What is the most pressing problem in Project Management for a SoftwareProject Manager?

by HSG on May 02, 2014 in Articles from Software Fans

A project manager acts as the primary link between business and technical teams. A project manager is responsible for maintaining the project schedule, developing project estimates, working with external teams and tracking project issues. The project manager belongs to either the technical team or the project management office (PMO). The project manager works with business teams, technical teams, business counterparts, testing resources, vendors and infrastructure teams.

A project manager is often challenged with diagonally opposite views from the business side and technical side. A project manager’s success depends on balancing the needs and emotions of both sides.

Understanding the Requirements
A project manager must familiarize with the project’s requirements as defined by the business or product managers. This will help you understand the business vision behind the project. You will need this knowledge while negotiating with the technical teams.

Understanding the Technical Landscape
A project manager must also understand the technical systems, resource skills and infrastructure capabilities available for the project. Business teams come up with expectations that are sometimes beyond the capabilities of the technology team. It is the responsibility of the project manager to understand the technical capabilities available to the project.

Walkthrough of Business Requirements
This is a critical step in the project delivery process. The project manager must invite members from the business team, technical team, testing team, infrastructure team and vendors. The project manager must encourage the various stakeholders to ask questions about the requirements. Any prototypes available must be demonstrated in this meeting. The project manager must find answers to all questions resulting from the requirements walkthrough. The project manager must get the final version of the requirements approved by all stakeholders.

Managing Conflicts in Timelines and Budgets
All project managers will face the conflicts arising from shortened timelines and limited budgets. Business teams typically demand many features that are nearly impossible to deliver within short timeframes. The project manager must work with business and technical teams to prioritize the requirements. If the project is executed in a product development organization, then the project manager could utilize agile methodologies to deliver projects incrementally. In this case, the project manager may be required to act as a scrum master to facilitate scrum meetings between various stakeholders.

The Art of Saying “No”
As a project manager, you may be forced to say “no” to demands from both business and technology teams. However, it is important to create a win-win situation for all parties when you are faced with conflicting demands. You can work with the stakeholders individually before bringing all parties together. Most stakeholders prefer to work together. The success of a project manager depends on how effectively he or she can bring out the best in everyone, driving everyone towards a common goal.

Finally, the job of a project manager is not to satisfy the demands from all corners. The project manager must identify the essential deliverables that will meet the business needs, with a solid understanding of what is possible within the limits of technology.

 

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