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How does the role of project manager change in the cloud?

How does the role of project manager change when applications are developed and tested in the cloud?

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The project manager's role doesn't change much when applications are deployed in the cloud. The project manager typically keeps the project on track and provides status reports, and is not required to be an expert in the particular technologies used for development and test environments. But it's still a good idea to learn the basics. In this case, for example, it is helpful for the project manager to become familiar with terminology used in cloud computing. It is also worthwhile to gain an understanding of how the cloud is being used. For example, if the cloud-based testing and development environment is provided by an outside vendor, it's important to understand what's covered by the provider and to become familiarized with service-level agreements.

In "Cloud testing: The cloud and your testing practice," David W. Johnson describes ways in which the cloud can be used for testing practices. He notes that performance, security,  disaster recovery and management can pose problems and advises project managers to make sure cloud providers take steps to address these high-vulnerability areas. The project manager needs to understand each area of risk and identify who is responsible for tasks associated with ensuring performance, security and disaster recovery testing. "If you are dealing with a private cloud, then testing responsibility could be handled by the infrastructure/security team -- at least from a performance and security perspective. In either case, all parts of the IT organization need to work together to mitigate the risks presented by cloud-based solutions to the overall enterprise," said Johnson.

This was first published in September 2012

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