To be a successful IT project manager, you need the right combination of skills. Unlike some other tech-oriented professions, the competencies required for these roles are fairly diverse, covering aspects of finance, human resources, leadership, and more. If your goal is to move into the field of IT project management, here are 10 skills you need to have under your belt.
Most project managers will spend a notable amount of time working with a range of professionals including the members of the project team, various stakeholders, and even the final customer. Since not everyone with which you will interact has the same technical background, it is imperative to be able to communicate with every effectively regardless of the level of understanding. This means breaking down technical concepts into relatable terms is critical to the success of many projects, making this skill particularly valuable.
The success of many projects actually hinges on the scope. Failing to define the scope leaves the goals unclear while also leaving you open to scope creep. Being adept at gathering critical information and establishing the project’s target increases your odds of success.
If you’re given the chance to choose your team, then learning key human resources skills like candidate screening and skill assessment ensure you have the right professionals for the job at hand. Without these competencies, you may find yourself battling skill gaps instead of making forward progress, which can spell doom for any IT project.
Project managers are often tasked with creating comprehensive schedules to meet strict deadlines. Understanding how to allocate time properly and delegate tasks can keep things on target, creating a foundation for the team’s success.
All projects face a level of risk. Being able to see potential vulnerabilities or roadblocks gives you the opportunity to mitigate any potential ill-effects should they arise, leaving you prepared to manage the worst even while planning for the best possible outcome.
Many project managers are given an initial budget and are expected to manage the funds appropriately as things move forward. Understanding key concepts like cost estimation, expense control, and budgeting are critical to your success. You’ll also need to learn how to make adjustments should unexpected costs threaten to bankrupt the project.
For projects that require outside materials or third-party support, it is important to know the fundamentals of the procurement process. Everything from bid requests and analysis, supplier identification, and vendor contracts play a role in this area, and managing the tasks well can make budgeting a simpler task to handle.
Unless your project’s final output meets quality expectations, it is unlikely to be deemed a success. Understanding how to monitor progress for quality control is key to ensuring all standards or requirements are being met effectively. It also ensures you’ll have the opportunity to intervene should things begin to go off track early on, making changes easier to manage.
With so many variables, most large-scale IT project will hit a snag at some point in the process. Being prepared to adjust on the fly often means understanding that nothing is set in stone, and maintaining that perspective can make the entire venture easier to manage.
As an IT project manager, being familiar with the technologies covered in the project as well as any project management systems in place are both critical to overall success. Without this core knowledge, you may find yourself spending more time asking questions than making progress.
If you’re an IT professional interested in a project management role, the team at The Armada Group can help you explore options in your area. Contact us to discuss your career goals today.