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Monday, Oct 15 2012

The Bigger Scheme of Things

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An inside look at Project Management from Armada team member, Peter Salmon

peter.salmon.blog .pic -150x150Quality, risks, and cost are a few important factors that come to mind when one thinks about project management in the tech industry.  When Armada’s team member, Peter Salmon, reflects on the most important factors of project management, these are not the first aspects that come to mind.  As a Senior Technical Writer in Project Management at Cisco in San Jose, Salmon believes that human factors are the most significant because they can make or break a project.  From his experience, project management is about connecting the pieces and effectively managing the people doing the work to understand the bigger scheme of things. At Cisco, Salmon is currently working on documenting the process of a self-service Web portal.  To document the process of the project, Salmon must first obtain critical information about the procedures of the project.  One of the ways Salmon gets the procedural information is by building rapport with the developers, engineers, and architects.  He explains, “It’s tough.  You need to build rapport and explain what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, why, and how their job is, or is not, going to be impacted.”  With the fear of unemployment within the fast-paced industry, Salmon sometimes finds it difficult to get the answers he needs from personnel.  To obtain necessary information, he also resorts to the Internet.

In addition to building rapport, Salmon finds experience in project management Scrum essential.  As he states, “When you’re talking about doing development for mobile devices, the software that’s developed has to be updated on a continual basis… and a lot of companies do that through project management Scrum.”  Other experiences he notices that companies are looking for in project managers is data center and Cloud computing.  Despite these trending requirements, Salmon views the fundamentals of project management as the same for any project.  In his words, he states, “No matter if it’s a construction project or software project, you are still going to use the same methodologies that project managers have used for years.  It’s just where they’re applying it that is changing.”

Having worked on 18 different projects within Silicon Valley over the course of his career, Salmon sees a trend occurring with the direction of companies today.  According to him, more companies are playing in the Cloud space by building and selling Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service.  He states, “…two years ago that [process] would take four, six, or eight weeks!  Now they are trying to do it in fifteen minutes or less.”  With the development of faster infrastructure services, Salmon recognizes a security issue arising for the end users.  He points out, “How do you present your software, which does Infrastructure as a Service, to companies and convince them that their data will remain secure?”  It is a question that he views is a challenge in the industry and one that Cloud infrastructure providers must overcome.

Throughout the course of his career, Salmon has viewed consulting firms as a symbiotic relationship.  He explains that at times he has landed some exciting opportunities with the help of a consulting firm and at other times he has found them himself.  Regardless of how he finds these opportunities, he looks for, “… a project that is exciting. I like it to be something that’s on the cutting edge, something that I haven’t done before, because that is what keeps my interest.”  In the big scheme of things, Salmon believes that most people need a challenge in the opportunities they seek and they need a challenge presented in way that speaks to their interests.

Contributed by: Renee Gonzalez