Inspiring leadership tips

6 qualities of the best IT project manager

Danila Petrova
project manager
© Shutterstock /mangsaabguru

The IT project manager has a lot of responsibility. From task delegation to resource tracking, quality control, and communication, there’s not a spare moment in the day. In order to be a well-rounded leader, you should meet certain standards. These are the top 6 qualities that all IT project managers need to succeed and lead their team to success.

To even begin to answer this question we must first consider the role of an IT project manager. This is a key role of any IT project. In order to have a well-rounded and high-quality product, a great collaboration between software developers, designers, advertising specialists and a variety of other professionals, depending on the essence of the product, need to work side by side. Not only that but all tasks should be coordinated in a time-efficient manner. This is where the IT manager steps in. 

The responsibilities of an IT project manager:

Let us start with what the project manager does to assist the project’s advancement.

  • Task delegation and planning
  • Resource budget planning and tracking
  • Timeline planning – deadlines, meetings, accounting for setbacks and starting over certain sections of the project if an approach does not pan out
  • Overseeing project documentation
  • Monitoring task execution
  • Team leadership 
  • Carrying out communication on all levels, making sure everyone involved knows what is expected of them
  • Minimizing any process disruptions, uncertainty or failures in the project lifespan
  • Creating charts and schedules
  • Communication with the customers and business partners – current and potential future ones
  • Quality control
  • Making decisions regarding the system’s benefit and implementing them
  • Working with vendors and partners
  • Developing and implementing a business strategy
  • Prioritising the project success and making decisions to accommodate that goal

The responsibilities listed are some of the main ones that a project manager performs in a flexible, modern IT project.  And of course, those can vary depending on the specific requirements of the project.

Must-have project management skills and personal qualities

Technical expertise

While it is entirely possible to manage a strong IT project without having in-depth knowledge of the technology used, any knowledge related to the process helps planning and smoother communication with the developers. Make an effort and learn enough to follow discussions on the topic. Know who is doing what part of the task and how long it will take. This gives any project manager an edge in the grand scheme of running the project.

For example, if the project relies heavily on low-level programming languages that are very close to writing actual machine instructions, the project manager does not need to delve as deeply as software engineers. But they do need an understanding of the programmers’ objectives when establishing the task delegation process. 

Another part of this is awareness of what topics are likely to be discussed at a meeting. Adequate evaluation of the project manager’s personal knowledge can help them plan to bring along a software engineer who is acquainted with all aspects of the technical side of the project.

They can help move along the discussion at a smoother pace and avoid miscommunication or holes in the agreement. The added bonus makes a very good impression for someone who is prepared to make the best of valuable meeting time.

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In my firsthand experience working for an Angular development company, while any knowledge on the technical side can come in handy, there is more to being a project manager than having strong technical knowledge. This is not the main purpose of a project manager. Rather, a project manager guides and oversees the work process as a whole, making sure it is running smoothly and at a good pace.

Here are some of the other qualities that have proven to be a helpful tool for a successful project manager.

Strong communication skills

When managing different teams working on the same project, communication is crucial. Accurately, quickly, and easily conveying information to different types of employees is invaluable. This also includes understanding and matching the technological level of speech. Consider that developers have a different way of communication, using technical lingo when compared with the design team, who have their own terminology.

The IT manager must be able to build a bridge that allows for understandable communication to keep things running smoothly.

Documentation of the project

Speaking of communication, the project manager must often nudge for proper written documentation of the product development process. That may include detailed notes on the tasks that are being performed. 

For example, if a software developer is creating a program that provides a solution to a certain part of the project, they should provide notes along with the code explaining this section’s purpose. They should include some information on the method implemented, requirements that this portion needs, and how it fits into the puzzle working together with the rest of the code. 

Naturally, this is left to the developers to describe in a way that is fitting the current situation. However, the project manager can review this documentation and use it to optimize the working process and to stay on top of time management. Additionally, making sure this information exists in a reachable and reliable way can help any future optimizations and product updates.

Leadership skills

Leadership goes past telling your employees what to do. The project manager must inspire dedication to the project, build a relationship between the employees, and lead the charge by opening the part of the project he takes on.

This is often enforced with open communication regarding where the project is at, what the current and long-term goals are, and by showing each employee the part they play in the big picture. They must be empathetic to employees and keep a lookout for any issues that arise. Project managers must effectively work on immediate resolutions and help remove any disruption that may occur.

Decision-making skills

As the go-to person whenever an issue or a query arises, the project manager needs to be able to quickly evaluate the situation, and make a responsible, informed decision. This means that the ability to keep tabs on what is happening within the different parts of the team, as well as keeping cool under pressure is a definite requirement. Showing uncertainty in a situation like this can easily undermine the authority of the project manager and cause a disruption of the working process.

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Naturally, being in charge of important decisions comes with the responsibility to be accountable when mistakes do happen. Be parped to quickly assemble a different solution to minimise the cost it takes on the project.

Negotiation skills

As far as the documentation of any project goes, it all starts with a contract. Contract responsibilities include contracts between the client and a firm hired to perform the project, hiring the right employees, clearing up disagreements or including additional conditions and requirements based on the need of the project.

Negotiation is an absolute must-have skill for any project manager hoping to tackle the challenges of contract management, conflict management, and requirements management.

In conclusion

Any person willing to take on the mantle of the project manager needs to be prepared to carry out multiple layers of communication and manage the decision-making process. You must be the person to rely on for any issues, conflicts, and organisation.

Being responsible, as well as responsive, open-minded to ideas and keeping a lookout for any threats to the project are some of the things to take into account at all times and are just part of the daily routine!

Which of these traits did you find surprising to see in a project manager? Is there another quality you believe is just as invaluable to handle a big project? Comment below with suggestions my next article!

Danila Petrova
Danila Petrova is a Marketing Assistant Manager at Dreamix, a custom software development company, focusing on strategy building and audience engagement. With a background in mathematics, informatics, she has extensive knowledge in web design, business communication and a deep understanding of the IT industry. She is involved in numerous graphic design projects and is passionate about the advancement of software development.

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James Borst
James Borst
2 years ago

My neighbor is a business advisor for an IT company and I’ve been curious about what that means. It is interesting that project managers show employees what part they play in the big picture. I’d imagine that if I was an IT business, I’d want a project manager or advisor to make sure every project runs smoothly.