Why do you need an IT / Software Project Manager certification? We will answer this question in detail by addressing all important topics and processes of software development and management of technological projects.
Agile IT / Software Project Management certification
The certified IT / Software project manager should have a set of qualifications and skills, such as initiation, planning, implementation, control, project closing.
He must have very well assessed the composition of the team of project specialists, given the assignment of specific objectives and their implementation, the time frame, the set budget. The certified IT / Software project manager must also have many “soft” skills. Let’s not forget that, in addition to systems and processes, he works for and with people, and management is based on creating and maintaining loyal professional relationships within the organization itself and with its environment.
In whatever field the project manager works (including in IT and software development), he must be a leader, be able to communicate (with all project teams, with management, with clients, with stakeholders), seek feedback, to be able to plan and specify, to manage risk (often unexpected situations arise: financial, resource, time), to be able to negotiate, with tolerant language, but firmly following the purpose of the project and upholding the principles and position of the company.
In practice, the software project manager, as a project manager, is constantly in negotiations and must have critical thinking (ie objective, based on facts, figures, reality), be able to delegate tasks, to monitor (without bordering on (Supervision), if not necessary), to have a sense of humor. I would also emphasize the fact that the IT project manager must be able to make unpopular (difficult) decisions, after careful study of the situation and hearing all parties; in this way, he will gain the trust of the management, the team, and the client.
Without having to be an IT expert, a project software manager must have additional “technology” skills. My judgment: I could not be a project manager in an IT project, although I realize that in the digital age, the project manager will require more and more “combined” skills and qualifications (including technological).
Skills that the Certified IT / Software Project Manager must possess
The project manager must communicate in the correct language understood by the IT community. In IT technologies, specific terms and abbreviations are used, so the PM must be able to “talk” to IT experts in their language. Not understanding the term or the importance of an application can risk the success of the project. (I could handle that to some extent.)
The IT project manager must listen to the opinion of the team, encourage initiative, feedback, asking questions. It is also good to have the opportunity to train the project team in the acquisition and implementation of project processes, to achieve the project objectives. The software project manager must be able to communicate with the IT team, specifically regarding the IT product. Whether, for example, this level of software was created on time, whether it corresponds 100% to the project assignment, whether it was tested promptly. If the IT department insists on a specific application or (additional) digital service, the project manager must understand what it is about, whether the desired application/service will affect the organization, and whether it can fit into the project at all, given the return on investment, whether will this new application be useful for business, will it help increase the efficiency and quality of work processes, etc.
The project manager and the IT architecture
The project manager must understand the IT architecture and IT standards of the project; be aware of current IT platforms and methodology to be sure of how the project will meet and meet the needs of the client. If the project includes SSD storage and a memory database, the project manager must know how to proceed and how, for example, this approach would differ from the other, which should use the analysis of a larger database.
The certified IT / Software project manager must be able to clearly and concretely present the project description to the company’s management. A key skill of the manager is the ability to present ROI (indicator measuring the financial profit/loss of the project against its total value; ie how to assess how effective investment is) and KPIs (indicator representing the set of measuring instruments; so understands the extent to which the teams have achieved the objectives of the project; assists in strengthening the responsibility for the implementation of project tasks among the administrative units).
Agile software development
Agile software development in which the rigid structure can be replaced by clear, iterative processes. Agile planning works optimally in case of lack of resources, changes in standards, infrastructure problems, etc. Agile skills, using the paradigm of “user stories” support the planning and implementation of projects.
The project manager must flexibly apply his meeting management skills. Modern IT projects can attract professionals from all over the world, including those involved remotely, as well as many freelancers and consultants. Project meetings can, in addition to being open, take place via audio and video connection, requiring coordination of meeting time. The manager must be able to work in sync with different time zones, the ability to engage in conversation with the other party, cultural and religious differences, etc., knowing the common language for verbal communication. Let’s not forget that sometimes in IT projects it happens that the project manager is the link between the technical and non-technical teams. He must be able to explain the technical problem to each of the stakeholders. This is especially true when a project lags or requires additional funding due to an unforeseen technical problem, for example.
The IT manager must be aware of what and what are the software indicators for quality management, how the systems and software are designed. An essential part of any project in the IT field is the indicators in question, which the system must meet. Savings from an inappropriate part of the project can lead to a very large difference from what is currently expected for performance testing. For example, if a PM considers a network cable to be of poor quality, it must be convinced that there are no signs of unreliability on the webserver.
Whether it is a large or small project, the project manager must be aware of the company’s IT vision. Understanding the technological philosophy, the goals, and how the current life cycle of the project can influence the future directions of development are essential, and the upgraded technical skills of the certified IT manager are especially useful. Technological projects are complex, virtual, and (somewhat) abstract; they are more or less difficult to conceptualize (make sense of).
The project manager must be aware of the company’s concept for the project, see the big picture, be ready to anticipate potential obstacles from a technological point of view.
If the knowledge of the project manager in the IT field is deep enough, he can participate in the project with two “roles”: of a project manager and a technical resource. However, one should not delve into the full commitment of the technical matter, especially if the project has its technical project manager.
A project manager working on a software project must recognize the professional level of the IT staff, highlight the good technical skills and competencies (dialogue with the company’s HR would be useful). When it happens that a stage of the IT project goes out of the plans, the manager is obliged to understand whether this is due to technical problems. If the answer is yes, the IT manager must urgently find the right technical resources to eliminate the problem and prevent its recurrence (without sometimes seeking the biased opinion of others).
If a difficult decision has to be made in an IT software project, it is the project manager who has to initiate it. Thus, it becomes clear that it determines the development of the project both in business and in terms of technology. When the choice concerns a change in the original design, the decision requires a clear insight into both perspectives: business and technology.
The IT team can add value by analyzing data and building easy-to-use BI tools. The project manager should work to improve revenue predictability. The IT team, in turn, must provide the tools to support sales decisions.
Project plan and scope
The project manager focuses on the “triangle of project constraints”: timeframe, scope, budget, quality assurance, and risk control.
Quality management plan
Of the eight principles known here, I would focus on customer focus, process approach, communication and team feedback, cooperation with customers/subcontractors.
A human resources management plan
People are the most important resource of any company. The manager helps to improve communication and motivation. Adds value to the project activity and ensures that the interactions with the employees influence the course of the project (and the business in general) positively and measurably.
Risk management plan
The project manager, the client, and the sponsor may have different views on the risk threshold. The overall acceptable threshold ultimately forms the goal against which the team analyzes the risk.
Communication management plan
It is important to learn to apply an individual approach, to strive to be listening and respecting the different points of view. It is important to build a communication plan, which is a way to efficiently convey information to stakeholders. Thus, the project determines the company’s messages to the target group.
“Top 40 Project Management certifications for 2021 and 2022” by Ashton Williams, 2020 (Scrum Time ISSN 2652-5445), https://scrumtime.org/top-project-management-certifications/
“The Best Project Management Courses for 2021 and 2022”, author: Marta Cooper, PolicyMatters ISSN: 1941-8280, 1941-8272, ISSN National Centre for the USA, United States, https://www.policymatters.net/best-project-management-courses/
“BVOP Certified Project Manager”, BVOP.org
“Top 13 project management certifications for 2020” (CIO.com), https://www.cio.com/article/3210765/top-project-management-certifications.html
This diagram contains the important schedule of the project, the relationship between the activities, reveals the critical tasks: where there is a delay and others.
Lessons Learned Log
“Drawn” from the practice of the project workers and commented/made meaningful by the teams, the lessons would make sense.
Project completion report. The review, the summary, the conclusion are an important part of the project activity; in general, for me, documentation is key.