What is an IT Project Manager (ITPM)?
An IT project manager is in charge of ensuring various IT projects are completed to the client’s deadlines and specifications. This involves organizing and managing the plan to achieve the client’s specific IT goals.
IT projects can be as simple as setting up laptops for new employees, while others may involve complex network overhauls or setting up new site infrastructures from scratch.
No matter the task, Framework IT's expert team of project managers know how to get the job done right. Framework IT is a managed service provider (MSP) in Chicago that helps clients reach their technology end goals that further the overall progression of their company.
If you are considering an MSP for your company, you will want to make sure the team is up to par. Below is a recap of the characteristics that a successful IT project manager should possess.
How do you become a project manager?
A project manager typically has a few years of hands-on experience performing the work they will be managing, or at least something to prove that they have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of the technology.
In general, ITPMs are required to hold a bachelor's degree, however, it isn't uncommon for them to be pursuing higher education. It isn't unheard of though for an ITMP to have worked up from a lower position without formal schooling. Along with experience in the IT field, certifications such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) can land you a solid position.
What are the main responsibilities?
The primary responsibility of an IT project manager is to be the point of contact from the client’s perspective. In addition, they work very closely with the internal engineers who are actually doing the technical work, or occasionally getting some additional information from the sales team if something is unclear in terms of the scope of work that is to be provided. Project managers must be naturally communicative and be able to keep track of many moving pieces to ensure the work is completed accurately and on time.
A project manager should be comfortable speaking to engineers on a technical level while at the same time be able to ensure the CEO (who may know nothing about the actual technology at hand) that the project will be done on time and what to expect from the end result. This often requires a balancing act since an ITPM is both the client’s liaison as well as the engineer’s primary resource to reach out to if they have any questions or concerns surrounding a project, from the technical perspective.
Ultimately, an IT project manager is responsible for ensuring a project is completed in a timely matter and the work done provides the client with what they signed off on.
What skills does an IT project manager require?
One of the primary skills an IT project manager needs background knowledge in the technology the projects will revolve around; in this case – information technology.
Many IT project managers must have a few years of hands-on work performing many of the duties they’ll see come along as projects. With that being said, a lot of the projects that come through will likely be above the skill set of the IT project manager – but it is up to the engineers to perform the actual technical work.
With that being said, the ITPM should be familiar with the majority of the technology involved so the work can be appropriately assigned. One very important skill to have in this regard is to be able to ask the right questions to get the project to its end goal.
An IT project manager should have solid communication skills and be able to accurately relay information through to the client without too much “tech talk” for lack of a better word. Keeping project timelines on track and providing appropriate updates goes a long way. The PM is the center point between the client, sales team, and engineers so being a jack of all trades is highly valued.
Having a solid understanding of at least the fundamental technology behind the projects and being able to communicate expectations, deadlines, and status updates will certainly set an ITPM up for success.
What are some challenges an ITPM may encounter?
There are many challenges that will arise during the time as an ITPM and it is important to identify them while embracing change and adaptability. Most IT projects are undertaken with little to no time to prepare. It’s always important to expect the unexpected and to have a back-up plan in place.
A well-executed plan cannot be prepared without proper communication. According to the Project Management Institute’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession survey, almost a third of all project failures were due to poor communication. The ITPM position requires establishing clear expectations so the team is clear on their direction and the failure to perform may be detrimental.
If a project manager is lacking in the communication department, there are many ways to improve. One may be to use collaborative software to ensure everyone stays updated on all accounts throughout the entire scope of the project. These tools also encourage the entire team to communicate resourcefully with one another.
Another commonly experienced challenge is unrealistic deadlines from clients. This becomes difficult when unexpected technical setbacks are being encountered such as if critical IT hardware fails in the middle of a project. The best project managers understand the ability of their teams and are able to negotiate the project timeline accordingly.
Completing a project on time and within all constraints is no easy task. Regardless of the challenges faced, an experienced ITPM will be there to guide and complete any job.
Looking for ITPM assistance?
A successful IT project manager will follow these two guidelines for success:
- Be the ‘go-to’ person the client can reach out to for answers. Be responsive, provide accurate information, and give realistic expectations.
- Provide the engineer doing the project itself with what they need to do their job efficiently and productively. At the end of the day, it’s their job to make their job as easy as possible.
If you are still searching for a managed service provider that you can trust to follow these guidelines, consider Framework IT. For over a decade, our team of experienced project managers and has been perfecting their skills to ensure you get the management you deserve. For more information on our services, contact us today!