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Project Management in Software Development – Manager Responsibilities and Key Phases
In a 10-year projection by the Project Management Institute, they reported that nearly 87.7 million individuals will be functioning in project management capacities by 2027. Yet, as it stands, there is a shortage of qualified project managers, and the Information Technology industry is not left out of the brunt of this shortage.
IT is a high-profile industry in which project management has taken an active role in developing software solutions and projects for clients. Moreover, large and small IT companies are looking to broaden their scope of operations to achieve high competence in challenging markets.
As a result, project managers are in high demand in the IT industry to assist companies in developing software solutions and executing multifaceted projects for various clients in an efficient and timely manner.
Why Is A Project Manager Important For Software Development?
A crucial part of software project management is ensuring that everyone involved in the software development process is aware of the project’s purpose and the steps required to achieve the end goal – to create a product that will benefit its users.
Reduces Risks and Unexpected Costs
To avoid major business interruptions and unexpected costs, the incremental and iterative approach to software project management entails dealing with changes and reducing inherent risks. Several software project management approaches, such as the Agile project management methodology, have evolved from incremental and iterative approaches.
To Facilitate a Point of Contact between Developers and Clients
The development team usually consists of frontend and backend developers, QA specialists, UI/UX designers, business analysts, and other professionals. As a result, client interaction remains difficult and ineffective without the supervision of a project management office or project manager.
In software development, a project manager serves as a central link between the development team, managers, and the client. They handle any issues that arise and can remain your reliable and knowledgeable point of contact throughout the project.
Additionally, the project manager schedules meetings, manage client relationships, reiterates project requirements to developers and clients, and informs clients of ongoing progress in layman’s terms.
Effective Team Resource Management
Top-notch synergy is essential, especially when managing a team that includes developers and designers, analysts, managers, testing teams, content creators, and so on.
In software development, all of these individual units work together to produce the desired outcome, in this case, a software product that meets the client’s exact specifications.
A project manager’s role also includes coordination and efficient utilization of team resources, such as ensuring that development adheres to predetermined phases and fostering collaboration among team members through optimal resource and time utilization.
Creating a Project Scope Management System
“Scope” is an important term in the project manager’s vocabulary. It measures the requirements that the team or company must deliver successfully to the client.
Determining the project’s scope ensures that everything needed to complete the project successfully is kept in order.
Project managers place a high value on scope management in their projects. It is created ahead of time, during the planning stage, and serves as the foundation for all subsequent stages. Of course, a project’s scope is dependent entirely on resources, costs, and project delivery time, and any changes to these can have an impact.
However, a project manager’s role is to maintain the scope despite these changing factors and continue with the software development project.
Ensures Strict Quality Control in the Process and Product
Project managers assess all of the processes that go into the software testing phase passively to identify bugs that may potentially affect or wreck its functionality.
The project manager closely examines the design elements with the help of the UI/UX team to ensure that the team adheres to the highest quality standards in both the process and the finished product.
Furthermore, they work closely with the team to ensure that the entire software architecture fits closely with the client’s set of requirements.
What are the Qualities of a Project Manager?
If you want to choose a project manager who is skilled enough to execute software development projects successfully, there are certain qualities you have to look out for.
An Effective Communicator
Communication is an essential skill in project management. Communication involves more than just being a superb facilitator, speaker, or writer; it also implies good listening skills. It is effective to actively listen to what is said and not said.
Listening to the perspectives of others and taking their experiences and knowledge into account reduces conflict and risks and increases the effectiveness of the software development project.
A project will not always go according to plan; mistakes are unavoidable. However, accountability for decisions and actions is critical as this sends a strong message to the rest of the team.
Integrity, decisiveness, good judgment, the ability to form a vision and execute it, and confidence in your competence – agrees Paul Dillon, the founder of Dillon Consulting Services, are hallmarks of effective project managers.
Committed to Success
Efficient project managers genuinely believe in their work and are invested in seeing a project through from start to finish. This mindset enables the best results possible throughout the project.
They must maintain professional integrity and stakeholder satisfaction and be involved in all aspects of the project, its activities, and its people.
An Agent of Change
Highly effective project managers understand that change is inevitable. As much as it can be disruptive to business processes, embracing, managing, and preparing for change can serve as an advantageous strategy.
A project manager also recognizes the need to work closely with change management experts to help stakeholders adapt to change and better prepare for the future state of the project.
Tools that can help a Project Manager’s Work.
A project manager with the qualities outlined must also be well equipped with the necessary tools to execute their duties effectively. Some of those tools could be;
- Asana: makes it easier to use dashboards and conversations. It also allows messages to be shared with the software development team and includes a smart box feature that sends notifications tailored to a specific team member. It can be integrated with other data sources such as Google Drive, Github, Dropbox, and many more.
