Unclear project requirements.
Lack of clarity during execution.
Friction caused by poorly defined roles.
All of this can happen without a skilled software development project manager.
In software development, this person plans and oversees all project phases, making sure they are completed on time and within the budget. If you’re a client, project managers do everything to ensure that you’re always on top of things.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- Who is a software development project manager
- Important skills of software project managers
- How IDAP project managers collaborate with clients
- Tips to work with software project managers
Looking for a software project manager? Talk to a software development company with a 4.9 rating on Clutch. We’re here to help.
Who is a Software Development Project Manager?
A software development project manager is the person responsible for managing the software project and making decisions to ensure a successful project outcome. Successful software project management requires an active manager, not a reactive one.
Essential responsibilities of software project managers:
- Planning. Creating a project plan and risk management procedures
- Organizing. Making decisions on project organization, resource, and task allocation
- Directing. Overseeing daily operations and directing decision execution
- Monitoring. Ensuring the required progress to meet predetermined timelines
Essential Skills of Software Development Project Managers
A software project manager needs a wide range of skills to perform well at their position. Since they’re responsible for the success of the entire project, they need to be organized, detail-oriented, communicative, and empathetic.
A crackerjack software project manager has these skills.
A project manager is responsible for planning the budget that’s appropriate for the client as well as for achieving project goals. A bunch of things can go wrong with planning, so great project managers minimize risks by involving clients from the start.
When a project manager and a client plan the budget, they account for those things. For example, clients bring accurate budget data while project managers make realistic estimations based on it. That’s why this collaboration is one of the best ways to ensure project success.
When working on a software project, a project manager makes decisions on a daily basis. Besides decisions made during planning, they also have to make sure everything goes according to plan, which means tons of additional things.
That’s why project managers have specific strategies for making decisions. A common one is analytical, when the manager insists on having all the facts before reaching any conclusions, regardless of how long fact-gathering takes.
Good project managers know the common types of risks software projects face, as well as ways to prevent, handle, and mitigate them. That’s why they work hard to identify, understand, and plan for risks that are unique to your project.
Then project managers present their findings to clients. In addition to the analysis of potential risks, they will also come up with specific management strategies. A common strategy includes info about risk prioritization, monitoring, communication, and mitigating action.
A top-notch project manager looks for ways to motivate the team and keep performance high. Motivation goes beyond checks and includes giving recognition, helping in difficult situations, encouraging a culture of openness, and trusting the team.
Together, these motivation areas have a very positive impact on software development teams. To achieve this goal, the next skill is essential.
Verbal and written communication
Frequent, clear, open, and honest communication is key to both high performance and motivation. A successful software project manager is respectful and can communicate transparently and honestly, both in speaking and writing.
This essential skill helps avoid tons of potential issues, including misunderstandings, interpersonal conflicts, delays, and unnecessary stress.
Knowledge of software project management styles
Have you heard about Scrum? This is a strategy development teams use to be as productive and efficient as possible. Good software project managers adhere to Scrum values to ensure a transparent and understandable development process.
If you’re not familiar with Scrum, your project manager will walk you through the entire strategy. We won’t talk about it here but it’s important that your manager engages you in Scrum events: two-week planning (sprint planning), daily scrum (daily planning meetings), sprint review (work assessment), and retro (improvement planning).
All the skills I’ve mentioned make up this one.
An effective project manager and a leader can motivate, make effective decisions, and communicate clearly and transparently with everyone.
Have a software idea in mind? If you’re looking for a project manager for your project, consider IDAP Group. Here’s what one of our recent clients said about us:
My project manager kept the communication open and was always on top of things. He kept me constantly aware of the project status, features, and bugs… I highly recommend them to any company.
Chris Mendez, Radio Group.
Full Clutch.co review from Radio Group: iOS Development for a Children’s Instrument App
List of our works: IDAP Group Portfolio
Software Development Project Manager Roles
We have a better idea of the importance of project managers in software development now. Let’s now go over the specific roles they perform during project execution, so you know more about their daily activities.
Leading the team
A software project manager’s leadership skills shine every day. Even though dedicated software development teams are highly organized, they still need a proficient mentor, problem-solver, facilitator, and motivator.
That’s why a project manager will be everywhere as the project starts. They’ll be there to give an appraisal for good work, lead meetings, point out shortcomings, encourage deeper cooperation, spot a potential problem, etc.
Watching over processes
Weekly meetings. Daily meetings. Check-ins. Messaging. Once again, project managers are everywhere, making sure that everything goes according to the plan and deadline. That doesn’t mean interfering and disturbing, but rather coordinating.
Skilled project managers make this process more efficient with task management software (Asana, Monday.com, Zoho Projects, etc.). They create project tasks, timesheets, task statuses, budget statuses, top performers’ ratings, and other tools to streamline process competition.
Communicating with clients
A project manager is a key communicator between the client and the dedicated team. So, you can expect your manager to be able to give just about any information or guidance you might require.
Also, the software development project manager will give you updates and reports on everything project-related. This way, they’ll help you to be on top of things.
“Hey, how was the ball game yesterday?”
Project managers and clients communicate constantly. So, it’s not uncommon for them to also talk about topics unrelated to the project. It’s a great sign of trust and a positive work environment.
