The One Who Cares the Most: Project Manager in IT
You may wonder: who is a project manager what exactly he does on the software project.
If you are are going to run an application or any other software project, you may think you can manage it yourself because you know how it should be.
This sounds reasonable, considering the fact that, in general, the client gives requirements and developers do work in accordance to them.
But these requirements are not always clear for the developers, especially if the client is not a tech specialist.
And even if he is, the overall creation of a single vision for the client and the team turns out as a massive scope of organizational and communicative work.
However, if you look deeper, there are many factors to keep in mind and project manager is the one who ensures the whole work process goes smoothly and according to the plan. Let’s break down the PM’s responsibilities and see why this role matters so much.
Defining the strategy and objectives
As a client, you have certain requirements and you have to pass them to the software development team. Now imagine that you have to repeat them over 20 times in order for each team member to understand where you are heading with the project.
As well you have to structurize them, describe each requirements in technical manner and also allocate tasks and responsibilities for every team member, thus creating even workload.
As well, each of the developers would ask you different questions and would probably have a different vision of your product. And that would lead to total chaos.
Project manager is the one – single point of communication – who would listen to you, specify all issues and questions, together with you develop a strategy and only then pass it to the developers in form of clear tasks.
Managing the team
Sizes of developers’ teams may vary but there is one common thing for any of them: they have to be managed. Project manager is responsible for coordinating all the people in the team, giving them clear tasks and monitoring how work is done.
Again, some of you may ask: can’t a client do all that?
But it’s not only about team management – it’s also about saving your money and resources.
PM does not only coordinate people but also makes sure that work is done in optimal amount of time and in the most cost-saving way. PM manages your resources and guarantees that no extra work is done or no time is wasted.
As well PM is the one who overlooks the whole process and knows exactly who does what. A team without project manager would lose direction within a few minutes since nobody would know the whole picture.
And don’t forget motivation and teamwork! Even though these factors are often underestimated by the client, they are still very important in achieving the desired results.
After all, satisfied people tend to pay more attention to their work and do it better than they would if they hated every minute they spend on it. Sounds reasonable enough, isn’t that right?
Working with the project scope
Scope is basically the amount of work that needs to be done, the “body” of the project.
It includes duration, resources, costs, schedule, etc. So what your PM does is setting the budget estimates, deadlines for every project stage and efficiently allocating resources.
A client cannot do that since they don’t know all peculiarities of software development process and personal features of the team members.
Developers cannot do that because they may not know how to manage resources and do planning or they simply don’t have time for that.
So we get back to the project manager who is a mediator between the client and the team and who knows how to create a win-win situation for both parties.
Resolving the issues
Despite perfect planning, there is always something that goes wrong and you can’t avoid that. You can minimize the impact but there will always be some issues with third party services integration, hardware or software failures, bugs, human errors and etc.
All those issues are spontaneous and have to be dealt with almost immediately in order to maintain the work process in a smooth manner.
And it’s the responsibility of a PM to timely inform everyone about the issue and come up with the most efficient solution.
Being a single point of contact, project manager is the person that brings all the factors involved in project development together and controls the workflow.
Such position requires a lot of knowledge, including knowledge of technical aspects, leadership, management, ability to estimate and many other things.
So do not underestimate the role of PM because this person is keeping your project in order and ensuring you will reach your goal. And below is an example of PM responsibilities and modes of work.