The role of software project managers is to see a project to fruition while software developers are expected to develop the product, but oftentimes, these roles are interchanged irresponsibly.
You’ve been there: working with a software developer who you desperately want to focus on everything software but who finds themselves knee-deep in scheduling, budgeting, and meetings with stakeholders.
Or maybe a software project manager who delegates like a champ, is consistent with the budget, and works scheduling magic, but is somehow sucked into micro-managing your developers and ends up unintentionally inserting themself into the development process.
This might be why project managers aren’t popular among software developers, but we must acknowledge that without them, software development projects take a rocky course to fruition. Let’s talk about what software project management brings to SDLC and what the role of project managers in software development looks like in the future.
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Software project management is important for software development because it provides relationship management and oversees all things project-related outside of the development process.
Software project managers take management-related tasks off your plate. These tasks include:
Project managers also use their extensive interpersonal skills to bridge the communication gap between software developers and the rest of the organization. Relationship management is important for software development because:
Your project manager is important because they’re your problem solver. You can count on them to find a solution if someone leaves, has a scheduling issue, adapt to unexpected software development needs, and supply necessary resources for the project.
Software project management and software development complement each other by connecting the personal and product aspects of the project. They work together to set the tone for a seamless software development project. Project managers focus on the big picture while software developers focus on the details of developing the software.
A project manager tackles all the present and potential obstacles that may impede the development process. They communicate with stakeholders and company leaders, make sure team members are taken care of and are working together in a productive, positive manner. They provide ongoing support and maintenance necessary for the uncertainties of developing software including:
Irregular or poor communication can kill a software development project. Your project manager is the key point of contact for software developers to company leaders, providing updates on the project, defining project goals, and ensuring you’re on track to meet them.
When you have to shift in software development, project managers make sure the scope of the project is still intact. They make sure that even as needed changes arise, you remain committed to completing the software project on time, you stay within the development budget, and that you have the necessary resources to seamlessly complete the project.
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The general role and responsibilities of a project manager will not change, but the future success of this role in software development is connected to the following:
The planning stages for software development projects used to be done primarily with a pen and paper: manually planning out the steps, strategies, and systems you’ll use to complete your project. Most parts of a project were recorded manually until the creation of online project management tools. Online software project management tools give you the ease and flexibility of planning, executing, managing, and maintaining your software project. They can help project managers:
Top project management software also ensures you’re able to record changes and easily track and analyze their effectiveness. You’re also able to dive deeper into the analytics of how well you’re managing your project.
A systems analyst could successfully transition into a software development project manager because the roles of a software developer and a systems analyst are both so closely associated with the details of the software. It’s best to mesh the duties of a project manager and a systems analyst if possible to create the most efficient kind of project manager in the software development field.
A systems analyst or site reliability engineer analyzes the systems and software in a business that create, gather, share, and use data. They then identify what computer systems will make that process more efficient and suggest implementation strategies to company leaders. A project manager manages the teams and big picture parts of a software development project and that includes ensuring the use of efficient systems.
Meshing the two roles will give you a project manager who’s adept in the software development language, but also able to manage relationships and complete managerial tasks vital to project completion.
Many software development teams will turn to remote workspaces even more as we navigate the effects of this global pandemic. To put together a collaborative software development team, you’ll have to employ developers from all over the country; this means different time zones, languages, personalities, backgrounds, and expectations for the completion of the project. You’ll want to ensure you have a project manager for your software development projects who is aware of this shift and knowledgeable in how to lead a distributed team and complete a project from anywhere.
Future success requires project managers who know how to manage teams remotely and delegate project tasks in a way that’s representative of the strengths of each team member and the vision for the completed product. They’ll need to ensure the quality of the software project is intact and that they provide the support necessary to each of these remote developers to ensure they feel a part of the team.
A project manager who specializes in remote software team management will be in high demand in software development. This can be attributed to the significant shift in technology use due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Project managers bring relationship management to software development in addition to overseeing all management-related tasks that could impede the progress of the software project.
Software project management and software development complement each other by working together in a way that allows both to fully immerse themselves in their respective job functions without any implications from the other’s role.
The future of the project manager role in software development depends on using online software project management tools, embracing a systems analyst/project manager role, and specializing in remote work environments.