Happy Friyay (this is here to stay), I hope everyone has had a good week, this last week I came off the disappointing news that Afronation has been cancelled once again! For reasons out of their control (pandemic was at it’s peak in 2020 as we know and Portugal has just been added to the UK Amber list). I really bought my original ticket in 2019 having learnt my lessons of hesitating to buy a ticket due to factors such as Fyre fest, and now for reasons out of their control it’s really feeling like maybe I wasn’t so far off. Recap aside, for today’s blog I want to explore Information Technology (IT) and Technology project management, two fields I’ve gained exposure to since joining the Civil Service in 2019 in PMO and Project Support roles.
IT is a top five industry for project management, and within that industry there are also Technology projects. IT Project Management (ITPM) can be defined as the successful oversight of any information technology projects that an organization undertakes. IT project delivery staff are responsible for planning, budgeting, executing, leading, troubleshooting, and maintaining these projects. As mentioned, within IT Project Management (ITPM) there is Technical Project Managers (TPM), for which there are a few definitions for what constitutes TPM:
- Technical project management is the process of managing IT or IT-related projects. Technical project managers are critical to the conception, development, and execution of these projects. In addition to understanding the technical content of the project, they must handle all the duties normally ascribed to project managers
- TPM are project managers (PM) with an additional layer of technical knowledge, expertise and competencies
A consensus view appears to that a TPM is a blend of the two types of roles (Technical & PM), but what should be noted is that the level of technical knowledge will vary based on the organisation and size, for larger teams a high level technical knowledge should be sufficient, as opposed to in smaller teams where a lower level technical knowledge will likely be needed due to the likely proximity to the development work.
My experience in the civil service has provided me with experience of both IT and Technology projects. During my time at Ministry of Justice I worked on the Electronic Monitoring programme and Alcohol Monitoring project, this was very insightful as I was able to work closely to integrated testing from different suppliers. I was able to develop my JIRA administration skills, provide risk, assumptions, issues and dependencies (RAID) support, tracking and supporting on accessibility and biometric risks on the programme that need to be controlled, co-ordinating with the subject matter experts to resolve. My HMRC experience is more aligned to ITPM, supporting the management of the programme through planning development, resource and RAID management. I have been able to build up my knowledge and understanding of SharePoint once again from having used it at Financial Ombudsman Service, HSBC and now in the civil service. HMRC appear to use it in the most expansive way which has greatly aided in building my Tech Qoutient (TQ).
- TQ, or technology quotient, is a person’s ability to adapt, manage and integrate technology based on the needs of the organization or the project at hand.
The Learning and development at HMRC certainly encourages staff to embrace digital ways of working, with training made widely available on several courses, including PowerBI tools which I will be undertaking next week.
As I alluded to in my blog on L&D whilst accredited courses are not the be all and end all they certainly improve employability, skills and understanding of PM methodologies, the list below includes a number of courses to pursue for just that (not all are required!)
- Certified Scrum Master
- Certified Product Owner
- PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner
- PRINCE2 Agile Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- CompTIA Project+ certification
- APM Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ)
- APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ)
- Project Management in IT Security (PMITS)
- ITIL 4
Whilst it is beneficial to secure PM certifications it is also equally important to build understanding of the tools used in these industries and build your TQ. The Pulse of the profession article on project management TQ is extremely insightful in how organisations and individuals gain so much from investing in upskilling in these tools to allow for innovative management of projects, I’ve noted a few high profile tools below:
- Azure DevOps
I think it would be valuable to talk with more ITPM & TPM to paint a fuller picture of the day to day to the role and the key intangibles needed to excel in the roles.