Finding Your Sweet Spot Between Technology and Project Management

Project management can be a challenging feat but rewarding. It requires meticulous attention to detail, organizational skills, technical skills, leadership skills, communication skills, being able to make things happen and more!

The most important thing is knowing the problem you are solving and what it will take to solve it. In order to solve issues, you need to identify what it will take to get the project done, plan it out, implement it, monitor it to make sure it is working as it should and close it out when you complete it. There is also documentation, depending on the project management type you follow. For example, traditional project management usually tends to have more documentation than the iterative approach. However, the amount of documentation used will be based on your project management style.

In order to get a project from start to finish, a project manager needs to know how to deal with and eliminate obstacles that may threaten project failure. As a result, you will find project managers working in many industries since management is usually needed for projects.

One of highly talked about industries is the technology industry. With a technical project manager, it is usually better if they have some type of previous experience or background. However, not all technical people are able to be project managers. Why? Because most technical people face challenges in being able to connect the business side of project management with the technical side since there needs to be a balance between the two.

When it comes to technical projects, the most important components of managing a successful project are people, processes, and technology.

People

People are the ones who will be doing the work, so it is essential that they understand their roles and responsibilities in the project and how to perform their jobs. They need to have a clear definition of the project’s objectives and goals and the necessary skillset to execute their part of the project.

The project manager doesn’t need to know how to do everything the team does, but they do need to be able to motivate and guide the team in the right direction. Communication will be key in making sure things run smoothly, especially when it comes to navigating through the jargon between team members.

Processes

Technical projects require processes that are clear and consistent. You can’t apply the same business processes from non-technical projects to technical ones. There should be a clear way in which your team will perform these processes such as properly outlining and following the lifecycle of a technical project.

Technology

A major aspect of technical projects is integration. This can be one of the challenging parts of a technical project. In order to perform successful integrations, there needs to be a well-planned process in place for testing and detailed requirements specifying the acceptance criteria and necessary functions of the technology at hand.

Balancing the Scale

In order to find a balance between project management and technology, you first need to understand the complexity of the project you are dealing with. You will also need to learn what style would be the best for the type of project you are managing.

The biggest space between the two exists with the promised functions of the technology vs. what is actually delivered. A contributing factor to this is miscommunication between the technical team and the non-technical project managers and customers. To fix this issue and find a balance between the two, the project manager should focus on making sure to communicate the customer’s needs to the team properly, and that they guide the team in the right direction through meetings, feedback and brainstorming sessions. The technical team can make the decisions on development and implementation since they are the experts, as long as any implications are clearly understood and communicated in layman’s terms by the project manager and vice versa. Having a solid technical lead on the team is a great way to help bridge the communication gap.

Technical awareness is also a plus. Having a technical awareness of the project you are managing does not mean you need to be a technology expert. It just means that taking the time to understand the technology for the project and its constraints can go a long way. You will also be able to bring more value to the team.

Clear communication and understanding between the technical side and business side can help solve many issues with managing technical projects. It’s up to the project manager to listen and ask the right questions without assuming and being able to provide valuable input that will benefit both the customer and technical team.

References:

Biafore, B. (2016, March 31). Project Management Foundations. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.lynda.com/Project-tutorials/Project-Management-Fundamentals/424947-2.html

Madsen, S. (2015, April 14). 5 Best Practices for Managing Large IT Projects. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.liquidplanner.com/blog/5-considerations-for-managing-large-it-projects/

McGannon, B. (2016, July 19). Project Management: Technical Projects. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.lynda.com/Project-Management-tutorials/Managing-Technical-Projects/450184-2.html

PMI. (2008) Significance of technology management and project management aligned with portfolio management is vital for any project-based organization. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/technology-project-management-aligned-7144

PMI. (2008, March) The role of technology in the project manager performance model. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/technology-project-manager-performance-model-5586

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Donna Raphael-Rene
Donna Raphael-Rene
Project Executive

I have a drive and passion for development, project management, social media and music with career backgrounds in those fields. At Grata, I am the Project Executive who oversees small to large software projects. On my personal time, I have many hobbies such as I enjoy watching international dramas, I enjoy reading a good book, I compose music and I'm a huge movie buff.