Blog Archive

With the Rugby World Cup kicking off in September 2015, the time is right to pick up on a blog I wrote nearly a year ago.

In ‘Ever thought of our business as a rugby game’ I compared projects to the sport of rugby. But one article did not seem enough to justify the comparison. And my passion for rugby as a sport, and my admiration for the players being true athletes urged me to write a sequel.

Teamwork is moving forward as one line

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Brussels, a sunny spring afternoon. A nice looking sales manager wearing a perfect suit is selling his 10th IT project to catch his periodic quota. We don’t know his name because this is not a Delaware Consulting case. The budget estimation is too low. He made some promises towards the customer without any exact knowledge and without a double-check with specialists. The customer signs a contract for an IT project thinking it’s all in. But not realizing that several topics will need additional Time & Material effort. Moreover, the phasing is rather vague and several people have unrealistically high expectations.

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Do we need project management in IT projects? Of course. But we have to manage the amount of management needed and simplify the way to perform it. The purpose of this blog is to share some ideas and impressions about the needed degree of formalization. And in fact, project management is more or less an art. You have to feel it. Like so many other things in life. Amongst others, the correct mix of formalization and freedom leads to a lovely piece of art.

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Offshore development, we need it, but is it worth the pain?

When doing IT projects, the use of people in various locations across the world has become common practice for a number of reasons:

  • Cost savings: this is often the main reason to look for team members in different regions where the people cost is lower. Doing certain tasks or even the majority of the work abroad helps you keep the budget under control.
  • Scalability: sometimes there are just not enough people available locally and your team needs to be extended.

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The World Cup 2014 for soccer is already a thing from the past. I look forward to another World Cup being held in 2015: rugby!

The rugby term ‘scrum’ is already well-known in the world of IT. The use of the term is embedded in several aspects of project management. It basically means sticking your heads together to brainstorm or to provide updates on specific topics. But did you know there are more aspects of rugby that can be compared to our business?

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In the first game Belgium had to play during this year’s World Cup, the bench saved our match. Only when Mertens and Fellaini were sent to the field,  the Red Devils were able to score. During the preparation of this World Cup, the composition of the team of trainer Marc Wilmots was criticized a lot. Benteke was injured and could not join the World Cup. Wilmots chose to take Origi to Brazil. A lot of people wondered why he made this choice, as Origi is only 19 years old and did not show much of his potential until now.

But then, during the match against Russia, Origi really showed what he was worth. This young man scored the decision making goal in the 88th minute of the game, and became our national hero.

Choosing the right team is very important during this World Cup. It is a difficult task for the coach. This choice can decide if you win a game or lose it. In project management, it is the same. You choose a team that helps you deliver a project. Of course, you have to take this with a grain of salt, as you are also dependent on the availability of the people.

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I have been working as a project manager for 5 years now. More than once, I heard people discuss the following question:

in our IT world, does a project manager need to have an understanding of the business of his customer and of the technical background of his project?

Each project manager has his own opinion on this. Some cannot imagine running a project without a broad or high-level comprehension of the business and technology/product behind. While for others, this does not matter at all.

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