IT Project Manager: Responsibilities And Functions
Reading time: 13 minutes
Imagine that you want to learn how to shoot a bow. You’ve watched all three parts of The Lord of the Rings several times and spent your youth playing Skyrim. You’re convinced that there’s nothing difficult in shooting a bow, and that the services of instructors are unreasonably expensive. Thus, you begin to master the bow on your own, get a few bruises from a bowstring, lose all the arrows and suffer from neck pain for weeks. You start to feel that something is wrong.
Now, imagine that you want to order the development of an IT product. You contact developers and ask them to make a software solution. However, you refuse the services of a project manager to save money. Can you successfully reach the release? How could a project manager help you? Let’s discuss.
What does a project manager do?
A project manager is a person who organizes the smooth operation of all processes and ensures communication between the customer and the contractor. A PM is a highly sought-after specialist in all areas: from construction to education. An IT project manager is the one who acts as an interface between the customer and the contractor in the software development field. A PM communicates with clients, studies their needs, monitors each development stage and reports to the customer on the progress of the product.
To understand the purposes and principles of a project manager’s work, it is necessary to define their responsibilities first. There are three large priority fields in the work of a project manager:
- Achieving the goals of the project and the client. The primary function of the project manager in an IT company is the effective fulfillment of the customer’s tasks. At the same time, it’s essential to leave clients satisfied so they want to come to the company again in the future.
- Achieving the goals of the managers and the company. These include, primarily, financial indicators closely related to project management. This point is vital for both the developer company and the customer. If the processes in the company, including project management, are well established, then each party can avoid unnecessary expenses.
- Achieving the goals of the development team. The job as a project manager requires building effective teamwork processes. Sometimes, during the project’s creation, the manager motivates employees, helps implement career goals and prevents conflicts.
Project managers tirelessly monitor every detail of the product creation mechanism. They have the power to change the course of work, find a mistake, make the client more loyal and unite the developers. Let's take a closer look at the IT project manager’s responsibilities.
Project manager skills and responsibilities
The responsibilities of a project manager can be briefly described as follows: connecting the customer and the team during the work on a project. Thus, there are three main components, each of which requires attention and actions from the PM. Let's look at the project manager’s role and responsibilities in each area.
First, the project manager must understand the client's requirements for the final product. At this stage, the PM prioritizes the functions of the app or website, how the client wants to retain customers, and the interesting solutions of competitors that can be adapted for the client.
The project manager controls the development process and regularly demonstrates the product’s functionality to the client as well as its versions and prototypes. The PM also keeps records of all parts of the project, leaving no questions unanswered.
To build trust with customers, project managers notify them of changes in a timely manner and closely monitor deadlines. If the team makes mistakes, the PM is responsible for maintaining the company's reputation and customer satisfaction.
Without a project manager, the customer will have to communicate directly with the developer. This leads programmers to spend hours on conversations instead of coding, which resulted in the delayed release of the app, making the customer nervous and less confident. With the PM, everyone is busy with their specific tasks and is not distracted by extraneous issues.
Having a project manager can often save you tons of time. For example, when we developed the educational app Unleesh and ran several rounds of testing, the client decided to redesign the product and add a few basic features. Our PM did an excellent job: he was in touch with the customer 24/7, clarified the details, and when the deadlines were. He also managed to distribute the workload in a way that helped us keep a good pace and develop the iOS and Android apps at the same time. After three months, we completed the web version of Unleesh.
- stress tolerance;
- management skills;
- ability to negotiate.
If the project is small and involves only one developer, the customer can probably communicate with the team without intermediaries. But what if the project is complex, and there are five people in the team: an analyst, a designer, a tester, front-end and back-end developers? The client will have to call everyone, set tasks, distinguish the front-end from the back-end, and React from Angular. The client will spend days on it instead of building their a business and making money. Thus, the primary role of an IT project manager is to manage the team. First, it is necessary to select the right people and, when the team is assembled, the PM brings colleagues up to date and distributes responsibilities and development stages between them.
The project manager monitors the compliance with the deadlines by each member of the development team. The PM sees in advance when someone cannot perform tasks in time and can prevent a crisis. This allows the company to avoid customer dissatisfaction because it ensures quality standards and tasks are completed by the necessary deadlines.
Without management skills, the project manager would not be able to influence the actions of employees. To make work on a project productive and enjoyable, the PM motivates the team and interacts with them effectively to make the work as comfortable as possible. Good project managers prevent most conflicts and deal with the remaining ones without problems.
- leadership skills;
- project management skills;
- ability to work with people;
- clear communication.
One of the main tasks of a project manager is to control the work on the project. The PM imagines the final result and distributes the load and funds accordingly. A good project manager is not afraid of challenging tasks and knows how to approach them. The project manager functions in this area include quality control, deadlines, budgets and risk management. The goal here is to ensure the implementation of the project with the available resources. Project activities can be divided into five main stages:
- Initiation - approval of the concept and launch of the project.
- Planning - determining the sequence of actions and preparing for work.
- Execution - work on a project according to a developed plan.
- Control - regular monitoring of each stage, risk management and reporting.
- Closing - completion of the project and transfer of documentation to the customer.
The work of a project manager in an IT company should make the processes of working on a project transparent and understandable to each party. This is also an area of responsibility for the project manager. With the help of appropriate specialists, the PM prepares reporting documents such as technical tasks, functional requirements and financial reports. If the manager does this efficiently, then each side will understand its requirements and rights. This increases the level of trust and the quality of the final product.
At all stages, the PM monitors the quality of the product and organizes development processes so that builds (code assemblies) are tested as often as possible. This helps to catch bugs at the start of the project. The PM checks if the software solution meets the technical requirements and initiates a code review. If necessary, the PM asks the designer to verify the design: to perform an architectural review, as we did on the project for the CDEK courier service. All these actions ensure the quality of the final product.
- confidence in the completed work;
- analytical skills;
- personal organization;
- high efficiency;
- knowledge in the IT field;
- the ability to see the bigger picture.
After suffering a couple of weeks with bruises from training with the bow, you decided to hire an instructor. Since then, everything went fine: the arrows don’t break from mishandling and your neck doesn’t hurt. You have finally started hitting the target and you’re even preparing for competitions. Who knows what other results will come from working with a coach? 😉 Don’t hesitate to contact us for development. Our project managers will comfortably and professionally guide you through the entire process of creating an IT product.