A project manager ensures the success of a project. However, the process of becoming a successful IT project manager is not a walk in the park. A good project manager must understand the difference between project management processes, knowledge areas together with skills and behaviours. IT Project managers must have a clear understanding of project management. It is a situation where project managers must initiate, plan, execute, and control the work of a group of people towards achieving some set goals. Moreover, project management must be carried out using various tools, methodologies, techniques, knowledge and skill set. The main objective of a project manager is to ensure that the set goals are achieved based on the given constraints. Each project has a starting point and an ending point therefore by nature it is considered temporary. A project in the field of IT has four identified elements
- Scope- It involves the size of the project, the goals that the project hopes to achieve and the requirements for the project
- Resources-This refers to the tools, materials, equipment, people or workforce and the equipment needed to execute the project
- Time-This refers to the duration that the project is supposed to take, the schedule, dependencies and the critical path
- Money-This includes the costs and benefits involved in the project
The scope is the most important element of a project since it also incorporates other elements. Therefore the scope of a project should be well managed. However, the four elements must be well managed because they are related and ignoring one can greatly affect the other elements.
Approaches to Project Management
Most of the IT projects fail because of poor decision making that leads to expensive resources and costs. This is because the manager did not create a project plan and if he did the plan was not valid, or it was not well implemented. Therefore project plans need to define the activities of a project, dependencies, tasks and time frame.
This is defined as what the project hopes to achieve. Must incorporate the needs of the people targeted by the project and even stakeholders.
This involves the things that the projects want to deliver to the people. Therefore the deliverables must be in line with the project goals.
Each activity in the project must have a given duration in which it is supposed to be completed and the set resources that need to be used.
It is also necessary for the leader to understand a project life cycle because both the project team and project manager have only one thing in common which accomplishes the set objectives of a project. A standard project has to follow the following set of phase’s initiation, planning, implementation, and closure.
At this point, the objective of a project is identified. Good responses to the said objectives are also determined. A feasibility study is later conducted to make sure the stated strategies are valid for the goals of the project. Once this done a project manager is chosen to oversee the project
In this phase, the project team comes up with much-developed strategies to achieve the objectives of a project (House, 2014). And all the activities to be done in a project are identified. This includes resources and tasks. This is commonly referred to as scope management. The planning phase mostly involves identifying work to be done, preparing a schedule and estimating cost
In this phase activities in a work plan start to be carried out. During this period effective communication, recording, and control is essential to ensure that each operation is carried out within the stipulated time and with said resources
This marks the end of the projects. It involves the documents of the project, terminating contracts with suppliers, and releasing the resources of the project.
On the other hand project managers must possess the following skills for them to be successful.
Leadership skills are essential for every project manager. A leadership skill involves leading a team towards achieving the set goals, coaching others, serving the team, setting visions and inspiring others. A project manager is supposed to lead from both operational and strategic perspective.He needs to be person who will communicate the vision, resolve conflict, evaluate performance, set goals and make sure team members have space, money, tools and what it takes to carry out the project activities
Another essential skill of project management is the ability to communicate and be well understood. Excellent communication is vital for any relationship. Therefore when a project manager can effectively communicate, he impacts both the team members positively and the stakeholders
Project scheduling is critical to project management. Project managers need to concentrate more on the schedule along with monitoring to make sure that everything is per the project plan. This makes planning skills essential in project management
A good project manager must be a good time manager he must be able to define how a team will efficiently manage time. He must recognise that only good things can be considered as best. Therefore they should be given the priorities. However, he must learn to suspend essential stuff because of the urgent issues efficiently. Therefore he must be able to differentiate between necessary and best issues
Project managers are always to blame when projects do not accomplish their goals. People expect that a project manager should be able to foretell whether a project will be successful or not. Also, donors and those who finance the project do not want to lose their money. Therefore a project manager must be a good risk manager.
In conclusion, a good project manager must be able to create realistic plans, estimating time, efforts and budgets. But being organised and keeping your workers updated is also vital for the success of a project. To achieve all this project manager must be well equipped with the skills.
Berg, M. E., & Karlsen, J. T. (2014). How project managers can encourage and develop positive emotions in project teams. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 7(3), 449–472.