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Software project VS Construction Project

I'm a construction project manager and gonna change it to IT. Do you think its possible ? if so, why ?

and

What is the major difference between software project management and construction project management?

Mahfuz
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The fact that you're asking this question shows two things, one that you have no knowledge of building software (a bad thing), and the fact that you are willing to ask intelligent questions, and have an open mind (a good thing).  I have no knowledge of construction project management, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, but software tends to be radically different in terms of project management than any sort of "real-world" project that involves physically constructing something.  Do you have a job lined up?  If you don't, I would expect that you would have a fairly difficult time getting hired to manage software projects.  However, if you do manage to find yourself in a role managing software, you'll need to learn to fully trust your technical people working for you.  Could you explain your situation a bit more?

t
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

you gotta be kidding.

anonQAguy
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

"
What is the major difference between software project management and construction project management?"

the degree of variance in the base objects.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The two areas are strikingly similar.  I'm a developer and familiar with construction via the hubby.  There is a book called "Object-Oriented Software Engineering" by Ivar Jacobson.  He talks about the similarities and how the software industry could learn a lot from the construction industry.  Before I go on, I assume your talking about residential construction...if not scrap everything I'm saying.

Here is an excerpt from the intro:

"The development of software systems is a relatively young industry and has not reached the level of maturity typically found in more traditional branches of industry (construction).  Consequently, products developed using software technology of suffer from a lack of the established practices required for their development...as commercial products."

There are many other studies using this analogy.

shiggins
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

OK...I got sick of typing.  Basically, the analogy boils down too this:

"To become a millionaire talk to a millionaire, not a homeless person"

"To become a successful industry, model a successful industry not a defunct industry"

shiggins
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I think I might be more inclined to trust a construction project manager with some software experience to run a software project than a software developer with some management experience.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

When you say 'Construction Project Manager'  are you referring to Building Construction?

Marty Potokar
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Boy, I never thought I'd see a question quite like this on a software forum but here goes. Although I've been programming on my own over the past ten years, my primary profession over the last thirty years (including educational background) just happens to be in building construction. In response to your question, the two entities are totally different, i.e., like a football coach with a background in PhyEd wanting to become a building inspector/consultant overnight. I'm not saying this can't be done as a lot depends upon a person's apptitude and ability to learn anything but let's be realistic. In most cases, whether it be project manager this or project manager that, in two unrelated professions, the switch for most people is not going to be that easy let alone done overnight. Granted, while both professions may entail skills including but not limited to delegating responsibility, scheduling, supervising, paying attention to detail (seldom done), etc., the similarity stops there. As for whoever believes or taughts that the Software Industry should take some pointers from the Construction Industry, all I can say is that based upon my own construction related experience over the past thirty years in both residential and commercial building construction, the way the industry is headed, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as an independent building inspector and consultant over the last eighteen years, I'd like to cite some commonalities in the construction industry, i.e., tight/rushed schedules, substitution of low quality (cheap) materials to save money, poor or shoddy workmanship attributed to lack of attention to detail attributed to lack of knowledge and training in a particular field or trade, etc... Does any of this sound familiar to those in IT? Unfortunately, I wouldn't know first hand know since I am a solo programmer but, judging from what I've read and those that I've talked to in the software industry, on the surface, the similarities are striking when it comes to managing a software project.

Marty Potokar
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Marty Potokar  wrote: “tight/rushed schedules, substitution of low quality (cheap) materials to save money, poor or shoddy workmanship attributed to lack of attention to detail attributed to lack of knowledge and training in a particular field or trade, etc... Does any of this sound familiar to those in IT?”

Yes. Rushed schedules or lack of schedules (here are your specs and due date), low quality materials (old computers, old software, not the right tools to help manage), poor workmanship (not enough time to put in the desired error checking, having to hack due to time constraints), lack of knowledge (one companies’ Java Expert is another’s HTML jockey), sounds very familiar to me.

Check out a book like Rapid Development by Steve C. McConnel and if you like what you see, go for it! Joel’s got a great reading list:
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/navLinks/fog0000000262.html

m
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

They're basically the same. In both, you completely specify the desired thing to be built, then you swing around the corner in the morning with a pickup and pick up some wetbacks who can swing a hammer/write some code for less than the going union/contractor rate. You hire a few specialists/licensed contractors at the end to do the critical stuff and then you give it a nice fresh coat of paint/shiney box and plant a few bushes/include a few rebates out in front.

Construxion Manager
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Check out this link:

http://www.poppendieck.com/construction.htm

In which a software developer sits in on a seminar for
building contractors, hoping to apply the rigor of the
construction trade to the haphazard process of software
development.  The builders find this idea highly amusing.
The building trades are just as chaotic as the digital ones.
Anyone who has their kitchen remodeled quickly learns
just how random a building project can be.

jeffh
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

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