Sunday, Oct 11 2015

7 Skills Every IT Project Manager Should Have

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7 Skills Every IT Project Manager Should Have

The IT project manager role is a funny kind of job. You need to understand technology and be able to make technical decisions, but the job isn't about completing technical tasks. You need to understand people, but the job isn't about supervisory skills. You need to understand business needs, but the job isn't about completing business tasks. Being an IT project manager requires knowing how to work with people and help them work with technology to get a project completed and provide the functionality the business needs.

These seven skills will help you combine those traits to be a standout project manager:

  1. Keep technically current.

    You need a strong technical team you can rely on with answers about technology, but you also need to be able to evaluate their answers. Developers are always over optimistic about how long it will be to complete a task and how easy it will be to integrate a new technology. You need to know enough about the technology to evaluate their input and weigh it against other business concerns like cost and schedule.
  2. Be a leader.

    There's a difference between managing and leading, and both are part of this job. Managing requires paying attention to the details and ensuring the necessary work is completed. You also need to lead up, down, and sideways: you need to get buy-in from your team, your management, and your end users that the strategy you're using is the most effective one to deliver the project.
  3. Be a communicator.

    One of the most common reasons projects fail is because people don't know what needs to be done. You need to communicate with your team about the work and its priorities. You also need to communicate with management and end users about their priorities and project status.
  4. Multitask.

    As a project manager, you're never looking at a single moment in time. You need to be evaluating work that was done in the past, responding to crises in the present, and planning the work that needs to be done in the future. Being able to calmly juggle multiple demands for input is necessary to get through your day.
  5. Negotiate for what your team needs.

    Management doesn't always know what it takes to get a project done. If the resources allocated to the project – people or hardware – aren't adequate, you may be able to negotiate beyond those limits.
  6. Be proactive.

    Small problems grow into big problems. Don't micromanage your team, but pay close attention so you become aware as soon as an issue develops. Step in as soon as necessary to help your team overcome obstacles.
  7. Pay attention.

    People don't like sharing bad news. The staff who report to you may hesitate to let you know how difficult they're finding the work. Your management may delay letting you know changes in budget, staffing or priorities. Watch for the subtle signs that let you know there's a problem, so you can address it even if no one explicitly tells you about it.