2017-09 Project Management

What is Project Management? How do SysAdmins provide support to Project Managers? What kind of projects directly affect SysAdmins? Do Non-Profit SysAdmins manage projects? What tools are available for project management? What server-based software exists for project management? Who provides outsourced project management? What standards exist for project management? What certification?

Let’s bring together SysAdmins and Project Managers to discuss the state of the art. As always, we’ll have round table discussion to ask questions, provide expertise, and share stories of past experiences.

–Bob Jonkman & Marc ParĂ©

  • Project Management/Meeting Notes 2017-09-18

Resources

Project Management | Techsoup Canada

The Project Management Association of Canada

Canada’s Technology Triangle Chapter | PMI | Project Management Institute

Wikipedia:Project Management


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Meeting Notes

  • Sponsorships
    • We like NetSquared and TechSoup, but don’t want the KWNPSA direction dictated by the sponsors
    • Stickers were distributed!
  • NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – good tie-in with Document Storage
    • Discussing backups and formatting and document semantics
  • File Formats — tie-in with Document Freedom Day in March
  • Introductions – SysAdmins, Typesetters, Software Testers, Software Developers, Teachers
    • Not a single Project Manager, but all these projects!
What is Project Management?
  • What is a project?
    • Has a start and deadline, must have a goal, and measure of success
    • Certain kinds of reports, eg. financial statistics, not part of the normal booking routine, eg. grant proposal, eg. special audit
    • Contrast with regular operations, which may still have a continuous improvement goal
  • Always implies collaboration, eg. a book
  • Tasks of project management
    • Eliminate redundancies
    • Optimizing the whole project, costs, resources,
    • Set constraints and scope of the project
    • Scheduling
    • Distributing the responsibilities of labour and resources
SysAdmin role in Project Management
  • Sometimes SysAdmin is the Project Manager
  • Some projects start internally, others are imposed externally
    • Server upgrades, reports and time estimates for operations
  • Small companies may not have large project teams, people wear many hats
  • Sometimes no diff between PM, Team Leader, Department Head
    • Who are the “boots on the ground”?
    • Again, communication flows are important, making sure it happens smootly.
    • Avoid animosity by keeping communications open. There’s not software for that
    • Even software like Slack doesn’t achieve this, needs people-to-people communication. Needs change, software doesn’t keep up.
  • Time estimates are horrible to figure out in IT
    • Need buffer time,
    • SysAdmin will have a good idea of time needed to perform tasks.
Software
  • Manual techniques like sticky notes and whiteboards
    • Gets transferred to software
    • Requires stakeholders in a meeting, maybe video conference, not asynchronous tools like e-mail
      • But getting contributions in a live meeting may be tough. After the meeting people finally got involved by sending e-mail
      • Keeping the tone collegial is everyone’s task, but bridge-building is definitely a skill for PMs
  • Concurrence: Multiple people may need to access (Read/Write) the project data
    • Is concurrence necessarily the best data management practice?
      • We had vigorous discussion on the merits of document concurrency
        • Good for managing sub-tasks, not good for overall project coherence
    • Lose focus of the project with too many simultaneous changes
  • Software licencing can be onerous — cost of software, seat licenses, and audits
Specific apps
  • Symantec Timeline circa 1998.
  • Microsoft Project
  • Project Libre
    • Open Source has XML data format, anyone can read the data without having the software
Project Management Standards and Certification
Stories
  • Management dictates timelines, despite project management best practices
  • Management dictates “buy from the lowest bidder”, not based on project requirements
  • Management dictates “Put the dev stuff into production”, not following proper dev-test-prod protocols
  • There is a gap for project managers that have one foot in the software dev world and another foot in the communications field
    • PMs spend a lot of time speaking to both developers and management
    • Need to teach better communication skills to developers to speak to Management
      • although Management may not have the communications skills to listen to developers
  • Discussion on the “Mythical Man Month”, the book of project management gotchas
    • Skunkworks may be more efficient and effective than following the full Project Management procedures
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