What Makes You A Software Project Manager?
In the software development scene, one of the biggest mysteries is, undoubtedly, what is the role of a project manager. Who are they? Scheduling wizards? Your boss’s right arm? The person that stresses you out with the deadlines?
Summarizing it, a project manager has the responsibility of planning, procurement and execution of a project.
He defines the scope, start and deadline. A software project manager plans, schedules and manages resource allocations and execution, while tracking the performance and deliveries of software and web projects. It is quite distinguished from other project managements, since it has its very own lifecycle process, which includes testing (lots of testing), updating and customer feedback. The majority of IT-related projects (most of, not all of them!), are managed in the agile style (we can talk about that on another blog post), allowing constant customer-stakeholder interaction.
Although all of these might sound extremely doable, it takes a bit more than that to be a project manager.
Communication is one of the requirements if you want to consider this role. We’re not only talking about communication with your team: a project manager will be in touch with several teams, stakeholders and other third parties. It’s a long and non ending list of contacts and all of them require attention, proactivism, and strong communication skills. Being a people’s person is a key if you want to give project management a try: you’ll have to manage expectations, lead and even adapt to different cultures and work methodologies. It requires leadership, but keep in mind you’re the one who serves people – you’re the message carrier at all times.
A Project Manager’s commitment is to lead, both projects and people.
It’s not exclusively about following carefully an Excel sheet, but leading the project to where it should be according to each project step.
Leading and being on top of the project and your team doesn’t equal micro management. You have to guide them – leading is not the same as controlling and monitoring. Micro management can quickly turn into a massive problem and affect your team’s trust and even perception of who you are as a project manager, directly impacting their performance and the project’s progress. This is why we must reinforce the humanization of a PM. You’re not cheering for them or just bossing around, you’re like a track coach, helping them along the entire way and also back and forward with the stakeholders, making sure deliveries are properly done. It’s important to let them run by themselves, show up to check time scores and set improvement mechanisms. From then on, you’ll let them know what’s being done right and what needs extra focus.
And then, there’s management, the one that goes beyond people: schedules, budget, official communications. All the details must be in and the PM has to be on top of everything.
It is overwhelming, which explains the amount of frameworks and tools PMs’ have available.
And finally, a quick note on software development Project Managers: the non-development work should be yours to do. Stay away from coding, trust your team with the development work. This is a crucial detail considering it will put your coding skills to the side in order to let others code and create.
Yet, keep in mind that you have to think like a programmer – avoid changing tasks once they’re assigned, stick to the plan, encourage productivity and think how much you’ve profited through effective delegation before, take the time to explain the process and clear any doubts. You know what it feels like to run a mile in their shoes so you’ll be able to work with them better than no one else.
Would you consider this role and do you have successful project management stories to share?
Comments are closed