by Chris Moore

Project World – Risk or Reward

Jun 25, 20073 mins
IT Leadership

The information and technology world is very complex. Every day we are bombarded with more news on how to do IT safer, better, faster, with sox and without sox, COBIT, ITIL, SOA, EA, and the list goes on, and on and on… Is it really all that complicated? Can we not get back to a time when life was simple; is that achievable? When you boil it all down, after portfolio management, operational excellence and project management, I believe there are two simple realms in the IT domain. I like to call one “Operations World” and the other “Project World.” Navigating these realms can be a challenge at the best of times. Many of you do that on a daily basis – kudos to you – it is not easy. I want to talk to those of you in Project World, now. Operations World people, please don’t disconnect, read on, this is also for you. A letter to my friends in Project World: Yours is a well defined place, your project charters and project plans tell you exactly what needs to be achieved, when and how, with whom and what and why. Project World has definition, it has structure and, most of all, it has control. Looking over at Operations World, you see your friends who are trying to “get things done,” but are chased by system glitches, bugs and nasty viruses. Not you. You are in a nice safe place; The Project Office, and you do not have the day-to-day, just the milestones and project status updates. You feel recognition when you accomplish a milestone, you gather around and celebrate, in community. It feels great. You get to interact with the business, the departments and divisions that you serve. That is fantastic as you get to see how things are done, how services are delivered, how the organizations works. You almost have enough experience to be in the business, and you are actually thinking about looking at opportunities there when the project is over. Your knowledge of the organization is no longer a mile wide and 12 inches deep. You have breadth and depth, and wow does it ever feel good to be out there solving business problems, in partnership with the business. It just doesn’t get any better than this. Then, when the project is complete, you hold your breath as it goes into production and on to a post-production, warranty phase. Then the dreaded: “What’s next;

is it another project, or is it back to Operations World?” If you take on another project, then you have another season of well defined activities; if it’s back to Operations World, then it’s back into the day-to-day of standard operating procedures and keeping the lights on. Do you find your reward in Project World, or do you find great risk – not project risks, they can be accommodated for – what about personal risk? When you eventually go back to Operations World, will you be ready; will you need to be retrained; will you need re-orientation? If you stay in Project World too long, will promotions in operational management pass you by because you do not have the operational experience? Have you decided what your career path is, have you taken the reins on destiny; or are you expecting to have that decided for you? Do you know where you are most effective, right now in your career? Spending time in Project World is exciting but, at the end of the day, it is those in Operations World that keep your project running once it jumps realms.