How It Feels to Be a Project Manager in an Outsourcing Web-Development Company
Our own way to a successful project management
It’s difficult to say exactly what traits should a good Project Manager possess. The position of a project manager is required in many professions. Even if you are not called as a manager by your title, you may need to monitor the performance of people working with you.
A project manager is a kind of transmitter between a client and a team. Usually it’s a person that accepts the main responsibility for any kind of mistake. If the team screwed up, the manager takes the fall for this.
In our company we know perfectly well that a good PM is a half way to a successful project development.
One of the biggest responsibilities of a PM is to keep the client up-to-date with the current state of the project. That’s why it’s not a rare case when our PMs have to adjust their timetable according to the client’s needs. It’s not a big deal to wake up, let’s say, at 7 am for a Skype call with a client or stay at work till 9 pm if this time is more comfortable for a client.
Our PMs try not only to help with the technical side and the development of the project but also to help with the business model and take an active role in the business process. That’s why a PM should be also quite a good psychologist who knows when it’s appropriate to push on the client, when it’s necessary to uphold his point of view and when it’s better to give in.
At the same time, a project manager is responsible for an atmosphere in his team. It’s his duty to monitor the mood of the team, notice all their dissatisfactions and worries, and prevent any kind of arguments.
Like one of our PMs said: “If there is any kind of a problem, it’s my task to regulate all the issues. My work is to satisfy the client’s needs and to provide the developers with comfortable working conditions”.
At the same time, in our company we try not to apart the client from the developers. As a rule, we organise common calls with the client and the programmers. In that way the developers are really involved in the project and provides the client with an opportunity to get acquainted with the team personally.
A project manager must also be technical enough. That doesn’t mean that he should be a coder himself, though, it’s an obvious plus. But, at least, he should be able to remain on the same page with the developers and answer client’s technical questions. Moreover, if a PM understands the main technical peculiarities, he’ll be able to delegate a particular task to a particular developer that is the most qualified person for it.
One more important trait that a PM should possess is an ability to handle the problem of resource conflict. Whether you are working in a big company or in a small one, you’ll always face the lack of people resources. And the PMs’ task is to find a golden mean and the way to distribute the resources he possesses the best.A good PM has a good eye for the details. Sometimes we mock at our PMs that they are sort of know-it-alls who are very picky. However, these are the very traits of character that help them to perform their duties at the highest level.
Everybody understands that a PM should be flexible. There is no doubt that every work requires a certain plan. However, there can be some moments when a customer wants to switch from one work to another, then a PM should be able to adjust to the changes, quickly tune his team to them and be able to make a new plan. All this is possible due to an agile project management development process that we widely use in our company as well.
At the same time, a PM has to remember that time, budget and quality are the three fundamental things that can’t be forgotten or sacrificed.
Good team-building skills are also extremely important for a PM. In our company, we conduct various team-building events, forums, and games. It helps to build a team spirit among the developers and ensures a successful co-operation between the team members.
One of the distinguishing features of a PM is that he is always trying to improve his knowledge. He understands that the new technologies appear nearly every day and that he should be aware of all the changes. Out PMs have found a great way not only to improve their skills and knowledge but also to help other young but promising people to become PMs. This year we decided to open IT Project Management School. It’s a great possibility for our PMs to share their experience with others and learn something new themselves.
They confess: “When we started to prepare for the first lesson, we realized the lack of theoretical knowledge that we had. It was a huge challenge for us. We definitely could tell students a lot about our practice, but as for the theory, we had to learn a lot ourselves before we felt that we were ready to perform in front of our students.”
Project Manager is a kind of profession that is not widely taught at universities. One can become a good PM only through his own experience, making his own mistakes and finding the way to correct them. However, the job is on the high demand and you should realize that a really professional PM will never stay without the job.
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