Whenever you embark on a career as an IT Project Manager, there is risk . . .
1. That risk is not to be discussed or entertained and doing so places you in a precarious position 2. That the technology in question will be totally unfamiliar 3. That the team will mutiny, or not work at all 4. That appropriate resources are not and will not be made available despite the “strategic importance of the project” 5. That the project is doomed to failure from the beginning and everyone but YOU knows it 6. That there is no budget for pizza 7. That the “product” cannot physically be procured in time to meet the end date, much less be configured, tested, etc. 8. That your reputation may be determined by the success or failure of a project 9. That scope creep and unapproved changes will take over your project 10. That the sponsor and senior leadership will allow the client to make rampant and unstructured changes, without associated budget and schedule adjustments 11. That international barriers will severely impede your progress 12. That there will be poorly defined requirements 13. That highly unrealistic expectations will be imposed 14. That the “product” is not market ready 15. That your life will be consumed by the project for the next two years 16. That you will have to change your ring tone multiple times, because hearing the same one night after night will make you crazy 17. That you will not be able to make nearly everyone happy 18. That there are folks that are trying to make your project fail 19. That you’ll wear something on casual Friday that people will make fun of 20. That you will be asked to measure success by time, cost and schedule performance, with little to no regard for quality, product functionality or client satisfaction 21. That you’ll do a bang-up job on the project and be type-cast into performing the same projects for the next three years 22. That the project end date is set in stone, and immoveable 23. That you will learn quite a bit about what’s currently wrong with your management style 24. That you will create a plan to follow and honestly expect it NOT to change 25. That you will learn far more than you expected about Microsoft® Excel, macros and pivot tables 26. That you will wake up in the middle of the night reciting the PCI-DSS compliance standard 27. That asking for feedback means that you just might get some that hurts, but makes perfect sense 28. That you’ll need to bone up on technical skills and jargon to keep up with the folks you’re managing 29. That you’ll need to “justify” the need for project management and educate folks regarding what it IS — and IS NOT 30. That although the team delivered the project on time, within budget and according to specification (and within quality standards and customer-set guidelines), there’s no budget for team recognition 31. That IF recognition is approved at all, you will be directed to provide project recognition items ONLY to specific individuals, NOT the team 32. That you’ll develop a long-standing friendship with overseas project participants and keep in touch over the years 33. That in a social setting you’ll be asked “What you do,” and realize that there is no short or easy explanation 34. That when attempting to read a story to your four-year-old daughter, she’ll grab her Barbie laptop and tell you she’s “too busy right now” 35. That the sponsor or key stakeholders will not relinquish the control you require to do your job 36. That your sponsor will have little understanding of the project’s scope 37. That your default response when faced with home-based projects will be to crank out a Microsoft® Project schedule 38. That you will start to expect others to plan, schedule and drive initiatives the same way you do 39. That you provide far too many chances to a resource who will not deliver, and when escalated that resource will call you things you’ve not heard since high-school 40. That you’ll actually enjoy conquering any and all of the aforementioned and have a prosperous project management career!
About the author: Sean Lowe, PMP, CRISC is a project manager and freelance writer with more than 14 years of experience managing systems integration, information security, compliance and information technology projects. Lowe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.