In the software development realm, digital product development methodologies are as important as the processes followed, but the protagonist is the Project Manager.
Project management is a widely applied discipline in the IT and software development industries. However, in the 1990s, project management took a new approach with tools, techniques, and theories, reaching its apex with modernized project management concepts and quick-witted management approaches.
New norms, advanced tools, and trending technologies are harnessed as per today's project development requirements. Without question, today's project management approach is significantly more advanced than that of the black-and-white era.
A project manager oversees certain risk-involved obligations and intellectual responsibilities, which dictate a project's outcome. Guidance, direction, vision, and leadership are some factors that are required to maintain the team's morale and passion, and a project manager is the one who establishes a positive environment and promotes professionalism in the organization.
The project development process comprises several essential stages, and a team of project-relevant experts is involved in the development process from the initial stage to the deployment of the product.
To make the process easy, this competent group needs an adroit leader professionally called a Project Manager. An adept project manager possesses primary skills like adaptability, accountability, practical communication skills, instant problem-solving skills, budget and time management, decision making, critical thinking, and the list goes on.
A project manager supervises a project’s timeline, on-time delivery, and under-budget project development. So, 50% of the credit goes to the project manager whenever a project gets delivered successfully.
Key Role of a Project Manager in an IT company
A project manager is responsible for keeping the project development process efficient, well-organized, adaptable. They direct the entire team until the project reaches completion and is deployed.
In short, a project manager is a valuable member of a company who crafts an organization’s image through building and maintaining the organization’s reputation, enhancing the organization’s revenue, and improving teamwork efficiency, for ensuring project success.
Project development mainly comprises five phases: project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing. However, since this piece of information represents detailed information about the roles and responsibilities of the project managers, we will deliver some more clear insight.
You might also like to read: what role does a project manager fulfill in a software development company?
A project manager assists his/her team with discovering and defining the project development idea and targeted goals. He/she identifies the timeline, scope, and purpose of the project. Many intricate aspects of the projects get highlighted, like project importance, the specific and potential hurdles, expected outcome, the success criteria, internal and external stakeholder involvement, the constraints, the possible assumptions, funding, project significance, scope, and the list goes on.
Once the project is initialized and the project charter is passed, planning takes place – the project manager oversees the project timeline, risks, and budget and creates an integrated plan.
Next, communication and practical ideas identify the deliverables and intended objectives. Finally, the project goes through extensive research. Project planning offers clear direction to pursue till the project is deployed, and therefore, this phase is crucial. Significant points to highlight here:
This is an essential parameter on which the entire project development is heavily reliant.
This phase requires the creative efforts of the team. The main emphasis is on the project design, architecture, and prototypes at this stage. The design phase offers more insight into the development process, and thus, all the major deliverables are crafted out.
The best designs are approved by the stakeholders. The influential role of the project manager encompasses the responsibility for leading the team from the front to achieve the targeted goals and intended deliverables.
A project manager is responsible for documenting the design activities with the respective team. The design phase elaborates the user interfaces, wireframing, database selection, configurations, network requirements, layout determination, overall system characteristics, and the rest under the supervision of the project manager.
A project manager is also responsible for making the final draft test plan used in the development phase to boost the development phase by frequently testing the integrated components. Upon successful completion of the design phase after review, and approval from the client, the development stage is initiated.
Project Development Phase
Project success is highly dependent on the core values that a project manager adopts for successful project management. For this, the project manager has to reduce potential risks, control costs, and enhance value.
At this stage, team developers start coding to develop the software as per the draft design document specifications built at the design stage. Hence, project managers direct and oversee the developers while they code and adroitly use multiple tools like assemblers, code editors, compilers, linkers, debuggers, interpreters, etc., as per the guidelines.
A project manager performs regulatory tasks, controls the workflow activities, analyzes and mitigates possible risks, and eliminates hindrance from the development process. Moreover, a project manager delivers a product demo and produces a final report upon completing the phase. In addition, he/she lists the productivity, timeline performance, budget performance, hurdles, and oppositions that the team had to face and other vital aspects of the project.
This phase verifies the software quality. A project manager ensures that the project must be bug-free, error-free, and fulfills all the quality standards as the project prepares to move toward the deployment stage. A team lead identifies the problems at the execution time and runs the debugging process along with the SQA team.
The SQA team addresses the issues and vulnerabilities found within the project that are hurdles to error-free performing functions. Next, a project manager ensures that the user interaction is flawless. During this stage, the project manager gets involved with testers to check and verify the project before sending it to the deployment phase.
Time to wind up! However, a product launch may consume a surprising amount of time when you intend to deliver the product to the market. During this stage, the project manager works with a team to introduce the product to app stores.
Large-scale digital products specifically require more attention and time. Such projects also need to undergo a rigorous approval process (iOS-based apps specifically). Once the entire software project is tested and passes all the standard quality assurance procedures, it is deployed in the market.
Operation and Maintenance
The deployment stage isn’t the end of the road for the SDLC. A project manager and the integrated development team work together to maintain the product and fix possible post-deployment issues. However, large-sized projects require more comprehensive maintenance services and bug fixing services.
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Traits of an Effective Project Manager
This post has highlighted the role of a project manager at each crucial stage of the software development life cycle with an integrated team. Project managers help business analysts build a productive strategy for defining the project scope and objective.
The project manager plays a significant role in conveying the client’s requirements and vision to the team. Therefore, the project manager should be an effective communicator in parallel with an excellent activity controller. To be a good fit as a project manager of an organization, you must possess these qualities.
