I don't think I want to be a PM

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pmbro
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I don't think I want to be a PM

Postby pmbro » Thu 02 Apr 2015 10:27 am

I've been working in a PMO for almost 2 years. I started as an intern in summer 2013 and I got hired full time last year after graduation. I started out with basic HTML/CSS skills and I ended up carving a niche for myself as the technical guy in a department of mostly non-technical people where I'd create tools that improve business processes. Most of my projects were informal and involved only me or a small group of people. I learned how to program working on my projects and so far my most advanced projects are multi-user MS access applications created with heavy VBA and SQL.

I finally got the chance to work on a formal project and I don't really enjoy it and I'm questioning if I'm on the right path. We're implementing an enterprise-level system and right now we're just gathering requirements and evaluating different vendors and products. My role has been involved in the analysis of different vendors/products and build vs buy analysis. I understand the importance of planning and all that but I feel really bored just sitting through meetings and just talking and documenting stuff. I feel much more stimulated creating things and solving technical problems.

My boss makes project management sound like this prestigious career but I feel like it's not really my cup of tea based on what I've seen so far. Is project management really all about scheduling meetings, sending out communication e-mails, status reports and discussing requirements? Should I try to find a different job? Right now my job title is "Associate Project Analyst (PMO)" and I do a mix of technical and administrative stuff but I feel more comfortable focusing on technical stuff. Can my skills translat eto something like a Business Intelligence Analyst and/or BI developer?

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kwalford
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Re: I don't think I want to be a PM

Postby kwalford » Thu 02 Apr 2015 11:46 am

Hi,

Interesting post.

My first observation is that you seem to be in a admin oriented role which is exactly what it says on the tin, admin! Your current project role seems to be assisting a PM rather than the PM itself. When you get involved in engaging with stakeholders, problem solving and seeing business change then I am sure you will get more fulfillment.

It does appear that you skills sets are more suited to an engineer role (a 'doer') rather than a PM role (a coordinator). You seem like someone a project manager would issue a work package to for you to complete.

Does that sound a fair assessment?

Thanks
Kit

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begeland
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Re: I don't think I want to be a PM

Postby begeland » Thu 02 Apr 2015 7:15 pm

I think Kit has a good angle on this. And I also agree with you that a Business Analyst role may be a great fit - more of a tech liaison between the PM and the tech lead and/or tech team. However, never underestimate the value of a technical background for a PM leading tech projects. And it changes everything for that PM. Not that they should really be hands-on, but you end up with more daily involvement in the project, more involved in estimating and evaluating tasks and requirements than just coordinating/scheduling PM who is a fish out of water on the technology side. Plus, PM is more than just scheduling and communication. That's a lot of it, but there is a lot of strategy, negotiation, customer engagement, scope management (change orders/estimating), and input to the tech solution - if you have the background/expertise which you do. Don't give up yet.

Brad

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Re: I don't think I want to be a PM

Postby Tony » Fri 03 Apr 2015 2:39 pm

begeland wrote:However, never underestimate the value of a technical background for a PM leading tech projects. And it changes everything for that PM. Not that they should really be hands-on, but you end up with more daily involvement in the project, more involved in estimating and evaluating tasks and requirements than just coordinating/scheduling PM who is a fish out of water on the technology side. Plus, PM is more than just scheduling and communication. That's a lot of it, but there is a lot of strategy, negotiation, customer engagement, scope management (change orders/estimating), and input to the tech solution - if you have the background/expertise which you do. Don't give up yet.

Brad


In my experience it has often been helpful for me to take a back seat on the technical side of things and focus on the PM work (scheduling, tracking, removing barriers for the team) so that the technical experts can do their work with minimum disruption. Helps bolster their morale and keeps me out of the weeds - which I think you covered when you said "not that they should be hands-on" - we agree there.

As always - depends on the team and the project.

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dmitry21csm
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Re: I don't think I want to be a PM

Postby dmitry21csm » Sat 04 Apr 2015 4:31 pm

Yes, project management is about co-ordination, communications, participation in meetings and reporting. But as the project is running you have to deal with the issues that occur during implementation, with risks and deviations from the original plans. We do our best during the planning stage to foresee and to avoid various impediments, but in reality things often go different and you have to step in and steer the project back on course, dealing with many different aspects all the time. And sometimes you have to act as a fire brigade :) As you have all the responsibility for the project success (or failure). From the project perspective it is good when it's boring. That's an indicator that everything goes fine.

The level of your involvement and your activities may depend on the project size, team structure and amount of participants. If it is something massive then you may feel like a cog in a machine. So maybe you just need a different project to deal with ;)

But If you don't like to deal with people, or dislike co-ordination or acting as an intermediary then you might need to consider to develop your technical skills further and join the other side.

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Re: I don't think I want to be a PM

Postby stonesfan » Thu 16 Apr 2015 10:57 pm

I'd say most people start off in a technical based role and make a transition into project management in their mid 30's to mid 40's. That's just speaking from experience using friends and colleagues as an example. And it only includes IT project management too. Most usually feel 'too old' to be doing tech support and find overseeing and organising comes more naturally at that age than scratching your head trying to fix IT issues.

I'd say just do what you think is right. It may be that you are better off working in a project support role for a couple of years before making the move to a fully blown PM. Or, as you have alluded to, if you prefer the 'hands on' work, then stick to the more technical stuff. Sounds like you are able to make a good living with your technical skill set.

Good luck.

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Re: I don't think I want to be a PM

Postby gmstah » Sat 25 Apr 2015 10:14 pm

There's a lot more to PM'img than just sending emails and scheduling meetings. There's a huge amount of less obvious things to consider when managing a projects, from social, environmental to cultural and political agendas. A good PM recognises all of these and works within the dynamic to deliver success. Check out a book called "Taming the Bull", it gives you an insight into past failures and all the less obvious things to consider when avoiding such failures, may be helpful?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00WO3P4T8?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

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