- Teamwork Project Management: this is a simple tool for adding milestones, task management, file storage, and visualization tools such as a Gantt Chart. Database management is also possible with the addition of cloud storage services such as DropBox and Google Drive.
- Jira: Jira is the most widely used project management software by organizations that follow the Agile SDLC principle. Teams can use the real-time reporting features to create Kanban and custom scrum boards. Bugs can also be easily tracked and resolved, which is vital for software developers.
Despite having similar features, each of these tools is packaged differently.
Therefore, having the right project management tool is imperative to the success of any project. This makes it important to consider factors like the size of the software development team, the features of the task management software, and so on before settling on a project management tool.
Scheduling of Projects: Main Project Phases in Software Development
The phases involved in both project and software lifecycle tend to overlap at some places. For example, with software development, the lifecycle begins with planning and analysis, which then moves through design, building, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance.
However, the project management lifecycle comprises four stages – initiation, planning, execution, and closure, which, when examined closely, remain interrelated to the software development lifecycle.
Phases of the project lifecycle, such as planning and execution tie down exactly with the design, development, testing, and implementation phase of the software lifecycle.
The goal and scope of the project are laid down during initiation, which then moves on to the planning stage once approved and subsequently to the design, building, and testing process.
Accordingly, one cannot leave out project management from the software development lifecycle but pin it right at the center, where each process revolves under its sole discretion.
In essence, the project phases involved when developing software can be itemized thus;
In brief, project management is all about optimal planning, judicious allocation of team resources, prompt management, creating effective channels for client interaction, and ensuring stringent quality levels throughout.
Primary Risk Factors in Software Development Projects
Several common factors are known to constitute risks during the management of projects.
Poor quality code is a major risk in software development. Hasty work and various other factors may cause projects to contain low-quality code. Bugs, logical errors, and other issues with code can arise and can be reduced by repeatedly testing code, and resolving bugs and logical errors as they crop up.
Another risk associated with software development is inaccurate estimations, which result in unmet expectations. Inaccurate estimates of costs, deadlines, and outcomes can cause software development projects to fall short of client expectations.
Inadequate risk management
Not having plans to handle risks can be a risk in and of itself. Good risk management is required for software development teams to identify risks and respond to them effectively. You can improve this by identifying potential risks, developing risk mitigation strategies, and closely monitoring risks.
Scope creep is when a project’s scope evolves into something completely different from its initial. In software development, changing project scopes can also cause risks. It can be avoided by dividing your project into manageable segments or iterations and reviewing the scope regularly.
It is equally important to consider external risks. External risks can include unforeseeable legislative changes, economic shifts, and natural disasters.
Avoiding external risks can be difficult, but you can take some steps to mitigate them. Insurance can help and stay up to date on software development laws and trends. This can trigger a quicker response to external risks as they arise.
What are the Benefits of Agile Methodology for Software Development?
Agile software development is an umbrella term for a set of practices and methodologies based on iterative development. It is also referred to as simply Agile, and it is inspired by the Agile Manifesto, which has principles that favor people and interactions over tools and processes.
Agile focuses on the clean delivery of incremental parts of the software rather than the software as a whole.
Using Agile, software development teams can reduce costs, and work stress and improve turnaround times.
Superior quality product
Testing is an integrated part of the project execution phase in Agile project management, which means that the overall quality of the final product is higher. The client is still involved in the development process and can request changes based on market dynamics.
Because Agile is an iterative process, teams continue to learn and grow over time as they continue to improve.
The customer is always involved in the decision-making process in Agile, which leads to higher customer retention. While in waterfall methodologies, the customer is only involved in the planning phase and has no influence on execution, which increases flexibility and adaptability.
Another advantage of Agile Project Management is that the time to market is significantly reduced. This enables the product owner to capitalize on the opportunity and, in some cases, enjoy the first-mover advantage.
It is only natural that when customers reap these benefits due to your efforts, they return.
Because of its transparency, feedback integration, and quality-control features, Agile gives managers more control over the project. Through advanced reporting tools and techniques, quality is ensured throughout the project’s implementation phase, and all stakeholders are involved in the process with daily progress reports.
Improved project predictability
There are more ways to identify and predict risks within the Agile framework and plan to ensure that the project runs smoothly. Scrum methodology, for example, employs sprint backlogs and burndown charts to increase project visibility, allowing managers to forecast performance and plan accordingly.
Predicting risks and devising effective risk mitigation strategies becomes easier with greater visibility.
Project management in software development is more important than ever for a large, small, or mid-sized corporate team developing cutting-edge software solutions.
Your company will finish and release final products in a timely and organized manner if you streamline your software development process with a project management timeline.
Finding the right people, tools, and risk mitigation will determine successful software project management.
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