Every job requires a unique combination of skills to be successful, and IT project management is no exception. However, there are certain capabilities that are fairly specific to project manager roles, and possessing them often is considered essential for the work. If you are interested in pursuing a career in IT project management, here are 10 skills you need to have in your repertoire.
The scope can determine the success or failure of a project before it even gets off the ground. Failing to define the scope well means the objectives are unclear, opening up for scope creep and increasing the risk of falling off target. Being able to gather the necessary information and create a comprehensive statement regarding what the project will or won’t entail is an essential skill all IT project managers need to develop to be successful in the role.
Project managers will spend time working with a wide range of team members and stakeholders, all with different levels of technical experience. Being able to effectively communicate with everyone involved, including breaking down complex technical ideas into plain English, is often critical to a project’s success, making it a must-have skill.
Some professionals working in project management are surprised to find that core human resources skills can be vital to the success of the venture. Being able to vet potential team members and determine which will help move things forward is a necessity, so learning how to evaluate a person’s skills and experience in relation to the project is valuable.
Most projects must adhere to strict timelines, and creating the schedule is often a duty placed squarely on the project manager’s shoulders. Understanding how to coordinate efforts, delegate tasks, and keep everything on target can be another factor in the group’s overall success.
No project has a guaranteed outcome. Being able to analyze the potential risks and take action to prevent those that can be while preparing for those that can’t is important. That way, should things begin to go awry, you’re ready to intervene.
Project managers are often responsible for cost management and budgeting, being given a specific amount of funds to complete the work. Understanding cost estimation, budgeting, and cost control are all vital skills, as well as being able to make adjustments should something come out other than how it was originally expected.
If a project involves working with vendors to obtain necessary materials or third-party assistance, then knowing the fundamentals of procurement is also important. Being able to identify low-cost suppliers who provide quality products and services can help keep the budget in line while ensuring you have everything you need to succeed.
A project isn’t a success if the results don’t meet quality expectations. IT project managers need to be able to monitor the progress of the outputs and ensure everything meets the necessary standards. Often, this is an ongoing process that must be integrated into the larger schedule. Then, if something is determined to be subpar, changes can be made as necessary.
At some point in the timeline, something isn’t going to go to plan. Additionally, you will spend your time juggling priorities and often making decisions on the fly. Being able to roll with the changes and handle issues as they arise can ensure the project remains on track even when the unexpected occurs.
IT project managers need to be familiar with the technologies involved in the project as well as those used to keep the plan moving forward. Being up to date in both areas ensures you have the knowledge base to see everything through from start to finish. Otherwise, you may find yourself spending more time on research than actually keeping things moving along.
If you are interested in learning more about IT project management roles, the team at ITStaff can help guide you forward. Contact us to discuss your career goals today.