Managing IT projects requires special skills. Striving for success on the market cannot be based only on the technical knowledge of the project manager; programming knowledge and experience are not enough. Equally important in managing a team are the interpersonal skills to know the specifics of the industry as well as the individual business goals of each client.
The main goal of effective IT project management is not only to strive for successful project completion, but also to focus on high quality. Achieving the objectives requires knowledge and practical skills, without which it is impossible to use modern management tools. During the programming outsourcing we had the opportunity to look at many managers. In the best ones we found some common features.
Key competences of a project manager
High competitiveness on the market, the need to constantly adapt to the changing business reality, as well as other internal and external threats, makes it necessary to define the key competencies of a project manager, which have the greatest impact on the effectiveness of his actions.
It is the project manager who bears the greatest responsibility not only for the success of the project, but also for any mistakes revealed during its implementation. Lack of appropriate hard competences effectively makes it difficult to take up high and demanding positions. However, the problem may also be the lack of soft skills, which greatly affect the effectiveness of the manager and his team.
Three pillars of a good IT project manager
The substantive knowledge and technical skills are the basis of qualifications of each IT project manager. Without the necessary hard skills, it is impossible to consciously manage tasks, assign them to specific team members and delegate responsibility for individual work steps.
Technical skills allow not only to prioritize tasks and assess their effects, but also to identify and solve problems. Technical knowledge in the case of IT project managers does not have to be limited to the knowledge of specific technologies. Equally important is the ability to have a broad view of a given problem and the ability to analyze the situation and draw conclusions influencing the success of a project.
It is impossible to imagine a good project manager who does not have personal and interpersonal skills, because it is thanks to them that he can effectively manage his subordinate team members. Lack of communication skills also does not allow for maintaining relations with the client and proper reporting and presentation of work progress.
For effective management, assertiveness, creativity, emotional intelligence, self-motivation and the ability to cope with stress, among others, are essential. Interpersonal skills, or communication skills, are one of the basic pillars of a good manager. Thanks to, among others, persuasive skills and appropriate skills of delegating tasks and teamwork, it is possible to efficiently and effectively manage human resources, motivate team members to act and resolve conflicts.
A good project manager must not only properly communicate with his team, but also with clients who are not always able to clearly define their needs and expectations. The ability to understand the client, correctly read their needs, specifics of the industry, business goals, as well as to communicate necessary information to the team allows to avoid many problems during project implementation.
Lack of two-way communication may result not only in numerous mistakes, which will be revealed only when the work is completed, but also affects the opinion of the team and puts a big question mark on its future.
An effective project team leader must have the exceptional communicativeness that is essential when leading a project team. Transfer of various types of knowledge between individual team members is not only to achieve the best possible results, but also to facilitate understanding of the goals and expected results.
Knowledge of the methods and techniques of knowledge transfer and the ability to apply them in practice, as well as to choose the most effective ones, affects the quality and efficiency of work, however, it has another goal – to avoid constant supervision over individual team members.
Lack of proper transfer of technical, field or project knowledge results in the necessity of intensive supervision to compensate for possible lack of knowledge in the team as soon as possible and the resulting mistakes. And this takes time and energy from the manager.
To sum up, a good IT project manager is not only an experienced specialist in his field, but also an outstanding strategist and teacher for his team, who will understand beyond technical issues, client’s specifics and his individual business goals.