IT project management and managers play an important role in the success of any project. They have a hand in almost every aspect of an IT project, from planning, development, implementation, execution, and commissioning. However, due to a high level of automation and modern working practices, there are major changes in the role of an IT project manager.
A project manager is at the center of all activities in an IT project. They are responsible for providing leadership to teams and ensuring the deliverance of specific milestones. The project management team’s primary goal is to ensure the objectives are achieved within the specified timelines. They also need to ensure that their teams follow the specifications and quality guidelines at every stage.
IT projects are unique as they are generally broad in scope. IT project managers must deal with various factors such as scope flexibility, risk factors, software updates, interdependency, etc. That’s why IT projects demand a higher level of application in terms of management skills and tools to complete the project successfully.
Critical Phases of IT projects
IT project managers can achieve complex tasks more effectively by using the various phases of IT project management. Additionally, each step comes with different milestones that drive the project life cycle forward.
This is the initiation phase of the project. Here, the project manager and team determine the project’s needs and create a proposal. The project must also be feasible for the team and the company. The manager must decide if the project is worth the apportioned time and resources and then move ahead.
The planning phase involves collaboration between the IT project manager and the team. This phase involves fixing budgets, identifying risk factors, and building well-defined goals. So, a template is developed, which becomes the reference point for the project’s life cycle.
The execution phase involves setting deliverables for the project. IT project managers play a crucial role in delegating tasks. They take into account the skills of team members and how they can be utilized to hit milestones. They may have to revisit the project plan at various points during project execution as the project often goes through changes as it develops and progresses.
Monitor and control
The IT project management software is valuable for tracking the team’s progress. Tracking involves monitoring the time, cost, and quality of the various project components. Project managers must evaluate whether the project is in sync with the project proposal and goals. If not, they can course-correct quickly and remain in control.
The closure phase begins when the project is completed. The IT project manager must ensure that every part of the project is completed. It must also be approved by the appropriate authorities. The team can also review any experience and lessons gained from the project. The closure phase is crucial as it empowers the project management team to evaluate processes and make improvements where necessary.
The Role of the IT Project Manager
The IT project manager must be a great communicator because projects involve teamwork. Your work involves:
Ensure the Functionality of the Project
The goal of every project is to deliver a product that meets the customers’ needs. Certainly, functionality takes top priority as the project manager is responsible for everything.
Every team member is assigned a specific task. The project manager assigns roles based on the skills and capabilities of the team members. Managers must spend time evaluating the team and its abilities. Indeed, this will help them assign the right task to the right person.
The project manager must track team performance by closely monitoring the timeline, budget, and progress at various stages. Likewise, many project managers use project management software to measure different performance parameters.
Meeting with Stakeholders
Stakeholders of a project may include senior management, customers, the product testing team, and others. So, the product manager must have regular meetings with these stakeholders to update them about the progress and status of the project.
Challenges Faced by IT Project Managers
Project managers are the center of all the key activities happening in a project. They have to deal with many critical responsibilities. Quite naturally, they have to deal with many challenges too.
Time and Budgeting
Time and budgeting are among the most significant challenges project managers face in IT projects. They must set realistic deadlines to eliminate the risk of delivering products that do not meet expected quality standards. They must also ensure the availability of the right resources in adequate numbers to improve the chances of success of an IT project.
In many IT projects, scope creep happens when the stakeholders add new requirements at different stages of the project. If not maneuvered constantly, it can result in the derailing of the project. Overcome this problem by setting strong project goals and communicating with the stakeholders at every step.
IT project managers are at the center of all activities in any project. They function as the go-between among team members, stakeholders, and the various departments. So, if the line of communication is not clear, it can create roadblocks in the progress of the project. Moreover, IT project managers must prioritize contacts to ensure a project’s smooth progression and completion. This can be easily achieved using the best IT project management tools.
In the initial phase, it is essential to manage the risks of an IT project. IT project managers must not only focus on the various steps of the plan but also have a plan B in place. Risk management is essential to keep the project on track. If things don’t go as planned, project managers must have alternate plans in place to keep the project going.
IT project managers need a high level of proficiency in software systems. Likewise, they must be good communicators and have the complexity to handle complex technical issues. Skills also need to include scheduling, resource planning, and budgeting. However, the skill sets expected of project managers across different industries are nearly the same. Also, like all project managers, an IT project manager relies on IT project management software systems to carry out their duties and responsibilities.