In the Information Technology Sector, What is the Role of a Project Manager?

Information technology is a field that has changed tremendously in the last 15 years. Around the time that the Web was growing in popularity and the first dynamic websites spawned the term “Web 2.0,” people in general started becoming familiar with computers and didn’t need the same IT support as before. Companies downsized their IT departments and shifted the responsibility of project managers from hardware installation and maintenance to software development, database administration and network maintenance.

Types of IT Projects

In the current state of the IT sector, project managers usually have computer science or management information systems degrees. The type of degree a manager has depends on the company he or she works for and the type of product or service the company offers. Project managers can be employed by a company providing a service for a client, or they can be employed by the client and put in charge of a project. They have complete responsibility for all aspects of a project, and in the true sense of the term “project manager,” they have full authority over all other team members. Because IT teams often develop the Web and mobile software for an organization, project managers must be familiar with the various software development models, including long-term development life cycles and short-term design objectives.

Skills Needed to be a Project Manager

In large organizations, they don’t actually write any code, but they need to understand coding details so that they can communicate with the client and the design team. At the beginning of a project, the manager designs the development model based on the goals, and in software development, these goals usually change as the project is developed. The design team needs to be flexible at all stages of the project so that sudden changes can be implemented when required. To keep the project flexible, the design model is broken down into iterative stages, and each stage is time-boxed for the completion of its goal.

For example, the first iteration of a mobile app may be time-boxed for completion after the first six weeks of a project. During this stage, there are several smaller goals that the team focuses on to get to the main goal. By setting these smaller project goals between major iterations of the project, the team can respond to design changes much more easily. If the client changes the requirements for the user interface or the graphics library while the team is working on a different part of the program, it’s much easier to shift direction when project objectives are scheduled every one to two weeks instead of four to six weeks.

Communicating With Teams and Clients

In information technology, the project manager needs to understand technology and software as much as the business side of a project, including the risks associated with a project and the operations that a project influences. As in all management positions, IT project managers need to have a good understanding of the jobs performed by all members of the team so that they can understand the requirements and concerns of the people working under them.

The IT sector has changed significantly as people have learned to solve basic computer problems for themselves. In today’s information technology industry, project managers need to have equally sharp business, management and technical skills.