Who should run the project

This is a question that has troubled me for some time.  Who is it that should run a project, or rather which team or service should they come from?  Good project management skills are hard to find, certainly within an organisation that has a lot of operational stuff going on.  Change happens all the time but having someone skilled at coordinating the activities and bringing them altogether into a single comprehensible view is something worth having.  They are rare gems and you certainly notice the difference when you have a good project manager in front of you.

The issue is though who should lead?  Assuming that you have them, should the project manager come from the service that will use the new technology or should they come from ICT Services who are going to be instrumental in delivering the change?  Does it make a difference whether they are game keeper or poacher?

What has always troubled me about this is that if the supply side (or ICT Services) project manage then there is a tendency for the technology to take over and we could lose site of the original project objectives.  Without project management from the demand side (or user service) however, there is a tendency for lack of buy in and any subsequent issues are blamed upon the technicians.

These worries are probably more to do with bad project management than with differences between the two elements in the equation and it is time for me to rethink my approach.

In truth it should not matter.  A good project manager should be focussed on meeting the agreed outcomes of the project and get the balance right between demand and supply.  They should not be seen as having one foot in one camp and one foot in the other.  Indeed, there should not be two camps and my approach may well be pandering to this myth.

What we need is one project with one team using the skills it has and working to deliver the needs of the organisation as a whole.  So who should run the project?  Why, the best project manager should.


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