• United States
Managing Editor, Network World Fusion

Project management know-how

Feb 27, 20032 mins
Data Center

* Companies move from individual heroics to requiring project management to get IT rollouts done

Despite the tricky economy, some IT positions are still in high demand. Chief security officers, for example, are always high-paid and highly sought-after. Another new position on the rise is the IT project management specialist. This week’s Management Strategies story in Network World examines the up-and-coming profession and why it’s becoming so popular.

It’s popularity can be summarized in one word: rollouts. IT rollouts are more extensive and critical than ever in today’s enterprises. And as anyone who has ever been involved in one can tell you, they are massively tricky. Timetables and deliverables can slip, delays can pile up and the vendor can stall. It can be Murphy’s Law on steroids, which is why many enterprises are hiring or training IT folks who have project management training and expertise.

A recent poll by the Center of Project Management found that the percentage of challenged projects that have compromised quality, schedules or budgets rose to 40% for 2002, compared with 30% in 2001. Conversely, the percentage of failed projects declined from 30% to 20% in 2002, and the percentage of project successes remained steady at 30%.

Project managers bring a structure to IT endeavors, such as rollouts. They represent what most IT projects lack – a central person tracking the progress, setting deadlines and demanding accountability. And that’s apparently what many companies want. IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology says demand for project management experience has increased 30% overall since 2001, and project managers are rated as seventh on the list of hottest IT positions in 2003, according to the firm’s survey of 1,400 CIOs. Compensation for project management specialists ranges from $30 to $300 an hour, based on the level of experience.

Learn more specifics about the project manager’s role and what they bring to the table in this week’s Management Strategies story: