Understanding the Role of a IT Project Manager

Project management is a carefully crafted discipline. A project manager isn’t just a project manager: a project manager has to wear many hats throughout development. Project managers are going to be called upon to fulfill individual roles when they must, and they will need to be able to assure the quality of every part of their project. In addition to this, they also need to fulfill the basic roles of a project manager… and these roles can, in themselves, be extremely comprehensive. Here’s everything that you need to know.

What is a Project Manager Responsible For?

An IT project manager often works very closely with a project. As in other technical specializations, IT project managers are often required to be extremely knowledgeable about the intricacies of their end project. That means that they often have to be experts or specialists within the IT field, rather than simply focusing on project management. Apart from this foundation of knowledge, there are also some specific responsibilities, including:

  • Considering the workflow of the project and ensuring that the project will be delivered on time, through careful planning and monitoring.
  • Anticipating and mitigating potential risks to the project, both via experience and through projections and simulations.
  • Working directly with upper management and team members, to both facilitate and translate communications.
  • Determining whether or not a project will be deliverable in requested time frames and whether the requirements are possible.
  • Obtaining necessary support and resources from upper management, to ensure the completion of the project and the best end product.
  • Maintaining  a high quality level and strict standards throughout the development and design process.
  • Reviewing the management of the project and ensuring that any issues are resolved as quickly as possible.

Everything that has to do with the project running smoothly and the right product being delivered falls within the scope of the project manager. Ultimately the project manager’s success is determined by the end product.

The Four Major Functions of Project Management

As noted, there are many things a project manager is responsible for. But at their core, they are all part of four major functions: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. A project manager is going to have to develop out their skills in these four critical areas.

  • Planning. 90% of any project lies in preparation. A project manager needs to not only be able to plan out a project but also identify potential issues with the project itself and with management requests.
  • Organizing. In order to actually accomplish a project’s end goals, organizational skills need to  be at an extremely high level. This is the process of actually implementing a plan.
  • Leading. Project managers need to deal with many different employees, managers, and personality types. Good leadership can smooth over otherwise stressful or difficult projects.
  • Controlling. A project has to be completely under control, which means that it has to be continually analyzed, evaluated, and corrected. Otherwise it can quickly spiral.

Many project managers are going to find that they need to work hard on at least one of these functions. Though leadership may come easily to them, they may find it difficult to remain organized; though controlling a project may be their forte, they could find planning out the project tedious.

Regardless, the role of an IT project manager is often going to go to an individual who is a jack of all trades; someone who can tackle many roles and who is able to both lead their team members and express themselves well to upper management. If you’re interested in expanding your role into project management (or you simply want to look at positions in the IT field), Software Specialists has the job listings that you need to get started.

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