What Is The Role Of An IT Project Manager?
An IT project manager is involved in a project right from the beginning through the end. He is involved in the brainstorming, initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and final closure of a project. He must be a good strategist, because he should know when to do what. Sometimes he would have to retrace the steps of the project plan to reach the desired results, sometimes he would have to change the entire strategy and start afresh. In short, it is the project manager who aspires to keep the ship in good order. If the project is successful, he would win a lot of accolades, if not, he would be subject to a lot of criticism.
The role played by IT managers in successful project completion
The project manager’s role is like a dice game
What do you do in a game where six-sided dice is involved? You shake the dice and roll in your hand, aiming for the highest number and planning ahead. Whatever is the number that comes up, you know that the numbers would be somewhere between 1 and 6. This helps you to plan accordingly. The numbers 1 to 6 are thus possibilities in the game and based on those possibilities, you can plan your moves and reach a winning strategy, keeping the risks and advantages in mind.
Identify the hardest part of a project
Do you know what the hardest stage in a project is? The starting stage. Having a good idea and then executing a solid plan, keeping in mind, probably the risks are probably hard as well. In order to start initiating a project, you have to plan a kick-off meeting where you identify the key members of a project and assign duties to each one of them. Ensure each one in the project knows his role well.
Stay calm when you are faced with a never-ending string of software bugs
Project managers are faced with difficult situations that mar the progress in a project. Software bugs are nightmares for project managers because the customer will never accept software that rides on bugs. If you are new in the organization, you can discuss the issue with the seniors in the organization and reach a conclusion. If you feel that the bugs are making it impossible to go ahead with the project, you might have to change your strategy. If each time you fix a bug a new one pops up, then it is time you called it quits. But not after trying your best at fixing it. Sometimes, however, quitting is the best option, it would save a lot of time, money and infrastructure for your company.
Know how to deal with problems as and when they arise
As a project manager, you would be struck by not just software bugs, but other problems that team members may face. If there is friction between team members, the project progress may suffer. Sparks may fly and catch fire and it is your duty to recognize the sparks and snuff them out before they could jeopardize the whole project. Handle issues and problems as and when they arise, and do them in a
consistent manner. It is also the project manager’s duty to keep a record of all the issues that might arise during the working of any project and what methods were implemented to overcome them.
Sending reports of progress to seniors
Weekly and monthly reports are usually sent to seniors to apprise them of the project status. The report should essentially contain
- Description of project
- The current status of project
- What has been achieved over the past one week/month
- Expected date of project completion
- Budget and expenses
It is essential to keep the top management in the loop of what is happening in the project, the issues and problems faced, solutions sought and so on.
Teach your team to handle deadlines
Only if everyone in the team adheres to deadlines would you be able to complete a project in a successful manner. If you have project milestones, you must ensure that everyone in the team is aware of them. To ensure your team can work around the deadline, you can cut the tasks into different milestones and ensure they are followed accurately. After each milestone is achieved, you can motivate the team on successful completion and thus prompt them to perform more.
Project managers are accountable for the activities of their team members
Everybody has a role in the project. When you are assigning tasks to your team members, you are assigning these roles to yourself too. If they underperform or fail to deliver, it is reflected as your failure. If your customer is a person who wants to be actively involved in the progress of your project, you must learn to handle that as well.
Conduct productive project meetings
Project meetings should be the venue and platform where the status of a project will be discussed. If there are any shortcomings in the meeting, that would be cleared and solutions sought. Meetings are meant to be productive and not a platform where the boss speaks his head off and the others listen. In a productive meeting, you must have an agenda, where everything is carefully planned, up to the last detail.
To bring his roles to perfection, the project manager must be a good leader, communicator, punctual and honest worker himself.
Interesting links about the topic:
Pictures: Flickr.com/ icannphotos/ Murphy/ Courage
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.