An IT project manager is responsible for planning and executing information technology projects that meet organisational objectives. The responsibilities include creating a project plan, budgeting, allocating tasks, and managing resources to achieve organisational IT goals successfully. These goals range from software application development, hardware installation, network upgrade, or other IT objectives. An essential part of the IT project manager’s responsibility is communication and collaboration with all stakeholders.
An IT project manager gets to work and share knowledge with people from diverse backgrounds. They experience unique challenges regularly, which helps them improve their creativity and problem-solving skills.
However, the role of the IT project manager is not without certain pitfalls. They have end-to-end project responsibilities, including maintaining quality and timeliness and ensuring it is all within budget. Even though the IT project manager has high accountability, their authority is limited, which severely constrains the effective discharge of responsibilities.
Here are 5 things you must know before you start your career as an IT Project Manager
1. Stick to the critical path
In IT project management, the critical path comprises the sequence of essential tasks integral to the project’s timely completion. The critical path method enables project managers to determine the most efficient timeline possible to complete a project.
Project managers are taught to stay on the critical path. You may get overwhelmed with project activities, which may cause you to get sidetracked or focus on less important things while ignoring the tasks that matter. Getting involved in the tiniest things is tempting, but you should ensure that you do not deviate from the critical tasks.
2. Every project is unique
Every project and client is different, and there can be no one-size-fits-all approach in IT project management. Many project managers make the common mistake of using statistics from previous projects as the basis for their upcoming projects. The requirements for tasks, timelines, and outcomes differ across projects. As an IT project manager, you should consider each project unique and devise a plan of action specific to it.
3. Get project specifications right
You should clarify the project specifications and ask the client to provide a recorded or live demo of their design. Ask questions during the demo and make notes to share with your team. Having the correct project specifications is essential for the success of the project.
4. Leading from the front
You are your team’s first line of defence; ensure you protect the team members when something goes wrong. Even though you are answerable when things go wrong, you will not be the sole recipient of all the praise. As a leader, you should ensure that individual team members get credit for exemplary work to keep their morale and motivation high.
5. An IT Project Manager cannot know everything
Avoid the mistake many project managers make by trying to handle too many tasks. A good team is a prerequisite for your success as an IT project manager, considering human skills are crucial to success in any IT project. You should first form the core of your team before starting on the project and diligently delegate tasks to others who are good at it, considering IT projects are multi-disciplinary efforts.
You may be required to handle multiple projects at once; hence, if you take too much upon yourself, your projects may suffer in terms of timeline or quality. Also, as a leader, you should provide your team members with opportunities to learn and grow.
IT project management has assumed greater importance as businesses accelerate their digital transformation. Now that you understand the role of an IT project manager, do you feel you have the skills to become one? You can gain and hone your project management skills by enrolling in a distance management program in Information Technology and System Management. This program will help you build the technical and people skills you need to succeed as an IT project manager. Distance MBA programs are a great way to develop your management skills and offer the flexibility to learn from anywhere, even as you continue your job.