Does My Custom Software Project Need A Project Manager? A Review of Project Management
Written by Jordan Echols
At SOLTECH, our clients often ask if they need a project manager on their project. We understand you want to know exactly why they’ve been added to your project. In this article, we’ll review what project managers do and why they’re essential to any sized project.
Creating custom software such as a web or mobile application is a project. Like any other type of project, there is a process behind it and a need for a team to complete it. One of the essential components to a successful project and a successful team is a project manager.
What Do Project Managers Do?
A project manager’s job, first and foremost, is to ensure the client is satisfied during the development of the project – starting with the design, implementation – such as scope, budget, timeline, and ending with the completion.
Each project typically uses Waterfall or Agile methodologies, depending on the project and the client’s requirements.
In addition, the project manager is also responsible for keeping the team of developers and Quality Assurance engineers, informed and on-track.
What Makes a Project Manager Important?
Many project managers find it is imperative to get to know the people creating the application. Building and strengthening relationships with each person on the team will benefit the project as it will assist with communication on many levels.
Think of the project manager as a “facilitator” for the team – they’re the liaison, the core communicator not only for the team, but for the client.
A project manager’s day-to-day is never the same as they typically manage several different projects at a given time. Engagement is fueled by change in the industry.
Let’s Break it Down
Think about it this way – there are many different parts that go into building an airplane for an airline, but placing all the parts into a pile doesn’t allow for the plane to start flying.
All the parts belong in a specific place to create the final product – the plane – and if those parts aren’t put together in a cost-effective and timely manner, the airline will have unsatisfied customers expecting to travel without means to.
That is where project managers are crucial. A client might not know how the software is being built because the client likely is not knowledgeable about software engineering. The client, however, does know that it is the product they envisioned and ultimately, anticipate the team to create – on time and on budget.
A project manager’s responsibilities focus heavily on managing the scope, budget and timeline of each individual project. These three items belong in a triangle, because when one part goes off track, they are all affected.
So, Do I Need a Project Manager?
In short, yes, but let’s talk about why.
Project managers make sure that the original requirements of the project are being built, and if there is added scope throughout the project, the project manager will ensure two vital things: one, that there is room in the budget and two, determine if the team is allowed an extension on time to complete the project.
A project manager also tracks the budget daily so that they can inform the stakeholders of any issues. In addition, he or she also manages the project timeline, which again is affected if either the scope or the budget changes in any way.
Finally, a project manager is necessary for any sized project. They lead the team to success which then creates a successful project, heeding a satisfied client. This is invaluable as it assists in producing a reputable company which then generates more sales and ultimately, more revenue.
If you don’t have a project manager, especially on a mid to large scale project, things could go awry. Often times, software developers lack the capacity to multi-task and be the communicator to the client, in addition to their daily tasks.
While the developers know the concrete details of the project, there is no one to check-in on them to ensure things are being completed within budget and within the estimated timeline given to the client.
In the long run, this will end up costing you more money than if you had put a project manager on the project to begin with.
Do you think project managers are needed on every project? How do you decide? Share your thoughts in the comments!