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What is IT Project Management? What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

What is IT Project Management? What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

What is IT Project Management? What Does an IT Project Manager Do? Let's explore the answer to this question in this article!
Techcareer.net
Techcareer.net
11.03.2024
9 Minutes

Information technology, abbreviated as IT, refers to the use of computer systems to access information. Information technology is responsible for a significant portion of workforce and operations. Therefore, most of the daily activities of companies are conducted using information technologies. IT project management is the process of managing, planning, and developing information technology projects. The individuals who manage these projects are selected from skilled leaders because carrying complex projects across the finish line is not easy at all. So, what are the responsibilities of an IT project manager? Let's take a look together.

What is IT Project Management?

IT project management means organizing all the processes of information technology projects. IT project management is done in many sectors including software development, information security, information systems, communication, hardware, networking, databases, and mobile application development. There are specific areas of project management, some of which are:

  • Managing the scope of a project, which involves defining the tasks, deliverables, and milestones that need to be delivered
     
  • Creating a project schedule and establishing guidelines on how it will be monitored and maintained
     
  • Identifying project costs to create a budget to be followed throughout the project
     
  • Acquiring, allocating, and monitoring project resources such as labor, materials, and equipment
     
  • Defining communication protocols for teams and stakeholders
     
  • Developing methods to identify, evaluate, prevent, and mitigate risks in the project
     
  • Acquiring resources, maintaining relationships with vendors and suppliers
     
  • Identifying project stakeholders and updating them according to their expectations and impacts on the project
     
  • Creating a framework to help teams work better together

How is IT Project Management Done?

An IT project manager effectively handles complex tasks using the five stages of the project life cycle. Each stage has different milestones that advance the project life cycle. Whether you are managing sprints for a Scrum project or organizing process presentations, you need to map out a roadmap for yourself by following these stages:

1. Initiation

The initiation stage involves identifying the need for the project and creating a project proposal. This proves the project is valuable and feasible. In this stage, the need for the project is shaped, project goals and return on investment are formulated, and a feasibility study is conducted. The feasibility study proves that the project can be realized within a reasonable time frame and budget. Also, in the initiation step, a document outlining what the project will deliver is prepared. Before moving to the next stage, you need to verify that the project is worth the allocated time and resources.

2. Planning

The planning stage occurs through collaboration between the IT project manager and the team. This stage requires setting a budget, identifying risks, and setting clear goals for what you hope to achieve. In this stage, the following are created:

  • Project timeline: A schedule for executing tasks and allocating resources.
  • Project budget: The budget needed for the project is determined, considering estimated costs.
  • Scope management plan: Risks that could affect the project and strategies to mitigate them are identified.
  • Resource management plan: How resources will be managed during the project is outlined.
  • Stakeholder management plan: Guidelines for managing all project stakeholders are defined.

Project managers often organize project plans using a Gantt chart, which provides a visual representation of the entire project schedule and scope. A Gantt chart is a horizontal graph used to show the project timeline. Each bar on the graph represents tasks in the project. The Gantt chart helps teams see what needs to be done, how tasks affect each other, and assists in planning targets throughout the lifecycle.

3. Execution

The implementation phase is where the team defines project deliverables. IT project managers keep communication open among all team members by delegating tasks to reach milestones.

4. Monitoring and Control

During the execution phase, IT project managers can use management software to track the team's progress in real time. Jira, Asana, ClickUp, Smartsheet, and GitLab are among the most popular of these software. Management software allows for monitoring workflow, completed tasks, and task distribution within the team. Project managers can assign specific tasks to team members using this software. The monitoring and control phase involves tracking the project's time, cost, quality, and risks.

5. Closure

After the project is completed, the closure phase begins. This stage ensures that all work is completed, approved, and transferred to the appropriate team. It's important to review what was learned during the project, identifying what went well and what caused problems. This phase is crucial for IT project managers as it gives them the power to review and improve future methodology.

What Technical Skills Should an IT Project Manager Have?

An IT project manager, who plays an active role at every stage of management, must first be knowledgeable in project management software. These software tools are beneficial for allocating resources and tracking progress. Software such as Microsoft Project, Asana, Jira, Trello are among the most popular project management tools.

In addition to management tools, an IT project manager must be able to analyze data to identify risks and opportunities. Analyzing data helps in identifying areas for improvement and making data-driven decisions. Proficiency in data analysis tools such as Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets is crucial for project managers.

