Can personal development fire the "Silver Bullet" in IT delivery

2016-02-18T10:44:14Z (GMT) by Michael Elliott Ray Dawson
Do we really understand the true root cause to our IT project failures and why are we unable to replicate our project successes? Often the correction of project failings identifies processes, methodologies or procedures for the answers – the ubiquitous Silver Bullet, and it is on this basis that most University courses in Computer Science and Software Engineering are designed. However, an analysis of literature on software development reveals that in order to create the step change improvement in IT project management delivery, we need to significantly improve the inter-personal skills of the whole IT project management team. The revolution for improved productivity will stem from challenging the typical career paths of technology learning to provide a much greater focus on the softer skills. Project management can be articulated as getting things done through people, so skilful management of team dynamics and effective communications based on an appreciation and understanding of people’s behaviours will significantly improve working relationships to create an environment for success. A large group of over 90 companies represented by E-Skills UK have designed a university course in Information Technology Management for Business which requires a minimum of 20% of students’ time to be spent on personal and inter-personal skills. Graduates of this course at the 18 UK universities where the course has been offered have had a very high employment rate and are much appreciated by the businesses employing them. It is recommended, therefore, that all University Computer Science and Software Engineering courses put a greater focus on personal and inter-personal skills.