Software: Do we need Project Managers or Product Development Managers?

The arts of Project Management and Product Development are both deeply rooted disciplines in their own right.


It has been a long standing tradition for IT departments to place Project Managers at the helm of software projects.  This practice originated years ago with government projects, principally from the DoD, where modern templates of large-scale software development and integration were etched, patterns that were later imitated by private sector corporations.  By the 1980’s government policy makers and academics were united in encouraging the view that project success and failure was predominately a function of managing the Iron Triangle (scope, quality, and cost).  It was thought that Quality could be inserted by rigor and brute force, a.k.a. Six-Sigma, CMM, ISO-9000. Attentions were turned to the Project, not the Product, as being the most important thing to manage.  The art and science of Project Management as a distinct discipline evolved rapidly and Project Management as a leadership function was incorporated into almost all government funded projects; and surprisingly, into many corporate IT (formally known as Data Processing) shops.


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