Why working in IT is so Awesome!

We get the best and newest PC equipment

Creativity is encouraged and rewarded

We get the opportunity to make other people’s jobs easier

We can work from home…or Hawaii even

We are responsible for understanding the engine, not just driving the car

For most of us working often feels like playing (because we are geeks at heart)

We get to embrace our inner nerd

We have our own secret language; Geek Speak

We are never bored; our environment is constantly changing

We are needed

Our skills are valuable

And as a lover of tennis shoes (and a hater of high heels) my personal favorite: Every day is casual Friday





Is Yelling in a Meeting Productive?

A long long time ago in a place far far away…I’m in a meeting. There is a crucial issue that has been exposed in a highly visible project that I am a part of. What is going through my head you ask? I’m not thinking about the project or how I might contribute a solution to the issues at hand, I’m seriously contemplating walking out of the meeting. Why you ask? Because I am listening to the manager loudly yell accusations at others as he repeatedly slams his fist on the table. “I’m tired of this $%#&, this needs to get solved NOW!”

So I, like many others present, avert my attention elsewhere attempting to ignore this overly emotional and unprofessional display of frustration. Just based on this natural reaction that I had yelling has already proven to be counterproductive. I’m not coming up with brilliant solutions on “how to solve the problem now” I’m zoning out and wondering how this individual can possibly think his display is appropriate. Perhaps he is under the impression that to be heard one must behave this way. I think he is sadly mistaken. I strongly believe that an intelligent person is able to effectively communicate and inspire others by encouraging communication in a respectful manner.

Solving problems and getting things done requires motivation. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect that it is a rare individual that would list “being yelled at” as a strong motivator. In the situation that I describe here the team became motivated when a clear project plan and team structure was laid out by another meeting attendee. The yelling had absolutely no positive effect on the outcome of the meeting and really only served as a waste of time for everyone else.

So, if my opinion isn’t already obvious, yelling is absolutely unproductive in meetings. It is unprofessional, demotivating, and in many cases abusive. We, as humans, are simply not wired to respond positively to being yelled at. If you find yourself in this type of meeting I recommend avoiding responding with the same ridiculous behavior. If the situation is extreme you should have the courage to stand up and remove yourself from the situation. It is possible to get reprimanded for doing so, but I personally would rather take the chance and potentially gain respect for standing up for myself tactfully.


Accepting Project Failure

Project managers will shudder at the thought of this phrase, but sometimes accepting failure and moving on is the best choice. PMs will hesitate considering their personal reputation, the reputation of the IT team, job security, and sunk costs.

As projects begin to slip past deadlines and go over budget those involved sense the risks that are accumulating. As this continues and executive demands increase it becomes more apparent that the project is in serious trouble. Systems are not seamlessly flowing, technical implementations are not working, and the roles of the project team members are becoming fuzzy. When is it time to pull the plug?

Hind sight is 20/20 as they say and at this point you and your team are probably seeing a much more viable solution than the project that you have currently under taken. It’s time to take out your ROI and risk assessment calculators.  Also it’s a good idea to review any contracts that you may have signed with vendors for this project.

Consider this: How much have you already spent versus how much more will it likely cost to complete this project? Obviously the original time estimates were inaccurate so try to use more realistic estimates based on the pace of the project so far.

Can you get out of your vendor contracts?

How much will an alternate solution cost? Remember REALISTIC estimates here.

Is it possible to get the project back on track?

There are hundreds of books that outline the reasons why IT projects fail. Use some resources to pinpoint what may have happened in this project to determine if you should call it quits or attempt to remedy the situation.

In the end, if the project is a failure you have to accept it, deal with this reality, and learn from your mistakes. It may be a good idea to revamp your project team and find an experienced PM mentor to help plan for round 2. This will be your opportunity for redemption where you will be able to plan and manage the project in a way that increases the chances for success.