Standard Methods = Standard Results

This is an excerpt from a job posting for a Sr. IT Project Manager:

  • Develop project plans and ensure that deadlines are met on time and projects are delivered within budget constraints. You will use standard project management tools to define requirements and track project status.
  • Manage and prioritize projects for the division using standard project planning methods and software through all phases of the project/development lifecycle.

OK, let me get this straight: You want projects delivered on time and within budget — you don’t mention whether or not you want the software to actually work, but I assume you do — and you want it done with standard tools and standard methods.

It may have escaped your attention, but that is not a standard result. The standard IT project is either late or over budget or fails to meet customer expectations, or all three.

If it were possible to deliver high-quality software on time and within budget with standard tools and methods, then everybody would be doing it.

So you want someone to achieve exceptional results — non-standard results — with standard tools and methods. How is that supposed to happen?

I can deliver exceptional results, but you have to let me do it my own way. If I have to use the standard tools and methods, I’ll get the same crappy results everyone else gets.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

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