Having a plan in place, before starting a task, is often a strategy for success. This is exactly what project management is about - strategy build-up.
Project management involves laying down steps that can be followed to achieve a goal. It helps to make a job more straightforward and more efficient. Project management is an essential discipline when it comes to software development.
A good project manager will help your software projects be more efficient and profitable. They can plan and organize work so that you can meet your goals more effectively.
What is a Project Manager?
A project manager is going to give you the right approach to achieve success with your project. The job of a project manager is essentially to provide a clearly documented plan with specific deliverables. This plan should be flexible.
The project manager is responsible for ensuring teams meet their deliverable dates. If dates are going to slip, project managers need to find solutions to get projects back on track.
The project manager plays a critical role in any project, as they keep the team together and working. The project manager can in some aspects be considered the glue that keeps a project progressing.
Project managers in software organizations are familiar with many different methodologies. These could include: waterfall, iterative, big bang, or agile.
Agile is the newest software methodology. Agile lets organizations make quick changes and modifications. This is in contrast to waterfall where a project is only reviewed by clients when it is fully delivered.
The Value of a Dedicated Project Manager
The importance of a dedicated project manager cannot be overstated. To complete a particular task, there are usually several approaches. It is up to an intelligent and smart project manager to pave the way. This lets teams complete the task in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
Agile project managers understand that requirements change. This could be due to changing market conditions, or new advancements. As such, agile project managers know how to work with clients to modify projects.
Dedicated project managers have experience setting practical goals with an understanding of the resources available. This ensures that someone is keeping the team working efficiently towards the same goal.
A dedicated project manager is a communication resource. The teams doing the work often report to different leaders. The project manager coordinates the resources to get the work done.
A dedicated project manager will keep the team motivated and focused. They carry out many different tasks:
- The project manager plans and directs work.
- The project manager monitors the work on a project.
- The project manager takes the necessary decisions in favor of the project.
Basic Project Management Practices
When a project is decided upon, it is important to understand what the "objective" of the project is. A project manager extracts this and creates a work plan based on the end goal. The project manager is instrumental in breaking down the complex end state into more realistic and achievable deliverables.
This work plan incorporates the specific tasks and subtasks, as well as any dependencies between tasks. In addition, named resources and teams are documented along with estimated timelines and milestones.
Once the plan is in place, it needs to be communicated and managed. Project managers ensure that projects continue to move forward. They do this by ensuring that individuals are aware of and working on their expected deliverables.
In addition to the plan itself, the project manager is also responsible for evaluating risks. These could be with the project or even around the market or resources. They proactively resolve the risks where possible. Project managers have plans in place to mitigate risks if they occur during a project lifecycle.
One of the basic and most desirable qualities of any project manager is that the person has good leadership skills. Most projects require a project manager to work with employees that do not directly report to the project manager.
They need to find ways to motivate and drive these employees regardless of this fact. Having strong leadership qualities in your project manager are very important.
Another reason why leadership matters with project managers is that they are often at the forefront of change. Dealing with change is often quite difficult for employees. It requires leaders to explain the benefits to them and the business. A good leader can make a project significantly more successful.
Before moving forward with any project, it is essential that the work delivered is of top-class quality. When a project manager leads a project, quality is one of the elements that is considered.
This includes tests that are conducted throughout the course of a project. Some examples of tests to ensure quality in software are:
- Usability Tests - these basically ensure that the product is delivering the results that are expected.
- Regression Tests - these tests try to ensure that the new features developed do not break other existing product features.
Project managers use these tools to ensure project success. This also helps ensure that the project is delivering a quality product.
In addition, however, another aspect of quality is the utilization of project resources. Using resources effectively is one very important aspect of project management. Quality control is basically using these resources to their full value with minimal impact.
Companies looking for a software partner want a business that can empathize with their demands and requirements. Their chosen partner needs to be flexible and adaptable and should be conversant with the latest technologies and tools.
Konverge is a Toronto based custom software company that excels in custom software development. As skilled practitioners of agile software development, their project managers understand all of the nuances. As a Microsoft Gold Certified partner, Konverge has worked with businesses of all sizes.
Through its award-winning collaborative process, Konverge puts project management at the heart of any software project. They understand technology but also business needs. With a dedicated team of experts and proven expertise, Konverge can help you win clients in today’s saturated market.