|Author : DAOUDI Samir | Context : MSc Software Engineering – IT Project Management
Computing field has significantly evolved from the earlier ages where computers occupied rooms and software were developed by geeks in garage. Nowadays, computer solutions are very important in our daily lives, and we depend closely in different software-solutions. Not only for personal uses, but also entire businesses depend on their IT infrastructure and all the software and solutions built upon this architecture. This importance and crucial aspect of certain projects and their consequences on business and persons adds a significant pressure on project managers who are the central points and the first responsible of projects. Before discussing the role and responsibilities of the project manager, it is important to well define what is a project? And what are the different scopes of a project?
A project is a set of tasks and activities that share some characteristics as:
– Having an objective to complete with specifications.
– Have a start and end dates.
– Having resources limits (funding for example).
– Needing humans and non-humans resources.
– Being multifunctional (Kerzner, 2009).
The project management is all the methods, approaches and tools used in managing and conducting project from its earlier stages (being just an idea or a requirement) to the final step which is the achievement and delivery of the project. It involves five major process groups which can be summarized in:
Initiation: This step is the analysis of the project by recognizing its benefits, trying to define the best resources limits, preparing all the related documents and assigning the project to the appropriate project manager.
Planning: This is the crucial step of defining the work requirements, resources needed, scheduling the different activities and risks estimation.
Execution: This step consists in managing the work and working with team members to enhance the productivity.
Monitoring: Tracking and monitoring the advancement of tasks, and ensuring that the outcomes respect the expectations in addition to making adjustments if required.
Closure: This is the final step, in which the project should be verified and delivered to customers in addition to the closure of contract and administrative paperwork (Field & Keller, 1998).
The steps defined above are just the general tasks that should be performed and monitored by the project managers, in specific situations and certain contexts, other tasks might be added to the project steps. It is clear that the project manager should have different skills in different fields to be able to manage all aspects of the project.
I personally think that the project manager should have good communication skills due to the fact that he/she will conduct different meeting with end-users, developers, managers …etc. Communication skills involve other sub set of skills and conflict resolution and team motivation. In addition to the communication, the PM should have technical skills for the project being managed; this allows him/her to better discuss and review the requirements, deliveries and re-adjust the project outcomes if required. Other parts of the project management are the tasks planning and estimation and this requires the PM to know exactly the skills of the team members, assign tasks to appropriate team member and have a good estimation of the work hours needed for each task (Hoobs, 2009).
These are the most important skills; any PM should have to ensure that the project can be well conducted. Now the questions whether these can learned or project managing skills are innate is different. Some skills as the communication and conflict resolution can be innate, but trainings for these skills exist and a PM can enhance theirs. The technical and planning skills however should be learned and can be accumulated by time and experience.
Project management is an important role within companies and businesses and the skills of the project managers are important to the success or failure of the project. During the years and with different project, project managers acquire more experience by facing different scenarios and situations and this can be very helpful to build strong PM skills in addition to the specialized trainings.
– Harold Kerzner (2009). Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. ISBN:978-0-470-27870-3
– Peter Hoobs(2009). Project Management. ISBN: 978-1-4053-3545-4
– Mike Field, Laurie S. Keller(1998). Project Management. ISBN: 978-1-86152-274-0