The work of the project manager

The project manager is one of the most popular and desired professions today. In the article, we will describe the responsibilities of the project and the activities of the project manager as well as the opportunities for development. The answers to the questions are provided by Leon Weber, a certified BVOP project manager.

What are the responsibilities of the project manager?

Responsibilities are related to different things depending on the project and its phase. If it is a question of pre-sales (the phase before signing a contract with the clients of the organization), it is necessary to understand what exactly are the needs of the client, whether this will be the best solution and most importantly – to make an adequate assessment how many resources and time it will take. In this way, the most optimal and accurate solution can be offered. When we already have a specific project and a signed contract, the project manager must organize a team to rely on and to deal with the organization and distribution of project work. It is important to discuss with the team every day how the implementation is going and what difficulties there are. When difficulties arise, it is the project manager who must take care of overcoming them. DataArt is a global company, which is why it is necessary to take into account specific specifics – with geographical differences, time difference, the peculiarities of the respective market, etc.

The projects we are working on are very different. They can range from developing a single mobile application to building a complete architecture.

A typical working day of a project manager

To answer this question, it is best to mention a few general things about IT Project Management. At the beginning of the project, even the best – before signing the contract, the project manager makes a plan. Depending on the type of project, a framework is chosen to be followed. If you are working on Scrum ”or some other Agile framework, a short meeting with the project participants (developers, architects, business analysts) is organized every morning to find out how the work is going and whether there are any problems that prevent it from proceeding. With us at DataArt, communication takes place mostly online, which is why the day is spent in conference calls via Skype or Zoom, in writing emails, and in communicating with both the client and my colleagues from the company, located in different parts of the world.

I am a big connoisseur of coffee and it is always part of the beginning of my working day. My colleagues and I keep to the rest time and when our schedules match, we try to have lunch together on our sunny terrace overlooking the city. The company’s policy is that everyone allocates their time and decides whether to work from the office, from home or from another of our offices in a different country, which is a huge advantage.

What skills and qualities are needed for this profession?

It is very important for the person in this position to have strong organizational skills and leadership qualities. The ability to properly allocate time, as well as the so-called “soft skills” are extremely important, because this position implies constant communication with people. Other important skills that are given priority are related to the development of project documentation and work with it, good knowledge of the motivational principles and methods for evaluation of team members, as well as the ability to negotiate.

Each new project can be organized differently, so it is useful to have an idea of ​​different frameworks. A methodology is never applied 100%, but it contributes to finding the optimal way of working.

We have another important requirement and it is related to English language proficiency, as our customers are mainly from the USA, Great Britain, and Germany, and our developers are in Eastern Europe and Argentina. I communicate in four languages ​​every day – English, Spanish, Russian, and German, which was tiring at first, but you get used to it.

How do you maintain your knowledge and qualifications?

I think this is extremely important, not only for the people involved in project management but also for all experts in general. I am constantly trying to upgrade my professional qualification and gain new knowledge. At the end of last year, for example, I took an exam for a “Scrum Master” certificate, and now I’m taking courses because in the future I would like to do Machine Learning.

The company also offers many options for upgrading knowledge – there are courses for soft skills, languages, QA (software testing), business analysts, and more.

Opportunities for career development in project management

Career development opportunities are many, but to a large extent, they also depend on the structure and policy of the company. For example, the project manager can become a successful program/portfolio manager, ie. manager of several projects or take other senior management positions in the hierarchy. This is achieved with a great experience.

In some organizations, there is a very flexible policy and this gives quite different development opportunities, although our structure is flat, without a strict hierarchy. The project managers in the company can focus on the more technical part – to work as architects, or if they are good at working with clients and have strong leadership qualities – as Delivery managers or Engagement managers.


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Myths about project management

As with any profession, there are many misconceptions. One of the most common of these is that hiring a project manager is a waste of time and money for the company and that the team can do without it. In this case, it is good to ask ourselves what kind of contract will be signed without an adequate project assessment and project plan to determine the value of a service.

Another common misconception is that the IT project manager must have a technical education. For this role, it is important to control quality, execution schedule, and resources. The project manager must be able to interpret the business needs of the stakeholders and explain them to his team, as well as communicate with the client about possible difficulties. Do you need to know what is the best way to develop a database? Would write code in Java or C # help manage a team? Of course, programming skills are very useful, as they provide an opportunity to understand the technical aspect of the work of developers, but they are only a plus, not a prerequisite.

By Samantha Rhine

Samantha Rhine, Editor-in-Chief of

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