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What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

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  • Written By: Haven Esme
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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An IT project manager is a person who manages the timelines of an information technology project. This person is referred to as an IT or information technology project manager. IT projects are usually dictated by a CIO (Chief information officer) or technology executives in a company. With the expansion of new technology comes the need to upgrade and improve systems and this is where the project manager comes into the picture.

C-level executives are always interested in launching new projects to meet their corporate objectives. In many circumstances, this would lead to the evolution of an IT project. An IT project can involve many people, technologies and span across many months and, perhaps, years. Having a solid IT Project Manager is often key to the success of these initiatives. The project manager will be able to track objectives, measure results, ask the difficult questions and, ultimately, deliver the project on-time and on-budget.

The day-to-day activities of an IT project manager can range quite significantly depending on the phase of the project. During the initiation of the project, the IT project manager might meet with key stakeholders to help identify what the key objectives are. During analysis and design the IT project manager might help the team in gathering requirements and brainstorm technical solutions for the problem at hand.

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One of the biggest challenges that the project manager has is keeping the team in check. This can be particularly challenging with a large team and a project that spans over many months. Any good IT project manager will always have checkpoints or gates with the client. Sometimes the client may be internal, other times the client may be another company entirely.

If the project manager is able to coordinate the black abyss of schedule conflicts, the next big challenge is actually meeting the deadlines and objectives that are agreed to with the client. This is often very difficult with a larger project, but is easier with a scaled back team. The IT project manager will typically have weekly status meetings with the immediate team and monthly status reports to the CIO or other directors that are sponsoring the project.

Being a successful IT project manager is a multi-faceted job that is often less about the technical aptitude and more about finesse and leadership ability. Of course, an individual cannot be an IT project manager without understanding the particular technology that they are working with. Once a person is able to build technical aptitude, he or she can become a successful IT project manager.

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miriam98
Post 2

David09 - I agree. That’s why one of the best tools for project managers is project management software. It lets project managers collaborate with their team members, keep track of projects, stay on schedule and produce ongoing reports that provide an overview of where everyone is at in the project.

You can also do things like indicate billable time versus un-billable time, so that you can easily put a dollar amount on the project when it’s complete. I don’t think any project manager should work without some sort of tool like this. There’s no way you can juggle all the demands of project management in your head.

David09
Post 1

IT project manager jobs come and go, depending on performance. The most important thing for a project manager is to have a proven track record of delivering completed projects, on time and within the budget. If they can’t satisfy these two goals, then they are not successful as project managers, regardless of whatever other credentials they may hold.

In our company when we had layoffs project managers were some of the first to go—not all of them of course, just the ones that didn’t deliver. Their work was easy to quantify. There were dollar figures and deadlines associated with their projects, as well as deliverables (or lack thereof).

In other words, it was easy for the guys at the top to make decisions as to whether the project managers were producing. On the other hand, project managers that did deliver got rewarded handsomely with bonuses and promotions. That’s the way it is in this field. It’s almost like being in sales.

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