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June 13, 2005


Robert Cowham

It's late to comment but anyway: I was employed by a technically oriented company that bid for a foreign stock exchange contract. The competition was a consultancy who were very good at doing the high level relationship management. The client came back and asked for a joint bid - the technical parts of one and the management parts of the other. Of course this joint bid then happened and was awarded the job.

Down the line, the consultancy did their relationship bit and ousted the technical company. The project started to get into trouble. The reason seemed to be that their promotion policy was "up or out". People with good technical skills had to go into management to progress or they got shown the door as they became too expensive otherwise. The project foundered due to the lack of senior technical people.

Thus (IMO), companies must have a good career path for the senior techies (architects and similar) who can make or break a project.

One of the best project managers I ever worked for didn't seem to do much on a daily basis. Reviewing what happened I realised:

- he recruited a couple of excellent senior technical guys to make the project happen
- he recruited some excellent team members
- he ran high level intereference with both management of the client and the implementation company to make sure required resources (people and other) were available
- he left the project team alone to do the job

Result, extremely satisfied client and successful project.


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