Talking Tech: Stay Focused
Lisa Stefanoff, chief information technology director at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, on how a project manager drives toward results.
What is the value of a project manager?
We’re all busy. Whether in IT or other departments, people are struggling to get it all done, and time is one commodity we can’t create more of. The skilled management of a project, its resources, and timeline will ultimately save money by keeping focus and avoiding scope creep.
At NASFT, we’ve found that when dealing with interdepartmental teams on a mostly IT project, the objectivity and neutrality of a project manager is needed to mediate and mitigate changing specs and moving targets. A skilled technical project manager will rein you in when needed in order to achieve the results you seek.
What qualities are important in someone managing a tech-related project?
They need to be well rounded with an understanding of many technologies in order to properly manage the whole project. A good project manager is someone who can interface with all of the resources involved—internal departmental folks and also any tech vendors involved.
What projects lend themselves well to a project manager?
It’s difficult to bring in a project manager if the project doesn’t have a very clear beginning, middle, and end. You need clear objectives. And know what the endgame looks like, because if there isn’t clarity on that, there isn’t going to be a clear way to define what has to happen and what the timeline is and what resources are required.