Risk management is an ongoing task for project managers. During the initial phase of software development, they work with developers to find and prepare for potential problems. Later, during project execution, they work on discovering and lowering new and potential risks.
As a client, you will stay on top of all risks from the beginning thanks to project managers. For example, they might recommend you to make small changes to the software to reduce a potential risk found during project execution.
Monitoring the use of the budget
Using both task management software and planning documents, software project managers keep an eye on the budget. They are aware of and decide on any budget-related matters to prevent cost overruns.
While it might be okay for a software project to end up costing a few percent over the budget (new features, updated security, etc.), it’s a project manager’s responsibility to keep finances in order. This includes all finance-related tasks, such as estimating labor hours, dividing responsibilities, monitoring progress, closing out milestones, etc.
Providing motivation to the team
Motivated developers are fast, efficient, and productive. That’s why team motivation is a daily task of good software project managers. They need to understand how to build team spirit, motivate everybody, and boost morale when things get a bit challenging.
To achieve these goals, project managers assign proper tasks (problem solving, working to benefit others, and technical challenges, for example, are top motivators for programmers), conduct team-building exercises, give recognition and rewards, and do other things.
Resolving any occurring problems
Problems like conflicts occur in many software projects, and project managers are your first line of defense against them. They act quickly to minimize progress disruptions, and instruct team members to contact them in case there’s something wrong.
So, in case there’s a problem that needs your attention, your project manager will let you know. In any way, their job is to find ways to resolve any issues as soon as possible.
Looking for ways to improve processes
“Can we be more productive? Are there ways to reduce inefficiencies?” Project managers regularly analyze the effectiveness of work processes to find ways to improve performance and eliminate wasted effort.
While a project manager does most of this job themselves, significant decisions will be run by you. So, you’ll be aware of and involved in decision-making regarding any efficiency- and process improvement-related initiatives.
Ensuring effective communication within the team
To improve communication in the software development team, project managers employ many techniques. First and foremost, they establish an open-door policy—simply said, they encourage voicing concerns, asking questions, and pitching ideas at any time.
Also, they are responsible for deciding on online communication tools, training employees to communicate (if required), and handling any related issues and misunderstandings.
Finding continuous education opportunities for the team
Opportunities for professional development are the most important job factor for 41% of software developers. If they get those opportunities, they’ll be more likely to be highly productive, happy, motivated, and consequently, less likely to quit.
Besides project tasks, project managers look for ways to help the team grow. This means buying online courses, assigning challenging tasks when appropriate, and surveying the team to know their own needs.
How Project Managers Work at IDAP
IDAP Group is a full-service software development company with over 200 projects completed since 2012. We work with both startups and large businesses in need of quality custom software.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about our project managers.
Our clients have dedicated project managers who are involved in their projects from the very beginning to the very end. This means constant support, updating, and monitoring.
Few reasons to choose IDAP:
- Experience. See our portfolio or Clutch.co reviews
- Transparency. Our teams communicate effortlessly and share progress daily
- Non-disclosure. Protect your software idea properly with privacy policies
- Easy monitoring. Check progress at any time with project management software
- Complete service. Get access to all brainpower needed to make your project go live
Last, but not least…
“A project manager is more than just a connection between software developers and clients. It’s about being a trusted partner.”
Viktor, Project manager, IDAP Group
All right, any promotion feels a bit like bragging at this point.
So, I’ll quote a satisfied client instead (who, by the way, is still working with us;)
“At IDAP, project managers ask good questions and listen carefully to the requirements. They foresee all the potential risks and nail down the problems long before they become severe.”
A client from the digital marketing industry
The client had more to say. If you’re interested, check out the full review at our Clutch.co profile.
So, if you’re considering outsourcing software development, IDAP can be your trusted partner. We have a 4.9-star rating on Clutch from clients, so our project managers have the skills needed to make your project successful.
Drop us a line, and we’ll get back to you soon!
How to Collaborate with Software Development Project Managers
Haven’t worked with software development partners before? Want to know how to make your collaboration with your project manager successful? These tips will help.
Treat PMs like partners
Your remote dedicated team becomes a sort of a branch of your company. So, it makes sense to treat a project manager as a partner rather than just a contractor because they’re kinda “running a branch.”
Share your vision and demands
Close and honest collaboration between a client and a software project manager is essential to define the most important project requirements and goals. Keep in mind that the manager wants to create a project according to your vision.
Meet frequently (even daily)
Regular video meetings ensure a consistent flow of information, so both the project manager and the client stay on the same page about everything. If your software partner adheres to Scrum principles, this means you can participate in meetings daily.
Use project management software
Project management apps like JIRA and Asana make it easy to follow project progress, timelines, achievements, and other helpful KPIs. So, your project manager will make sure you can track everything at any time.
Ask to provide regular team feedback
A good software project manager keeps a pulse on the team’s mood, work environment, and idea flow. Feel free to ask yours to keep you updated on how your team feels—this’ll help you be more involved and engaged.
Find a Great Software Project Manager
Having a skilled software development project manager is crucial to successful project completion. Even having the best product idea, the most skilled team, and a multimillion budget doesn’t guarantee success unless there’s a competent project manager overseeing everything.If you’re looking for a reliable software development partner, check out IDAP Group. We’re experienced in developing software solutions for businesses, so we’d be glad to help you build yours, too.