The role & key responsibilities of a Project Manager in software development Main roles a PM must fulfill

project manager
Nov 08
Read 5 Min

Many businesses have acknowledged the perks of having a competent PM on their teams. In fact, stats are here to back this claim up.  Nowadays, 61% of organizations provide some form of project management training. So, what are the roles and responsibilities of a project manager in software development, and why are they so important? 

Learn more about what they do – and how they do it. Know which are the basic grounds that need covering & hire a skilled professional that will bring you the optimal results quickly. 

So, who is a Project Manager?

We’ve all heard of Scrum, and its many popular variants of it labeled as “Scrum, but.” First of all, the actual Agile manifesto skips all the roles and responsibilities of the project manager. So, if you’ve picked this framework to live and work by, pay close attention to the positions’ similarities and differences. Agile development teams should have a Scrum Master and a Product Owner. Still, most software teams, in fact, operate according to the inputs provided by a Project Manager. In some cases, this title just has a slightly dissimilar job description.

So, what is a project manager – in simple words? The most comprehensive definition is that this professional is in charge of completing a project successfully. They organize and manage various stages and handle the resources needed to finalize all tasks within an agreed time frame. Their specific role can vary depending on the current requirements. However, they always have some core competencies that help them encourage optimal results. And the stages they go through include planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and finishing projects.

Basic steps a software PM plans & watches over

The whole drill can differ by a lot between projects and their scope. Everything a company does is poles apart when it comes to small-scale projects, compared to macroscale goals and demanding long-term assignments. For starters, it can affect a business’s decision whether to outsource software development or any other parts of their work. 

Nevertheless, each project (and, for that matter, each project manager responsibilities) follow certain stages:

  • The Initiating phase, where integration and stakeholder management takes place,
  • The planning phase, which consists of various steps, including time and cost estimations, establishing quality requirements, procurement management, and more,
  • Executing phase, which encompasses management of all communication, human resources, etc.,
  • Control and monitoring, 
  • And closing the project. 

The responsibilities of a project manager in software engineering cover all these phases. In other words, they are taking charge of the whole project life cycle. 

Why do you need software project management?

There are quite a few ways in which you’ll benefit from professional and efficient project management. For starters, did you know that, according to the studies,  54% of all workers spend five or more hours per week on boring and repetitive tasks that require little or no creativity? And good management plus the usage of the right tools can turn these stats around. The main advantages of a PM include strategic planning and alignment, effective leadership, setting clear objectives, boosting quality control, and staying on top of risk management. Continued monitoring and timely insights will help your software team understand and follow their goals easily. Also, an expert PM will bring remarkable tech skills and enhance your team’s strengths. In fact, most companies have precisely these perks in mind when deciding on insourcing VS. outsourcing. In-house crews usually have more efficient management abilities. But still, if you go for a reputable outsourcing company, you’re likely to obtain the same results and superb quality. The trick is to do the research & choose wisely. 

Key roles and responsibilities of Project Manager in software development

What is the most important role of a project manager? It’s undoubtedly about connecting the dots, bringing stakeholders closer to developers and other team members, and linking their expectations and efforts to users. 

Now, in order to achieve these results, they must have clever tactics and a few necessary skills up their sleeves. The basic ground they have to cover include:

  • Proper planning and organization,
  • Time and cost management,
  • Control and monitoring, 
  • Excellent communication,
  • Handling reports and documentation. 

These are the essential roles any skilled PM should take over & convert into triumph. 

Successful organization and planning

Organization and planning are most likely the crucial responsibilities of a project manager in software development. A PM has to set a clear strategy that includes a full list of fundamental activities for the project. They need to define the scope of the project and create the schedule accordingly. They usually do it by targeting the activities adequately. The idea is to do less and save time but retain (and boost) the quality. Aside from that, everything must be aligned with the budget. And finally, they should have a backup plan if the situation demands it. 

So, PMs must also focus on their team’s efforts. It is their job to help the team reach their full potential. Plus, being a master of delegation is another point on their checklists that they must possess. 

Objective & effective time management

Like all trusted specialists in any business area, every PM has its critical skills, tasks, and lingo. Taking charge of scheduling and estimations are at the top of the list of their points of focus. Time management done right and being able to schedule properly is crucial because you will need to assign tasks and correctly manage the workload within the team.

Accurate estimations are also vital, particularly for the product development team. The estimate of a finish date drives many other teams to perform their functions across the company. The executive team often uses it to target success or failure. 

Still, delivery dates are often infamous for being missed. And that is why working within date ranges is way better than operating with single-point deadlines. By doing so, the entire team has more time to fix some mistakes and overcome the sudden roadblocks that happen with almost any project. 

Trustworthy progress monitoring

A massive chunk of a PM’s time is orbiting around monitoring the projects’ statuses. After the plans have been set to motion, a PM has to see how much of the work is done and whether it is being done as required. Much of the progress is made during the central stages of the project lifecycle. Managers track and assess it through various systems like status reports, meetings, and informal updates. If the company has proper tools to automate these processes, PMs have it much easier. Also, they can monitor and evaluate the whole flow much more accurately. 

Regular meetings and communication 

Booking meetings regularly is challenging for PMs because the same rules rarely apply for all projects. Still, many say that a proven formula for success is having one team meeting per week. On the other hand, scrum involves daily standups, but not every software crew needs to work by this specific methodology. In short, PMs should reach the aims of the meetings by stating the expected practices and rules clearly to the whole team. Their vision should be communicated to the entire team to help them understand the importance of their role. Also, the right tone should be set by managers to get the best outcomes. 

Good communication and knowledge sharing are huge when it comes to improving productivity, raising employee engagement, and building an amazing company culture

Appropriate reports and documentation

Lastly, when the project is closed on time (and on the budget), the PM needs to provide relevant documentation and present the final reports to clients. Also, they should recognize the areas where there is a need for future improvement. The main two functions in this stage involve keeping a record of what has been done and who was participating to ensure that the project satisfied all the requirements.

What are the skills of a software project manager?

To take charge of all necessary steps rightly, a PM needs to have quite a few core competencies. So, here’s the ultimate list of Software development – project manager skills:

  • Superb communication and collaboration skills,
  • Awe-inspiring leadership capabilities,
  • Remarkable problem-solving skills,
  • Practical risk management abilities, 
  • Strong knowledge of the best security practices, 
  • Familiarity with various useful tools. 

Ultimately, a quick-witted PM should have profound technical knowledge and keenness for refining it. 

Make sure to find a dependable Project Manager for your software team

Finding the right person who can fulfill all roles and responsibilities of a project manager in software development is paramount. Before you start looking for the best candidate out there, make sure to have these key skills and steps in mind. Know your actual needs and seek the perfect new colleague accordingly. 

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Tatjana Zotovic