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  1. #1
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    What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    May seem like a dumb and obvious question, but at the moment I'm working with project managers who don't even make their own GANTT charts or task sheets. Some of them don't even know the dependencies or who is doing the coding on their projects. It's really pathetic.

    Has anyone else ever had this experience?

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  2. #2
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    Oh yes, I have had this experience - makes you wonder how they ever got into the position in the first place, doesn't it?

    A few years ago, I went into an organisation as a Project Management consultant to help with their PM processes and was appalled by the lack of knowledge of the PMs in basic project management. I designed basic processes, designed and gave a 2 week training course for them and then encouraged membership of the Associatoin for Project Management. It made a lot of difference to the quality of the projects.

    On the other hand, I have been in organisations that have used Project Planners who will do the planning for Project Managers, so the PMs do not need to know how to use a Gantt chart, etc. The theory here, which makes some sense, is that the PMs should concentrate on managing the project, not managing the Gantt chart.

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  3. #3
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by peternairn:


    On the other hand, I have been in organisations that have used Project Planners who will do the planning for Project Managers, so the PMs do not need to know how to use a Gantt chart, etc. The theory here, which makes some sense, is that the PMs should concentrate on managing the project, not managing the Gantt chart.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yeah, but should QA or dev be doing the Gantt charts? We don't have "project planners" here.


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  4. #4
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by qanerdinengland:
    Yeah, but should QA or dev be doing the Gantt charts? We don't have "project planners" here.


    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The answer here is "Yes"!

    Both QA and dev should do Gantt charts, dev for the development tasks, QA for the QA tasks.

    Then you get together and determine (inter) dependencies and, hopefully, get a joined up plan.



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  5. #5
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by peternairn:
    The answer here is "Yes"!

    Both QA and dev should do Gantt charts, dev for the development tasks, QA for the QA tasks.

    Then you get together and determine (inter) dependencies and, hopefully, get a joined up plan.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    OK. Here's the punchline. I was saving this.

    We don't have MS Project on our machines. Only the project managers have it.



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  6. #6
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by qanerdinengland:
    OK. Here's the punchline. I was saving this.

    We don't have MS Project on our machines. Only the project managers have it.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Why do you think you need MS Project to do planning? You can do planning using MS Excel, whiteboard, piece of paper and a pen. In fact, I would argue, you should use a paper and a pen before you use a tool (which is all MS Project is, it does not plan for you) which produces pretty pictures and tells you some interesting things about your plan.

    Unfortunately, some people fall into the trap of thinking that when they are using MS Project they are planning - they are not. MS Project helps to do the scheduling, not the planning.

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  7. #7
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by peternairn:
    Why do you think you need MS Project to do planning? You can do planning using MS Excel, whiteboard, piece of paper and a pen. In fact, I would argue, you should use a paper and a pen before you use a tool (which is all MS Project is, it does not plan for you) which produces pretty pictures and tells you some interesting things about your plan.

    Unfortunately, some people fall into the trap of thinking that when they are using MS Project they are planning - they are not. MS Project helps to do the scheduling, not the planning.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't think Excel makes Gantt charts.

    Plus...why should QA and dev have to do a project manager's job? Why should this be done with NO input from a project manager? Of course we should work together to hash out a schedule, but we're to the point where we're meeting without the project manager present and he's always the last to know.

    The question we're asking ourselves is do we need one and why do we even have them if they're not involved with QA or dev on ANY level?



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  8. #8
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    I agree with Linda - the overall responsibility should lie with the Project Manager. Without knowing what the Terms of Reference are for qanerdinengland's Project Managers it is not possible to criticise, however, any TOR should include planning the project - I can't think of a situation where that would not be true.

    Even if the PM is not involved, QA should still create their own plans, otherwise it is not possible to know what you can do in the allotted time, how many staff are required, etc, etc. That is not the PMs job, it is QAs job - QA need it for their own purposes, almost as a by-product (from the QA standpoint) it is input to the overall plan.

    One final thing, MS Excel is quite serviceable as a scheduling tool and will provide a Gantt chart (or Gantt chart-like picture)if you need it to. For test execution, where I am planning to the half day sometimes, I find it more useful than MS Project. With very little work you can also get resource over/under utilisation figures out of it too.

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  9. #9
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    I think Peternairn is right. Each different area should formulate a plan for their area of expertise and then get together to determine/negotiate dependencies and milestone dates.

    I would not want a PM determining QA/QC plans, schedules, and timeframes. Each area should contribute to the Master Plan; the PM should manage to the Master Plan, making adjustments as necessary. The individual plans that feed the Master plan need not be in MS Project format.

    I do think, however, that formulating the overall Master Plan, based on the individual estimates from each area of expertise, should lie with the PM.

    - Linda

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  10. #10
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    Re: What IS a project manager\'s responsibility?

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by peternairn:
    I agree with Linda - the overall responsibility should lie with the Project Manager. Without knowing what the Terms of Reference are for qanerdinengland's Project Managers it is not possible to criticise, however, any TOR should include planning the project - I can't think of a situation where that would not be true.

    Even if the PM is not involved, QA should still create their own plans, otherwise it is not possible to know what you can do in the allotted time, how many staff are required, etc, etc. That is not the PMs job, it is QAs job - QA need it for their own purposes, almost as a by-product (from the QA standpoint) it is input to the overall plan.

    One final thing, MS Excel is quite serviceable as a scheduling tool and will provide a Gantt chart (or Gantt chart-like picture)if you need it to. For test execution, where I am planning to the half day sometimes, I find it more useful than MS Project. With very little work you can also get resource over/under utilisation figures out of it too.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    The QA organization in this company now writes test plans containing just that sort of information because I argued and fought for it. Previously, I was the only one here who did it. I made it my goal that within three months of my arrival, everyone in QA would be required to produce a test plan for every project. That's now true, though it wasn't before I arrived. However, these test plans only pertain to QA's effort on a project.

    I simply refuse to step outside of this boundary and do a PM's job for him/her. A PM making almost twice as much as I do should be capable of compiling this information in a master plan. He/she should be capable of keeping track of his/her own project. He/she should know what is going on in his/her project; he/she should know if there's a delay and why; he/she should know about dependencies or should know who to ask; he/she should know if there's a serious issue impeding progress.

    None of the above are true in this company.


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    [This message has been edited by qanerdinengland (edited 03-12-2003).]

 

 
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