Three pillars of a good IT project manager
Grzegorz Papaj, 23 April 2019
Managing IT projects requires specific skills and experience. Succeeding in the market cannot be only based on the technical knowledge of a project manager. Equally important qualities for a dev team leader are interpersonal skills, thorough knowledge of the industry specifics, and a focus on the individual business goals of each client.
The main purpose of effective IT project management is not only successfully finished projects. An emphasis on high quality is also important. Being able to use management tools properly and achieving goals require extensive knowledge, as well as practical skills.
The key competencies of project manager
The key competencies of a project manager have a significant impact on the effectiveness of work. Defining them is essential because due to the competition on the market, the necessity to constantly adjust to the changing business reality, and also to other internal and external threats.
The project manager is responsible not only for the success of the project but also for any mistakes. The lack of proper hard skills might be a career obstacle. Also, the lack of soft skills negatively affects the effectiveness of the manager and the dev team.
The three pillars of a good IT project manager
Substantive knowledge and technical skills are the basis of every project manager’s qualifications. Task management, assigning them to particular team members, and also delegating the responsibility for particular stages of work is impossible without essential hard skills. Technical skills enable the project manager to set priorities of tasks, assess their effects, and identify and solve problems. The technical knowledge of IT project managers does not have to be limited only to the knowledge of particular technologies. Equally important are business skills, the ability to analyze situations and to draw conclusions.
Communication skills are essential for a good project manager, as the management of the dev team depends on them. The lack of such skills makes it difficult to maintain relationships with clients and coworkers and to properly report and present work progress.
Effective management requires assertiveness, creativity, emotional intelligence, self-motivation, as well as the ability to deal with stress. Interpersonal skills and communication abilities are some of the basic pillars of a good manager. A manager has to be persuasive and be skilled in delegating tasks to efficiently manage human resources, motivate the team, and resolve conflicts.
Good project managers have to communicate appropriately not only with the dev team but also with clients who are not always able to define their needs and expectations. The ability to understand clients, identify their needs, understand their industry, their business goals, and also pass the information on to the team helps avoid a lot of problems during project implementation. A lack of two-way communication can result not only in many problems that will be revealed at the end of the project but can also affect the team’s opinion and raise questions about its future.
Passing on knowledge
A successful project manager has to have exceptional communication skills, which are essential when it comes to dev team management. It is their responsibility to ensure that information is efficiently transferred between team members so that the goals of the project can be achieved.
The methods and techniques passing on information and the ability to apply it have an impact on the quality of work. Also, such preparation helps to avoid the constant supervising of team members. If technical, domain, or project knowledge is not properly passed on, this results in the necessity of intensive supervision to compensate for possible shortages of knowledge in the team. And this takes up the manager’s time and energy.
To sum up, a good IT project manager is not only an experienced expert but also a strategist and a teacher for the dev team, who understands the client’s business and individual needs going beyond technical issues.