Producers and Directors
Would more IT Projects be successful if they used Producers and Directors rather than Project managers?
Programming, Analysis, and Project Management are different skills.
Some programmers and analysts make good project managers.
Others do not.
Many do not want to become project managers. What they want to do is earn more money.
How often have you seen, at your organisation, that the best business analyst with the best business systems knowledge can’t run a project for toffee?
Also how often do project managers, who are logistically good and who delivers system in reasonable time, deliver systems that are not fit for business purpose?
How to Use Producers and Directors
There is a cure for this. It enables you to use your best people most effectively and which helps to keep them at your organisation. This is the use of Producers and Directors.
In the movie industry, the Director is the person who is the creative genius. It’s the Steven Spielberg, the person who makes the picture. This is your Senior Business Analyst.
The Producer is the person who handles the logistics. He or she makes sure the actors are hired, the contracts drawn up, the locations are booked, everyone turns up at the right place at the right time, the costumes are made, the food arrives, the star has the best caravan, the movie is on schedule etc.
Doing all this, as well as making the movie, would sap Steven Spielberg’s creative energy. There is no reason why he would be any good at this just because he can make good movies.
The Producer and the Director would have equal standing and would therefore have similar recompense. The Director may even have a higher recompense.
Selling To Senior Management
This is a difficult idea to sell to senior management as they like to see one person in charge. This would be the logistics person.
This idea of Producers and Directors seems, however, to them to be a bit ‘arty’ and not of the real world. They, also, usually have projects which run over budget and time, which do not deliver fit-for-purpose systems, and have their best staff leaving in droves in this ‘hard-nosed’ world.
You should explain to them that they would only have one point of contact. As the pressures on them are mainly money and time, their point of contact should be the Producer.
There is also the problem of potential conflict between the ‘arty’ Director and the ‘real world’ Producer. It is important, then, to appoint a Producer who gets on well with the Director. Notice that it is this way round).
In the movie world, it is often the case that the Director appoints the Producer. It is often someone who he has worked with successfully in the past.
Keeping All Your Good People
Organisations continually complain that they are constantly losing people with good business knowledge from the systems department. With this change of emphasis, you will be able to keep your best Business Analysts.
At the Academy Awards it is noticeable that although there is an award for Best Director, there is no award for Best Producer.
To stop any potential friction between the Producer and the Director, make their rewards mechanism the same, so that their goals are aligned.
Don’t reward the Director for fitness-for-purpose while rewarding the Producer for Timeliness and meeting budget.
Selling It to Management
If you have problems selling this idea to senior management, just call them the Project Manager and the Senior Business Analyst while separating the roles.
It is better, however, if you can convince them that this is a good idea. It makes it easier to justify the kind of rewards for the Director / Senior Business Analyst which would keep him or her at the company.
For more great advice on project management click on Project Management.
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