Thursday, November 29, 2007

You can't be a manager, you've never done project management

I recently noticed a position within my organization that looked like a dream job to me.

"The primary role of this individual will be transformation. They will provide a fresh view into IT technology strategy and will transform the role of the team and the capabilities of the individuals. They will establish, implement, and maintain a unified technology strategy for the organization. They will lead a team of approximately 10 senior IT specialists and will actively participate in the highest profile, most strategic IT initiatives in the enterprise. The Enterprise Architecture team is not only accountable for setting our technology strategy, but is also required to assist project teams in implementing the strategy."

As a person who has spent 5+ years trying to transform our organization from the bottom up, I thought I would be a perfect fit for this position. Who better to help make this transformation than someone who has "been there, done that" and already made huge strides toward getting the organization working together and creating innovative solutions. In addition, I had a proven track record of real solutions to problems using leading edge technology, while still accounting for the risks this strategy might incur. In addition, I coordinate 6+ teams and ensure they understand what we are trying to do. I also introduce innovative and disruptive technologies to break us out of our rut, as well as build consensus among our various teams. I figured I was a shoe in (if the position wasn't actually written for me in the first place).

I quickly sent a note to my management team explaining my desire for this position. Of course, I was quickly reassured that I was probably not a very good fit for this position. After all, it would involve project management, budgets, reviews, and all manner of other non-technical stuff that I had so often said I had no desire to do. Stunned, I had to stop for a minute and think about what I just heard. These points where listed far down the posting as ancillary duties that where required, but in no way did anything in the posting infer that this was the primary goal of the position (I believe it actually said these things would be about 10% of the required duties)

Somehow, though, these ancillary activities where the absolutely critical skills necessary to the position. In addition, because I didn't need to use this skills in my current position, I obviously must not possess them and why in god's name would anyone think I did?

It's an interesting situation, does this mean it's obvious to everyone except me I must not possess these skills? Hmm, maybe I've reached my professional max...

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