If you are not a regular reader of our blog, you probably found this article because you are preparing to implement a project with a software house and you are wondering what role the Project Manager will play in the joint venture. Or maybe you are taking your first steps in the industry and looking for your place in the structures of IT projects? Whatever brought you to us, we encourage you to read the practical guide to the tasks performed by the Project Manager, learn about the benefits of having such a person in the team, and get some extra knowledge about the reasons why this role is so important in order to implement projects efficiently and effectively.

Software houses (including ours) often operate on the basis of agile methodologies in line with the Agile manifesto. In our case, the framework of the procedure is usually determined by Scrum. But if you know the Scrum Guide, you may now be asking yourself where does Project Manager appear in all of this ?! It's tricky because our "bible" does not mention this role at all, yet the Project Manager is an indispensable element of every project. Therefore, it is even more worth looking at this role and on the basis of our experience and work structure to explain who they are and what they really do in the IT projects.

What does a project manager in software development do? 

While programmers focus on code, UX / UI specialists on the appearance and usability of the application, and the Scrum Master takes care to get rid of obstacles during the implementation of projects, the Project Manager has to tie everything together at every stage of software development. It is they who must make sure that everything goes according to the plan, watch the budget and achieve the goals. Their task is to include business management in the world of code and technological solutions. And with all the control of internal processes and the work of the extended team, they must simultaneously (or even above all) take care of the relationship with clients and their satisfaction with the subsequent stages of cooperation.

The work of a Software Manager usually begins with the estimation of three key elements of the project: the time needed for its implementation, costs, and necessary resources. Defining the scope of work is the basis for further activities. A Project Manager sets deadlines, creates schedules, defines resources, as well as sets goals, and approves specific tools and solutions to facilitate the work of the team. Establishing clear rules of operation is the foundation of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

The Project Manager also decides what the team structure should look like for the implemented project. If there is a shortage of programmers or other in-house specialists, they should take care of filling the staffing gap, which is often done offshore. The Project Manager's task is to ensure that the number of team members corresponds to the real possibilities of action, which will fit within the set deadlines and budgets. A valuable skill is to maximize efficiency and effectively delegate resources.

When the project is already in progress, the Project Manager's task will be risk management and change management. In the first case, they must identify events that may contribute to failure, delays, or cost increases. The project must be monitored on an ongoing basis, the Project Manager must receive regular feedback and have remedial plans or action methods at hand that can eliminate risk from the project. When it comes to managing change, it's worth being flexible. The Project Manager must detect unforeseen events at an early stage, be predictable, and have the ability to quickly adjust the plan.

What is the Project Manager's role in software development projects?

It is said that if someone knows everything, they don't know anything. The role of Project Manager is a bit different. Such a person on the team must have an understanding of the business aspects of activities, be able to communicate effectively, plan, have knowledge of software and technology, and be able to execute tasks. Their role de facto combines several different competencies in one position. A Project Manager should have excellent organizational skills. In this job, you often have to think a few steps ahead. The key is then the supervision and control of the project life cycle at its every stage. As the name suggests, a Project Manager has to manage the project perfectly, i.e. coordinate it and successfully complete it.

A Project Manager often has to demonstrate great interpersonal skills. It is they who often play the role of a coach and guide. New people often appear in teams. The Project Manager must implement them properly and explain what is expected of them. The mood in the team may also change at different stages of the work. Nothing is ever perfect throughout the workflow, and developers often need extra motivation, help with problem-solving, or tension. Sometimes it even happens that the Project Manager acts as a recruiter. Very often, it is they who are best able to assess what competencies are missing to work in a given project and it is they who will be able to verify them most efficiently when hiring new staff.

What are the benefits of having a good project management team?

Apparently, the language of benefits speaks best to the unconvinced, so it's time for a few key advantages associated with having a Project Manager for IT projects. This applies to both the client's side and the owner of the company that provides software development services. By having someone on board to manage the offshore team for you, you gain peace of mind, more time for your duties, and at the same time, you have control over the progress of work.

If you are a customer who needs a new website, mobile application, or a dedicated company management system, you will especially appreciate the work of the Project Manager. It is they who will help you identify your needs and find a solution to them in the world of new technologies. It is they who will act as a translator who will translate from programming to everyday speech. Their task will also be to help you choose the most useful solutions, and they will answer all your questions. Thanks to this, without the knowledge of professional terminology and technologies available on the market, you will be able to choose the solutions that will work best in your business.

From the perspective of a software house, a Project Manager saves a lot of time and avoids situations when great programmers are burdened with duties that require competencies that are not well developed in their case. Project management, planning, and execution of subsequent stages of the work cycle should not be in the tasks of people who create code on a daily basis. It is the Project Manager who knows best the organization of the team's work, budget optimization, and the exchange of information between the client and individual team members. By letting them do their job, others can be more effective in tasks related to the technical aspects of the project.

Why is project management important in software development projects? 

Finally, it is worth explaining in which areas of operation of a software development company, the Project Manager's experience may prove helpful and useful on many levels. Customers and the organization itself gain better communication in both directions. The Project Manager makes sure that no one has to worry and asks huge amounts of questions about the work scope, progress, and issues. His job is often to deal with complications before you even know they have occurred. This can, in turn, save you unnecessary stress. 

It is worth noting, however, that experience is key in the work of a Project Manager. A person who has coordinated dozens or hundreds of smaller or larger projects can very well assess the scale of activities, the resources needed, budgets, and the real-time creation or implementation. Each subsequent project also means better change and risk management. So if you have a good and experienced Project Manager on board, it's worth appreciating their competencies. This is a very important link in the software development chain!

Do you have questions about the role of Project Manager in software development projects? Or maybe you want to find out what the cooperation of bPol looks like and meet one of our Project Managers in person? We will be happy to answer all your questions or arrange the details of cooperation. Write to our e-mail address or use the contact form on the website.