I was reading a story early this morning about a failed database project in the UK – and it was a big failure. The basic gist was that the project was managed badly – so badly that a Member of Parliment made the statement that “they delivered a master class in sloppy project management”. Now, you have to be really messed up when the government is able to claim you don’t have good project management!
And this rings true with what I’ve seen in many large projects as well – project management is a skill that a lot of IT people need help with. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to pull off a multi-year project. To solve this problem I normally break big project down into smaller deliverables, and stay flexible to ensure that the end result can change without breaking when things come up. Because they always do.
I would imagine that if you spoke with all parties involved in this story, they would each tell you they did their part correctly. While that might not be completely true, most people do try and accomplish what they’ve been asked to do. So how is it possible that everyone does the right thing, but the project fails? Simple – the project wasn’t planned or managed properly.
So add that to your list of things to learn. Along with T-SQL, database disaster recovery, maintenance and SANs, you need to understand at least a little about Project Management. After all, you don’t want one of these kinds of news reports on a project you’re involved with.