Project management in general is a deeply challenging role that is often underappreciated. Project Management Jobs in IT have the additional challenge of managing a wide variety of technical requirements, skill sets and perspectives.
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To successfully carry out this role candidates need to have certain abilities that go beyond technical knowledge and allow them to carry highly complex processes through to completion. Knowledge of the processes involved is rarely enough on its own. Many technically gifted people find that they struggle with the broader aspects of Project Management.
Three of the core capabilities that IT Project Management jobs call for are Communication, Coordination and Adaptation.
Project managers must communicate regularly and clearly with all members of the project team. But knowing this and being able to do it are two very different things.
Asking a team member for a progress update is only half of the communication equation. A project manager has to ensure they get back all of the critical information. Being able to do this without creating friction is a trait of a skilled project manager.
Understanding the personalities and motivations of all of the team members is an important part of successful communication. This includes the project managers themselves. It is important they be aware of how their own motivations and personality may cloud their judgement and colour their decisions.
Particularly in a larger project a project manager is unlikely to share all of the skills required for the project. This means they have to have a keen appreciation of roles each team member carries out, their capabilities and their responsibilities.
Understanding who does what and who can do what means the project manager can delegate accordingly and direct their resources where they are most needed.
With many moving parts a project can easily derail if one team is not pulling its weight or is overburdened. Being able to quickly shift resources from where they are to where they are needed is something a project manager needs to be able to do without disrupting the progress of the project.
Expecting everything in the project to go exactly according to plan is a recipe for disaster. For every moving part in a project there are any number of things that could go wrong. Bugs will always appear, team members will always get sick, go on holiday or simply leave.
Planning for each of these eventualities is neither feasible nor wise. A project manager will be able to strategise on the fly, developing a solution to the problem while maintaining the momentum of the project.
On these three core capabilities a project manager will build a wide tool set to help them deal with the many different aspects of a challenging but rewarding IT project management job.
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