December 30, 2008

About me

My name is Sondre Skaug Bjørnebekk, and I thought it would be appropriate to write a few words introducing myself. When interviewing for the job I currently have, I ended up saying in one of the interviews that I probably have the brain of an engineer and the soul of a salesman... While this may sound terrible to some (“Do salesmen even have souls?”, I hear some shout in the back), it is probably not that far from the truth. If you add a touch of enthusiasm and entrepreneurship mixed with hard work (we are descendants of the puritans that moved north, after all...) you are about there.

I hold an MSc degree in computer science from NTNU (the Norwegian University of Technology and Science) and an MBA in technology management from NTNU and MIT Sloan. For some more details and hard facts, you may visit my LinkedIn profile.

I used to be software architect, then CTO and later VP of Consulting at a small (but steadily growing!) Norwegian ISV, Inspera. Currently I work as a Principle Consultant with the PA Consulting Group. All views expressed in this blog are my own and not necessarily related at all to those of my employer.

At Inspera, I managed projects of various size and complexity – some large ones with several thousand hours of development, coordination between different vendors and subcontractors as well as optimizing product development along with customer specific projects – interesting and challenging indeed. As head of the project department, I was also trying to formalize the knowhow of my project managers and developers on what worked and what didn’t in trying to deliver successful and profitable projects.

I have also run my own, very small, company since 1998. There I’ve developed various pieces of software including a recruitment portal, webshops and games for mobile devices and currently this is where I can still get my hands dirty and not only be a project management monkey, but sometimes even a code monkey! In addition to my main work at PA and the side activity in Webmagi, I serve as a board member at Inspera.

On the personal side I have been married for a little more than five years. We are voluntarily without children at this point and living in Oslo, Norway – right here in fact.

I think that’s it about me. My next post will be the first with some real project management related content. It will be about the need I have often found to connect the world of software development with lightweight or agile methods, with the expectations of structured reporting and overview often found in customer organizations. I hope to publish that one the coming Friday, January 2nd.

What’s in a name?

During my time in the software business I have heard the term “code monkey” several times. Sometimes it has been in a negative, patronizing tone. Other times it has been uttered with an ironic touch, often with quite a bit of pride, by the developer doing the actual “monkey work”. In my world this type of work is not at all dirty, but a form of art – comparable to the finest furniture carpenters or perhaps of designing and building Swiss clocks from scratch that will then work perfectly “forever”.

My belief is that the role of the developer is not as any kind of slave to the project manager. In fact, it is rather the opposite way around – the role of the project manager is to make sure any obstacles (impediments, if you want to Scrumify this a bit) that stops the developers building great software are removed as quickly as possible. In this light, it is the project manager that is the slave of the developers – the real stars of any software development project – and thus the name of my blog, The Project Management Monkey.

Welcome to my blog about project management and related topics

This is my very first attempt at a blog, which can be found a or just for short. After more than ten years in the Internet and software industry, you might want to consider me late or even slow. Or maybe I’ve just been busy. I think that sounds better, let’s go with busy.

My focus will be on IT-related projects, both software development and other types. The focal point of my interest is on the linking of business and technology, so this is also probably where most of the topics of my writings will be. I might also write some pieces on other stuff more or less related that interests me, such as software business models and negotiations. My aim is that the content should be of practical use, and actually change the way you view, participate in and manage projects.

I am not very ambitious in terms of volume of articles, but I will try to post a handful of small articles during 2009. I also have a little idea for some very short and practical oriented pieces called “Brief Tip” that I hope you’ll find useful.

I look forward to learn from your comments.

Welcome to my blog.