Supports and Guides the Team
A team requires support, motivation, and some words of courage that boost their individual morale to work tirelessly for the long haul.
A project manager supports the team through frequent involvement with the team, communicates ideas and solutions, sets standards, helps with developing and improving skills, uplifts the team’s confidence, and is always available whenever the team needs him/her. Successful project managers bring all team members on one platform and lead them from the front to deliver top-notch projects.
Track Performance and set Deadline
Project success is undoubtedly highly based on the technical expertise of the party tasked with executing the project. A project manager is accountable for selecting the best-suited talent, training his/her team, providing guidance, building trust, and maintaining discipline among the team members.
Top-notch organizations equally prioritize workforce technical skills and expertise, leadership qualities, and practical business management skills. These are the most crucial and sensitive areas to achieve an unparalleled project management state.
“If we want to develop quality products, we need great people. If we want to engage and keep people, we need great principles,” quoted Jim Highsmith, Agile Project Management. To digress a bit here, it’s worth adding that in order to let people perform to the best of their ability, you need to give them the best chances of success. And for a lot of organizations, it’s an agile methodology that allows you to do this.
You might want to read about the agile methodology and why it’s a top choice for many organizations.
Manage the essential aspects of the project
A proficient project manager allocates time and resources wisely to make the project development budget-friendly. However, according to PMI’s Global survey 2017, it is observed that organizations waste a massive amount of approx. $97 M due to poor project management and team performance. PMI’s survey also elaborates that only 60% of organizations could fill the gap between recognizing strategy and executing strategy.
For any type of project development, time and budget are the two most impactful factors for the entire development process. Proper time allocation can be done with better scheduling efforts for any specific project development portion. A project manager also needs to make sure that the project gets completed before the deadline to focus on post-development bugs fixation and error reduction.
To avoid any last-minute inconvenience and conflicts, highly competent project managers start building on or before the scheduled deadline. This way, a project manager and the integrated team can ensure that they have delivered a quality product that aligns with the customer’s needs, with their hard work ultimately paying off.
Satisfy Customer Demands
Customer satisfaction is an essential part of quality project management. Therefore, expert project managers carry out effective communication with customers frequently throughout project development activities to understand their demands and ensure whether they are satisfied with the development process so far or not. This concept of client-manager communication is aimed at developing quality products at the end of the process.
Experienced project managers are aware of the significance of working with customers and the need to be able to communicate to overcome any hurdles. And all your communication is aimed at problem solving.
“Each day, you'll be presented with fresh, complex ideas that you need to solve. So, you've to be ready for a lot of problem-solving situations.” So says Saeed Alam, a lead project manager for Cubix.
Document Project Report
Successful project managers document reports. They consider reusing the project plans, requirement specifications, business cases, and other necessary reports that help managers identify project management core competencies.
A project manager is responsible for documenting the feasibility reports, requirement specifications, project charter, work plan, design document, traceability matrix, test document, change management document, technical and functional document, user manual, transition document, and a Contract closure document.
Indeed, proper documentation is a mandatory factor for successful project management. As a project manager, you need to ensure that all stakeholders are well-informed to avoid miscommunications and delays in the project development process.
There’s more in store to Tackle
A project manager's job role doesn't end on the abovementioned points. As highlighted earlier, a project manager's role involves a lot of risk management factors; therefore, project management professionals should know the tactics to handle potential risks that might impact the development process.
Risk management is analyzing and dealing with the risks before they rise above the surface and trouble the development procedure.
There are many possible and unexpected ways uncertainty can occur during the development phase – unpredicted weather conditions, sudden employee unavailability, unexpected cost increment, delays, and whatnot. However, such factors commonly affect budget, scope, timeliness. An effective manager tackles these obstacles before they create a severe impact on the team and development cycle.
Control Technical Challenges and Business Disruption
Technical challenges are the most common yet disruptive factors that lead to business disorder. Therefore, organization leaders should adjust their approach and strategies in response to business disturbances.
Top professional managers understand the importance of staying relevant in the market through adopting and leading the transformation from the front.
Technical risk includes the unpleasant possibilities of change that could impact a system, project, and entire infrastructure if not sorted out on time. For example, what if you don’t intervene when you know a team member fails to manage his or her tasks?
In that case, you might end up compromising anything from security and system performance, to unexpected long delays and whatnot. You might end up with an instant rise in development cost, team performance degradation, and damage to the organization’s reputation. In other words, this could be your shortest horror story.
As a project manager, to save your company from becoming a part of such a terrifying story, it is crucial to detect the risks early and identify the best solution possible. This calculated approach toward such risks may prevent hundreds of potential issues that may later become devastating for the company.
Decrease Technical Risks through Software Intelligence Platform
Software intelligence platforms mitigate issues. These platforms are full-fledged monitoring enablers that identify, diagnose, and assist the whole development team with resolving software or system-related issues for both the production team and end-users.
They integrate features like real-time user monitoring and crash reporting, and comprise deployment and user tracking features. Software intelligence platforms also assess possible risks and threats based on the system complexity, project scale, and vulnerabilities.
The development team can use a software Intelligence platform to manage complex systems effectively, reduce technical debt, boost productivity, prevent system vulnerabilities, enhance project code quality, and lower potential technical risks.
Curious if Project Managers at Cubix can do the same?
Our project managers nimbly handle project management, demonstrating exceptional team supervision and complete control over challenges. We always welcome our clients with open arms and love to provide them with hands-on consultation and partner with them to implement what they have in mind.
Are you searching for a leading software development company that can implement all the factors that guarantee success in your project development process?
We would love to build a unique digital project for you.