Dr. Vijay Kanabar

Prof. Vijay Kanabar on BU MET’s Distinguished History in IT Project Management Education

Dr. Vijay Kanabar
Associate Professor, Director, Project Management
PhD, University of Manitoba; MS, Florida Institute of Technology (Computer Science); MBA, Webber College; BS, University of Madras, India; PMP (Project Management Professional), Project Management Institute; CSM (Certified ScrumMaster), Scrum Alliance

What is your area of expertise?
At the graduate level, I specialized in both computer science and management, and that interdisciplinary interest has stayed with me throughout my career. In this context, one area of interest for me is IT project management. For instance, my doctoral degree was designing an artificial intelligence (AI) expert system to model costs of fourth generation information systems projects. Another area of interest is project failure. A key cause of project failure is a communications lapse; technical failure coupled with human communications failure have led to disasters such as Apollo 1 or the Titanic. When I teach, I address this aspect, leading students to have an “aha” moment. To address such challenges, I focus on enhancing communications by having project teams work together in a metaverse (virtual reality/augmented reality). Recently, I have started working with computer science students (RAs and volunteers), enhancing project communications by being together in the same virtual room.

What courses do you teach?
Over the course of my 25+-year career at Boston University, I’ve taught a number of different courses in both the Administrative Sciences and Computer Science departments. I currently teach Agile Software Development (MET CS 634). It aligns with the needs of the industry and the department. But I can add Web Application Development (MET CS 601). We were one of the first in the country to offer this course, and subsequently we added an MS CIS Web Application Development concentration. I had a lot of fun teaching Digital Forensics and Investigations (MET CS 693) and Database Design and Implementation for Business (MET CS 669). The latter course deals with SQL, resulted in my first textbook, and is a subject I have taught for 40 years.

In your opinion, what are the distinguishing characteristics of BU MET’s graduate programs in IT project management? What sets us apart from the competition?
Today, many schools offer a project management graduate program, but students prefer to come to Boston University due to our reputation of being a thought leader in this field. We inherited the first software engineering institute from computer entrepreneur Dr. An Wang, founder of the renowned Wang Laboratories. When he folded the Tyngsborough campus of the Wang Institute of Graduate Studies, we acquired their concentration in software project management. We ventured into the corporate space, and even today professionals across the country recall the corporate training we offered them in PM and IT PM. So we have a rich history teaching project management and we attract quality students. Our faculty are globally recognized authors and successful practitioners.

What are the career outcomes of students enrolled in the IT project management graduate programs?
According to the Project Management Institute’s 2017–2037 talent gap report, demand over the next 10 years for project managers is going to outpace other professions. Project leaders and project associates are required in every industry, and they will continue to play an essential role.

Can you please tell us about the current IT project management industry?
A massive movement to Agile software development and Agile project management has occurred. Can a tail wag the dog? Well, in the case of IT PM and Agile, this is happening. The entire world of projects and business in general is being transformed by the Agile movement, which has its roots in the IT sector. Giants like Tesla, Amazon and Apple use Agile principles and approaches to focus on customers, deliver the “right” projects in “half the time,” and energize innovation.

Anything you wish to share with your students?
If you have not leveraged our Saturday Meetups at 10:30 a.m. to get certified in areas such as CAPM, PMP, Scrum Master and Product Owner, and to network with fellow students, you are missing an excellent opportunity to get ahead in the field of computer science and IT. Alumni and current students have transformed their careers with the help of such certifications. Please contact the department or me for details.

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