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The truth about Project Managers: Do you really need them or not

Thinking about hiring a development team to develop your website or software, but not sure if you should hire a Project Manager? This question is quite common.

On the one hand, it is not an urgent need. In any case, you can always convince yourself of this and even save some money. Are programmers and designers not able to cope with their direct tasks? Why hire a project manager who has nothing to do with writing code or creating an attractive design?

We will not argue. But we’ll share our opinion. Based on 10 years of experience in software development, we believe that IT projects are helpless without a good Project Manager. (That is of course if you want each specialist to deal with immediate duties, the deadlines are met and the risks are taken into account and minimized).


What does Project Manager do?

The main goal of PM is simple - to bring the project to success, and there are several steps every PM follows:


1. Clarification and harmonization of requirements


This stage is introductory. There is getting to know the customer, determining his priorities and, if necessary, assisting setting the right goals. The skilled PM can draw a picture, which is obtained if all the plans are implemented in accordance with expectations. All this becomes the foundation for the development of a common project concept.

2. Prioritization


The advantages of each project is the key to its success, which emphasizes individuality against the background of competitors. Proper prioritization reveals the essence of the project and helps to effectively distribute the execution of tasks.

Each project manager necessarily adheres to certain methods, which helps him to prioritize work tasks and personal affairs. The choice of a particular methodology depends on many factors such as the nature of the IT project, its size and features.

 In any case, the main aim of the project manager is the target audience and its levels of interest and satisfaction with the final product. After all, in the end, this is what helps to highlight the basic properties of the product or service that will be developed.



3. Setting tasks


When the Project Manager sees the whole idea of the project clearly and understands priority areas of work, it’s time to build a workflow. To this end, the project manager builds a team of professionals and develops a work plan with deadlines. He also clarifies and delegates tasks to specialists. 

An experienced PM always coordinates the project implementation stages not only with the customer, but also with the team (unless of course he does the tasks himself). This helps to clarify the timing and takes into account the financial aspect.


4. Control and monitoring

At this stage, the development mechanism is launched. Each specialist understands and performs their tasks. PM coordinates, sets intermediate tasks, makes reports on their implementation and monitors deadlines. The important point is to build an effective interaction between the customer and the team, the constant motivation of the project executors and the resolution of possible conflict situations.



What makes a good project manager

The Success Pyramid of good Project Manager has 3 components:


  • Knowledge

  • Experience

  • Personal qualities


Knowledge is something that no good specialist can do without, especially a Project Manager. There should be the following in his arsenal:


  • management methods

  • structuring information and assigning tasks

  • establishing feedback according to the Customer-Team-Customer scheme

  • priority focus on customer values

  • emphasis on developing long-term customer relationships


Experience is a solid foundation of professionalism. A first-class Project Manager is always ready to show examples of projects where he was involved in managing, to talk about his responsibilities and how this helped to solve the tasks.


Personal qualities - these are the peculiarities of PM’s nature, which help to maximize his professional potential and serve the main purpose of his work. Among the main ones:


  • Enthusiasm and motivation

For a Project Manager, each new project becomes his brainchild. All his attention, time and effort are focused on the successful completion of this work. Therefore, a positive attitude, energy and motivation are very important.


  • Communicability


On duty, the Project Manager has to communicate with very different people often even to solve conflicts that arise during the work. The ability to find a common language both with the team and the Customer is one of his main tasks.


  • Self-discipline and stress resistance


Numerous problems that are inevitable in any job for a Project Manager are not unusual at all. The budget non-compliance issues or difficulties in developers work are just a few of them. That’s where the logical and methodical approach are needed. This is best achieved by maintaining self-control and clarity of mind.


  • Self-respect and constant self-development


People are willing to follow only a strong personality who understands what's what. Only a true leader - confident, educated and well-versed in various matters - sets the tone for the entire working process and defines a high level of professionalism. Only a person who respects himself will respect the work of the team and the interests of the Сustomer.



Conclusion


A good Project Manager, who has experience in IT project management and is guided by the nuances of development and has the necessary qualities of a team leader - is a real treasure for any company and the guarantee of successful project completion.

Whether to hire or not a PM for your project is a purely personal matter that requires an individual approach. But if you do - be sure that this is exactly the specialist who understands What, knows How and will lead your project to success.

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