CIOs are desperate for project managers.
But the talent, Forrester said, is in short supply.
Forrester analyst Samuel Bright, author of the report, said IT staff members, "particularly those in technical roles, struggle to make the transition to project management roles." According to Bright, they lack the training, experience and business knowledge to make the leap. Meanwhile, CIOs blame the educational institutions, complaining that academia is "failing to meet the needs of the enterprise by not emphasizing project management skills," he said.
"PMs are part artist, part technician and part administrator," Sowa said. Not to mention ambassadors.
Good project managers must constantly sell the project, Sowa said. They must keep all constituents in the loop, deal with changing customer demands and report back to upper management, which, he added, is getting its own status reports from the business side.
While project managers don't have to be technical experts in his view, they do need to understand the technology well enough to tout its benefits and explain its constraints to every user group that technology touches. Gifted communicators and good people-persons, the good project manager can also ride herd. Said Sowa: "PMs must manage change process with an iron fist."
After the gold rush
Not everyone is on the project manager bandwagon.
"I actually got rid of my project managers, one out the door and the other promoted to DBA/Data czar," wrote Mike Lehman in an email.
Lehman, who oversees IT operations at Hartland, Wis.-based midmarket chain Batteries Plus LLC, said project manager mania may be a big-company phenomenon. "I found that Batteries Plus was too small for someone to be just a project manager."
What he really needs are IT pros -- including business analysts, specialists (.Net developers) and "functional" leaders (managers of applications and operation) -- who have good project management skills. "We do train internally to develop better project management skills, and we expect our people to be well-rounded and wear many hats," Lehman said.
"An outsider would have a difficult time understanding the culture and nuances of each of the departments," Sowa said. Trust is a big component of a project's success. "Having a trusted individual within the organization is a tremendous help to the implementation of a system."
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer