Content author: John Patton, Sirius Project Management Services Manager

Part 3 in a series of articles looking at the common causes of project failure, and the mitigation strategies that can be employed by effective Project Management. Recent statistics are not encouraging:
• 31% of IT projects will be cancelled before completion
• 52.7% of completed projects cost over their original estimates
• Only 1 in 8 projects is considered truly successful

Inadequately Trained and/or Inexperienced Project Managers

A project manager is normally considered to be a professional in the field of project management and is the person responsible for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the constraints of the project management triangle (which are cost, time, and scope/quality).

However, the term and title “project manager” has come to be used generically to describe anyone given responsibility to complete a project. Someone with technical strengths or skills (for example, a software development or storage engineer) may be selected to assume the role of project manager on a project where those skills or technology are prominent. Depending on the size, complexity, or duration of the project, this may work. However, there is a phenomenon known as the “halo effect” where someone’s strength in one area may project the impression that they possess similar strengths in other areas (i.e., a great engineer should make for a great project manager.) However, it’s unlikely that an organization would take a skilled accountant and reassign them as an engineer on a network infrastructure project.
Research shows that one of the common reasons attributed to project failure is inadequately trained and/or inexperienced Project Managers. The top five skills to look for in a strong project manager are:
• Communication within and outside the project team
• Focus on achieving the project goals
• Attention to detail throughout the project life cycle
• Analysis and problem-solving
• Customer relationship management

Additional qualities should include:
• Ability to create a true project schedule
• Ability to lead the identification and mitigation of risks
• Ability to speak well in front of groups (presentation skills)
• Some possession of technical skills
• Ability to control scope, schedule and budget of projects

When these skills or qualities are lacking, a project is at a much higher risk to fail.
Sirius can provide experienced project management professionals who can bring you the thought leadership you need to ensure successful results on your projects, regardless of size or complexity. Our team of project managers has over 280 years of accumulated experience in project management across multiple technologies and industries.

Our project managers come to Sirius with a minimum of 15 years’ experience managing IT projects. A small sampling of their skills/experience includes:
• Business Analysis, System Selection and Implementation
• Business Intelligence Architecture
• Data Center Build-Out/Migration Mgmt
• Data Warehouse Management
• HR, Marketing and Public Relations
• IT Operations Management
• Legacy Mainframe Engineering
• Mainframe Technical Services Mgmt
• Storage Services Architecture
• Systems Analysis and Engineering

Technologies include:
• Mainframes
• Networking
• Open systems
• Servers
• Storage
• Telecommunications
• Telephony
• Software development
• Various off-the-shelf software packages

In addition to years of real-world experience managing diverse projects, the majority of our project managers retain the “gold standard” in project management certification known as the PMP (Project Management Professional). The PMP is a credential offered by the Project Management Institute, a not-for-profit professional organization for the project management profession with the purpose of advancing project management.
In addition to the PMP, our project managers also retain a variety of additional certifications:
• ITIL Foundation V3
• Professional Engineer (PE)
• Six Sigma, Green Belt
• Scrum Master
• ISO 9000 Auditor
• MCSE 2000
• Cisco CNE
• EMC Storage Foundations
• IBM Systems Top Gun
• Masters in Business Administration (MBA)

Sirius offers a variety of program and project management services. Each offering includes a dedicated Sirius resource responsible for keeping projects on track by providing day-to-day direction, resource management and scheduling, and the completion of all deliverables.