As you learn more about project planning, you may also encounter terms such as Scrum, Agile, and Waterfall. These refer to various methodologies for managing a project. Common approaches and methodologies in project management include Scrum, Agile, Waterfall, as well as Lean, Kanban, Six Sigma, and XP (Extreme Programming). Project managers use the methodologies that are suitable for them. Therefore, an IT project manager needs to learn the methodology that suits their industry.

For example, someone working in the field of software development should know how to use Agile techniques. Agile and Scrum are management methodologies that are carried out together. They use daily team meetings and short sprints to develop projects quickly and efficiently. Daily team meetings evaluate progress, while sprints deliver certain stages of the project to stakeholders.

Quality control is also one of the most important stages of any project. IT project managers can use tools like Six Sigma to ensure project deliverables meet the required standards. Equally important is risk management. Having skills in risk management to identify and mitigate project risks is necessary. An IT manager must be able to detect potential risks, assess their impact, and develop plans to mitigate them. Knowledge of methodologies like the PMI Risk Management Framework makes the manager's job easier.

What Are the Responsibilities of an IT Project Manager?

At the forefront of an IT project manager's responsibilities is adhering to the principles of the project life cycle and ensuring the best possible closure. This involves communicating with the team, conducting necessary analyses, and monitoring processes. The responsibilities of an IT project manager that ensure the process is carried out successfully are as follows:

  • Defining the project scope
  • Adhering to the initial plan
  • Planning and sticking to the project budget
  • Managing project resources
  • Documenting the progress stages of the project
  • Communicating with stakeholders and informing them about the progress
  • Generating solutions to resolve arising issues

    No two projects are the same. Therefore, the duties of a project manager can vary depending on the tasks at hand and the industry. However, the entire project ecosystem generally goes through the above stages.

What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

An IT project manager ensures the successful delivery of any project. Across any sector, key responsibilities include identifying necessary technological solutions, scheduling delivery dates, and adhering to the budget. In addition, an IT project manager leads meetings with senior management, department heads, and relevant team members.

While monitoring the progress of projects, potential issues are reported to senior managers and stakeholders. Along with reports, all related documents, including contracts, plans, and drawings, are prepared. To facilitate processes, the project manager continues to collaborate with clients, stakeholders, and suppliers throughout the project duration. The manager leads both external and internal teams to maintain high performance and minimize potential problems. To improve the implementation of future projects, the project manager reviews all completed work and provides feedback to the team. While managing this entire process, an IT project manager also needs to be knowledgeable about relevant regulations to ensure project compliance.

How to Become an IT Project Manager?

To become an IT project manager, you typically need to have several years of experience in similar positions. Additionally, you should have knowledge in disciplines such as engineering, computer science, and business management. You also need to learn about project management methodologies commonly used in IT, such as Agile, Waterfall, and Scrum.

To become an IT project manager, certain personal skills also need to be developed. Leadership is at the forefront of these skills. Managers lead a team and are responsible for keeping the team dynamic and managing task distribution. Along with leadership, developing communication skills is also important. This is because the IT project manager is the first line of communication for team members, vendors, stakeholders, and customers.

To be a good project manager, organizational skills also need to be developed. Project management inherently involves specific delivery dates and multitasking. Therefore, the ability to prioritize and handle multiple tasks is important. This makes it possible to smoothly progress your projects. At some stages of the project, you need to think critically and analyze the outputs you obtain. This way, you can anticipate potential problems and prevent issues before they arise. Developing a sense of humor among multiple tasks also helps keep your motivation high. Approaching a project with a positive attitude can reduce stress and energize your team.

To develop your personal skills and technical knowledge, you can work with project teams before becoming an IT project manager. This way, you become familiar with potential problems and the project management ecosystem in advance. The experience you gain will also support your chance to lead future projects. Project management can be a challenging career, but you never have to face these challenges alone. You often work with team members and use specially developed software and online tools to facilitate the process.

To stay instantly informed about technology from all sectors, you should continue to follow Techcareer.net. On this platform, you can find many Bootcamp trainings where you can develop yourself, including management systems and information technologies. Additionally, you can participate in award-winning Hackathon events to obtain new career opportunities. If you're looking to make a change in your career, you can also visit the job postings page.


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