is not their job to deliver on the promise of SOA or balance the impact of the changes to the IT portfolio--nor are they rewarded for such. That's the architect's role. There is goodness in a healthy tension between an architect and a PM on a project. Done correctly there is balance like Ying and Yang. Their priorities are just different. PMs need to get the function deliverables complete, on-time, with minimum number of resources and come under budget. Architects concern themselves with non-functional qualities, least amount of design change to meet the need, and implications to the greater environment. PMs need to be selected for their capability to deliver...the same reason you would not assign a DBA to write java code (no offense to those with both talents), you would not take a business-oriented PM ... and put them on an SOA refactoring project. Bottom-line it’s the right person for the right job. I know PMs that think like architects and I know architects that work like PMs. That's what makes them special.


Blogger James McGovern said...

Your reasoning is flawed. Just because IT environments become more distributed doesn't automagically equate to fragmenting of support.

Good architectures incorporate the distinction between management and execution. You can still have centralized management along with distributed execution...

7:21:00 AM  
Blogger JT said...

There is a important difference between what we CAN have in your 2nd paragraph and what HAS happened in multiple companies. There is a hidden side-effect in moving along the paradigm shift to SOA: you most likely expand before you contract. As academics we can paint a picture that shows another path...but its complexity, risk, and cost are seldomed assumed by a company.

9:06:00 AM  
Blogger Robert McIlree said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Robert McIlree said...

your 'diabtribe' got referenced, as did Mr. McGovern's...:)

10:50:00 AM  
Blogger JT said...

Thanks for the reference and taking the time to comment. If you don't mind I'd like to add you to my blog roll. Good stuff!

2:11:00 PM  

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