Project Managers

  • We seem to have had a particularly bad run with project managers at our company over the last couple of years and i was wondering if any of you guys have had similar experiences or maybe we're handling them the wrong way. 

    We mainly do work for medium sized medical companies working with insurance, private hospitals etc. and every project manager at the client side we have had for the last couple of years has verged on completely incompetent.  Sometimes it seems like they've looked around the office and said "who hasn't got anything to do?" and made the person with the free time a project manager.  It seems though that often they are probably idle because their position is superfluous or they are too incompetent to do be trusted with anything else.  The other half seem to be experienced in project management to some degree but never in the IT field, usually in the health sector.

    The problems seem to continuously arise because of complete computer illiteracy, we are constantly having issues with small things. eg. just a simple sending of a url and username/password to test a system result in a flurry of phone calls and confusion.  The UAT testing is usually dismal because the project manager in charge has no idea what is actually involved in the testing process.  We even have problems explaining the simplest concepts to the project manager and they seem to have no conception of the complexity involved in developing software, ie. entirely changing the functionality of something three quarters of the way through dev because it was never thought out properly.

    We could give them more advice i guess but i'm slammed as it is and i don't really see it as my job to teach them their job, especially seeing as google is packed with resources for IT project management.

    just a few quick examples of time wasting things we've dealt with in the last while

    people copying an extra space at the end of a password in an email and not being able to log in(not a wtf in itself but when the same person calls you several times a week with that problem it gets a bit old)

    I had to talk some through how to highlight a url in text and paste it into their browser to the point of having to explain what highlighting text is and how to do it in excruciating detail

    Note the people doing these things aren't the end users, these are the project managers/testers/major stakeholders

    There's WTF's aplenty and some will be coming to the side bar soon such as "the great 2 logins dilemma of 2008" but what i was really wondering is has anyone had a similar experience? and do you have any tips for preserving your sanity/making life easier because i could really use them about now.

  •  Thankfully I've never worked with anyone that clueless. Hell, I can send a url to our accountant and he'd know how to use it.

    This is clearly a problem with the people at the top assuming that someone can be a project manager without having the slightest idea about the work the people he manages do. They probably see  management like something that fits equally well everywhere, like a Lego brick. Managing developers, truck drivers, a hospital, it's all the same apparently. 

  • @element[0] said:

    people copying an extra space at the end of a password in an email and not being able to log in(not a wtf in itself but when the same person calls you several times a week with that problem it gets a bit old)

    Awesome, this one's a major fail.  I'm impressed in the sense that I can see a clueless person easily doing it, and me wanting to slap the crap out of him the 3rd time he did it.

    Having said that, we don't have PM's that bad either, only users.   Our most clueless pm's just waste developer time on conference calls that don't apply to the developer and passing software problem logs to the wrong developers.  Annoying, but not major failures.  Send some PMI literature to your organizations upper management and see if they get the hint.

  • Sounds like the projects are simply set up wrong. Why is the project manager provided by the client in the first place? Legal requirements? Corporate politics? Or just because "that's the way we've always done it"?

    The actual project manager should be someone in your company who knows how IT development projects work. The person on the client side should just be a customer representative; they can sill be formally the superior of the project manager if necessary. It is then the project manager's responsibility (amongst other things) to make sure that person delivers the required input and teach them what they can and cannot expect from an IT development project. You may still have to deal with their technical illiteracy, but their job is not to be technical, their job is to provide domain knowledge, requirements and feedback.

  •  Actually the project manger must be that person who compeletly knows the scops, land marks and mile stones of the project, He or she must fully understand the technology they have at hand and effiecient use of there resources, Unfortunatly most of the organization hand over the projects to those who are not even irrelavent to that particular project but also proves a constant source of distubance to theteam as well

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