What is an IT Project Manager and What Do They Do?
15 July 2020
An IT project manager must be able to plan, coordinate, deliver, and implement cross-functional projects. These projects should exactly follow a specification from a company or client. The role could be considered partly project management and partly technology operations. There’s also an element of general management. It is a specialized and varied job.
Any project manager should be an inspiring leader, with a deep knowledge of their subject matter. This involves being interested in their industry and aware of any changes within it. In the complex and ever-changing information technology world, it is crucial that an IT project manager is completely perceptive and attentive.
Learn below more about this topic in this article created by our team at TMS.
The day to day responsibilities of an IT project manager
IT project managers mainly work on different projects, all of which have specific goals. The IT project manager must bring together a team to ensure they are able to achieve the project goals. The teams are usually made up of system analysts, software developers, and technology experts.
The IT project manager will coordinate the work, involving a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. From inception to completion of the project, the IT project manager will be organizing the people, time, and resources. This will involve planning and delegating responsibilities, and working closely with the business or client to ensure their needs are met.
Also, the project manager’s job may involve managing the IT needs of a company to ensure daily efficiency, perhaps involving handling the integration of firmware and software, constructing websites, and managing database storage. In addition, they must be planning for potential security and data risks, requiring a focus on complex and geographically diverse infrastructures and networks.
The five main responsibilities of an IT project manager are:
The IT project manager will assess, prioritize, and plan potential projects. To do this, they would determine the scope of the work and the resources that are available, then it’s possible to set realistic expectations for project milestones.
Project management activities include coordinating workload and workflow to the team, to ensure they are communicating and collaborating effectively. They would use project management metrics and KPIs to measure the project and its progress to ensure it is completed on time and within budget.
The IT project manager will likely assemble a team of specialists to meet the needs of their clients. These will be IT professionals but also expected to understand the project’s business. This is advantageous for the project’s outcome.
Communication with other departments
The IT project manager will work with different departments within an organization, to understand the equipment and functionality required for their role. This could include enhancements or upgrades for more efficient work, as well as delivering training and assisting if somebody requires help.
Securing the network
Network security is of utmost importance to an organization. It helps to protect company and customer information from outside threats such as hackers and leaks. The IT project manager will set controls and limit access to confidential information, and monitor how employees use company internet and equipment.
Unique challenges IT project managers face
Due to the ever-changing world of information technology, IT projects can face complex challenges. Something that on the surface appears relatively straightforward, might present challenges not long after.
Changing technology means that there may be new updates or advancements needed part way through a project. It is a volatile industry and the priority of the client may also change.
Communication can also be an obstacle. The IT project manager should have clear expectations for communication within their teams. Communications with the company or client should be clear and concise and the project discussed regularly. Particularly in the IT industry, teams may work remotely and often in different time zones.
It is also important for the IT project manager to be transparent. It is easy to lose focus if an objective is not clear. Transparency helps teams to respond to change effectively and quickly. The IT project manager should be anticipating change and responding calmly.
Skills required for IT project managers
Typically, project managers have strong organizational and people skills. IT project managers usually come from a programming or engineering background, so they can discuss technical knowledge with clients and team members.
An IT project management role requires a mix of management skills and technical skills. The right person for the role would be responsible, responsive, and open-minded.
Experience in the field itself is helpful, but not always required.
The key skills required to work as an IT project manager include:
- Technical management skills
- Technical understanding of hardware, software, network, infrastructure, security, etc.
- Ability to analyze information and glean insights from data
- Strong communication across different levels
- Capable of staffing different roles
- Excellent problem-solving skills
- Strong data management skills
- Advanced resource planning, capacity planning, and task scheduling skills
Educational qualifications for IT project managers
IT project managers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree, though some employers require project managers to possess a graduate diploma. There are specialized master’s degrees in IT project management and business administration, which have a technology focus and organizations give them preference.
However, an advanced degree with a non-business or management focus can be attractive, especially if you are looking for a project management position that requires technical expertise in a specific IT domain.
What are the certification options?
The remaining six are for subspecialties within project management. They include the Program Management Professional (PgMP), Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP), PMI Professional in Business Analysis, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner, PMI Risk Management Professional, and PMI Scheduling Professional certifications.
More technical certifications are The Open Group’s TOGAF 9 and OPEN CA certifications, as well as the IASA’s Certified IT Architect – Professional (CITA-P). These enterprise architect certifications merge knowledge of technology with business goals.
What salary could IT project managers earn?
There are great opportunities to advance as an IT project manager. The average salary for IT project managers in the U.S. is $127,500, and this role can be a springboard to C-level positions like CIO and CTO. In these roles, salaries can be in the high six figures.
PayScale.com reported that most IT project managers earned an annual salary between $55,000 and $126,000. IT project managers with 1-4 years of experience earned a median salary of $71,375, and those with 5-9 years of experience earned $87,900. According to the BLS, computer systems design and related services employed the highest number of computer and information systems managers in 2018, including IT project managers.
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