Who is an IT Project Manager? Roles & Responsibilities

An IT Project Manager is a specialized breed who plan,initiate, monitor, control and integrate the cross-functional information technology development and implementation projects.

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A process that finds and applies the best method to manage and control work through its every stage is called Project Management. In an IT Organization every new client means a new project. A dedicated leader is assigned with complete responsibility of such project is called an “IT Project Manager”.

An IT Project Manager is a specialized breed who plan,initiate, monitor, control and integrate the cross-functional information technology development and implementation projects.

IT Project Managers need to exhibit skills across all the domains of management. On one hand they need to well versed with domain knowledge and on the other hand they should understand the technology operations and development processes. They also need to demonstrate their skills in operations management, people management, financial management, resources management and general management.

Different Roles of IT Project Manager

Project Manager needs to perform various roles in due course of a project.

Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Project Manager needs to acquire good knowledge of the domain in which the project is based. For example an IT Company is building a software for a bank, project manager of this development project should get himself well versed with day-to-day operations of a bank. This helps him well while interacting with the client on day-to-day basis and understand their requirements.

IT Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

IT Project Manager often handles IT Solutions Development Projects. In order to lead such project which involves software development, he must understand the overall software development life cycle. Having knowledge of various stages of SDLC, will definitely help the Project Manger to manage such project effectively.

Financial Management & Budgeting

Any project manager needs to understand financial management and budgeting. Any software development project in a IT Company needs good amount of resources in terms of Human Capital, Hardware IT Infrastructure, Facilities and Work Environment etc. Project Manager is directly involved in planning and management of above cost centers and hence budgeting plays important role. Tracking expenses and managing budgets as per finances provided by sponsors/company/client is an essential part of a successful IT Project.

IT Infrastructure & Networking

Any IT Project cannot sustain without robust IT Infrastructure. The software developers need a proper IT Technology Setup in order to perform their work. After the development, the solution needs to be deployed on servers in order to activate access to clients/customers/users. Management of this IT Infrastructure and technology environment is often a specialized job performed by Network Engineers. However, the project manager must possess basic knowledge about rules and processes of this field so that he can effectively plan, track and evaluate various activities done the respective teams.

People Management

IT Project Manager has various kinds of people working with him in various roles such as Business Analyst, Data Analyst, Team Leaders, Software Developers, UI-UX Designers etc. He needs to constantly interact with them, take follow-ups for certain deadlines, inspire them to achieve the project goals within stipulated time. This needs quite a bit of people management skills. Communication plays important role in people management.

Stakeholder Management

IT Project Manager needs to coordinate with various stakeholders involved in a project like:

  • Client/Customer
  • Top Management – The CEO, CXO, CTO & CFO
  • Business Analysts & Consultant
  • Software Development Team
  • IT Infrastructure Management Team
  • Web Development & UX Design Team
  • Finance and Accounts Management Team
  • Business Development Team
  • Customer Support Team


Responsibilities of an IT Project Manager

Project Manager performs different responsibilities at various stages of a Project.

Initiation

This is initial stage of the project where project manager needs to define the scope of the project. He needs do feasibility study and prepare broader outline of the project, and its goals. Project manager also identifies key stakeholders of the project and select project management tools.

Planning

In this stage, project manager further drill down each of the project goal identified in initiation stage. Detailing of each goal is is done and key result areas are identified. This helps to build a clear cut project plan. Further, project manager needs to create resource plan, define key result areas (KRAs), define team structures and responsibilities and build workflows. Project Manager also needs to identify key milestones of the project, their tentative deadlines, risks involved at various stages and contingency action plan.

Execution

Execution often starts with a Kick-Off meeting with all stakeholders. Further project manager needs to break-down goals into achievable weekly/monthly/quarterly targets. Identify Key Result Areas (KRAs) to monitor and measure these targets and align daily work of each team members towards these KRAs.

Set communication and reporting work flows and establish day-to-day measurement and feedback visualization reports to monitor the project progress. Identify roadblocks at various levels and help the team to remove those for smooth functioning of the team.

Report the regular progress to customer and top management and seek their approval on key management decisions in order to ensure un-interrupted development activities by the team.

Controlling & Measure

This phase works parallel to execution phase. Project Manager needs to ensure that project is headed on right path. If required he needs to intervene to make course correction, realignment of certain goals or KRAs as per changing needs.

Project Manager must establish procedures to measure daily/weekly/monthly output of the team in oder to measure the efficiency. With these measurements, Project Manager can also identify potential risks and threats well in advance and take necessary corrective actions to avoid mishaps.

Closure

Closure of a project is again a crucial stage. In this stage, project manager needs to involve in closure activites in coordination with client/customer.

See over the activities to handover finished project/product to the client. Conduct training of client team to explain various aspect of solution developed and expected use, its features, limitations etc.

Conduct meetings with project team to identify key leanings and improvement areas for future projects. Acknowledge good performers and celebrate the team sucess.

Consolidation of key documentations of the project and hand it over to concerned teams such as client (Help Guides and user manuals), finance team (invoices & payments), operations & maintenance team (for after sales support), business development teams. (contact terms and agreement procedures)

Who can become IT Project Manager?

Well practically anyone can become an IT Project Manager who has good knowledge of management as well as technology operations. Generally organizations prefer persons who have demonstrated good managerial skills in information technology field in various roles such as Business Manager, Business Development Manager, Operations Manager, Business Analysts etc. Many organizations prefer persons with above experince along with education of bachelors degree in Computer/IT/Electronics Engineering and Masters in Management (MBA). Anyone who has worked on such projects for 5-10 years can perform role of an IT Project Manager. Sometimes companies prefer people with strong domain knowledge to lead a Project. Few organizations also prefer person having extensive experience in software development leadership roles and one who also understands the business side of the company.

So, IT Project Manager is a super versatile job. It needs super communication skills, ability to learn new things, hunger to know about new technologies. IT Project Manager role is ever evolving and it incorporates everything that needs to be done in order to make the project a success.

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