on 06 December 18
Behind every successful IT project there is a project manager, and they are the unsung heroes in the IT industry. Project Managers are generally tasked to make sure projects are well in time, high-quality and within budget. But what does it take to become an IT project manager?
At times some of the good project managers don’t even have a format degree. These accidental project managers have evolved because of their organizational and administrative skills, excellent communication, management ability and their attention to detail.
Sometimes a project management certification, like the Project Management Professional (PMP) from Project Management Institute (PMI), is enough to validate expertise and experience of a project manager.
What it takes to be PMP certified? Attend a Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam coaching one on one session with an expert
Though he's recently moved into technology consulting and is currently a regional consulting manager for a consulting firm, Mark spent the majority of his career as an IT project manager for multinational software organizations.
With a degree in computer science, Mark thought he'd working on leveraging technology to help improve the special education landscape. Instead, he found motivation and fulfilment as a project manager, and has continued in that career path, he says.
According to Mark "The thing that really excited me to take this career path was when joined a voluntary service organization offering training services. With increase interaction and planning to ready for every training session has helped me better my communication skills and being able to influence others".
It’s an essential part of a successful project management career that's often overlooked. As a Project Manager you must manage all aspects of an IT project including time, resources, budget and staffing, says Mark.
One should also be able to assertively champion for the resources and staffing requirements of your project, taking into consideration its influence on business decisions and their strategic alignment with overall business goals of the organization, he says.
"To many, it could be something like a small project, but as a project manager only you have to understand how it aligns with organization's plans so you can advocate for everything you need," he says.
Right now, there is a huge demand for IT project managers as organizations struggle to handle digital transformation at a rapid pace of innovation with fewer resources.
Every organization today, those that aren't specifically IT companies, has a plan to integrate Information Technology into every aspect of the business. And that's why IT project managers are so critical, because their technical competency, ability to understand the business drivers, communication skills to persuade stakeholders, get an executive buy in and execute the projects.
Many organizations hire contract, part time, or consultative project management professionals to easily scale up or down to meet their project management needs more efficiently. It gives organization access to experienced project managers who can plan, execute and close projects.
The hard skills, though, can vary significantly by project. For example, let's take an ERP implementation. Hiring a project manager for this kind of project would look for an ideal PM with experience in business analysis and experience in general project management, and then look for experience in implementing ERP projects.
Icing on the cake
Organizations prefer to hire project management candidates with certifications (PMP / Prince2) to make sure the potential hires know what the project will entail.
The best thing about a career in project management is the opportunity for career mobility. You can choose to move to a business analyst role, or into consulting or an analytics role depending on your interest.
It's such a great opportunity to take these skills beyond just the project management role. As a project manager you will just be proficient in IT, but you get insight and experience into every aspect of the business. You’d definitely be not limited in terms of where your career can take you.
Career Progression in IT Project Management? Discuss it with an IT Coach