Project Manager Roles in the IT Industry
What is a Project Manager?
In the IT industry, Project Managers are responsible for a wide range of large and small scale business improvement or product development projects. PMs are great problem solvers, managing the resources (time, money, people and tools) to get the job done, on time.
Skills a Project Manager needs
Here are the five key skills we think a Project Manager needs to be great at their job:
- Leadership – Project Managers need excellent communication and negotiation skills and must be confident relating to and working with a wide range of people. It’s particularly important to understand the strategic needs of the business to deliver the project’s desired outcomes.
- Problem-solving – Savvy Project Managers can identify risk, manage expectations, and allocate limited resources to deliver a quality project that meets the business’s needs.
- Adaptable – comfortable with change, and flexible to the project’s needs, Project Managers are great multi-taskers.
- Highly organised – Strong and accurate time and financial management skills and processes mean that Project Managers can keep an eye on the big picture while also ensuring the small details are taken care of.
- Technical – Working with highly skilled technical teams means that experience in a variety of technical platforms and methodologies including PRINCE2 and Agile or SCRUM are important.
Project Manager Roles & Responsibilities
Being responsible for the entire project means the roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager are broad, bringing together the right people, processes and tools to get the job done.
- Managing the end-to-end delivery of business improvement projects
- Working with stakeholders to develop a project scope, plan, budget, and success measures
- Allocating and managing resources
- Monitoring progress and reporting on key project measures including timelines, finances, and potential risks
- Managing and motivating the project team and processes and providing advice/mentoring
- Ensuring strong relationship management with all stakeholders
The Day to Day Work of a Project Manager
IT projects are often complex, and the Project Manager is the glue that holds them together.
Often these are contract roles, with the Project Manager coming in to deliver a single project. Depending on the scale, this could be over a few short months or several years. Working with the business team, the Project Manager’s first challenge is to clearly scope the project. This is key to managing budget, timeline, and delivery expectations and will require creative problem solving to juggle sometimes competing priorities.
Throughout the project, as an astute business manager, the Project Manager keeps in regular communication with a number of internal and external teams – from corporate management to contractors. Strong communication and negotiation skills are vital to manage and adapt to the impact of project changes – particularly with the project team on a daily basis. Regular meetings are key to meeting project milestones, as are clear project management processes with regularly updated plans,
Ultimately, it’s the Project Manager’s responsibility to ensure the project is delivered on time so some evening and weekend work may be required to meet deadlines.
Project Manager Courses and Qualifications
IT Project Managers can come from a wide range of business and management backgrounds, but those with relevant IT education and experience are in high demand.
Project Management Professional (PMP) certification can also be a prerequisite of the job, and the Project Management Institute of New Zealand recommends a list of registered training providers that meet industry standards. A number of certificate, diploma and degree courses are also offered in New Zealand, including some postgraduate courses.
There are also many specific IT project management courses available, and in particular Agile, SCRUM, or Lean training is valued as a fast and effective project management approach that’s used widely.
Project Manager Salary
Experienced IT Project Managers are sought after and can command a good salary. In New Zealand, the median salary for PMs who are just starting out is $82,500 while the median salary for an experienced PM is $120,000 a year./. The median for the average Project Manager salary is $100,000 a year. Download our latest Absolute IT Remuneration Report here
With the growing importance of IT infrastructure across almost every kind of business, industry demand is high and IT job opportunities are very good. So much so that IT Project Managers are on Immigration New Zealand’s long term skills shortage list, with the government actively encouraging skilled workers from overseas.
There are good opportunities for career progression too, with the broad strategic insight of project managers valued at a senior executive level in large organisations.