Project Managers plan and control IT projects. The goal is to achieve the best result with as few resources and as efficient as possible. In doing so, they maintain an overview of the process, the working method, the budget and the time frame throughout the entire duration of the project.
Project Manager Job Profile
What Is the Salary of a Project Manager?
The salary of an IT project manager depends on various factors. The German Society for Project Management conducts studies every two years to record the most important influences on the salary of project managers. The two biggest influencing factors are the hierarchy level, i.e. which position the project manager assumes within the company, and professional experience.
However, junior project managers also earn above-average salaries at the beginning of their professional career. According to the GPM, the average salary in 2019 was almost €55,000 per year. The general average salary for IT project managers was €87,000 per year.
However, smaller factors, such as gender, responsibility and company size, still play a role in the salary of a project manager.
Especially in the freelance sector, the risk is significantly higher from the entrepreneur’s point of view, but it can pay off. For example, the average daily rate for IT project managers in 2019 was just over €1000, which corresponds to an annual average salary of around €111,800. This already deducts costs for materials and insurance, which freelancers usually have to bear themselves.
Companies often rely on the skills and experience of IT project managers for cost reasons or to reliably implement temporary projects. Since costs such as vacation, materials, insurance, and other cost items are eliminated, freelancers are often even a more cost-effective alternative than permanent employees when it comes to temporary employment.
Various awards and certificates, for example for Scrum, can also have an impact on the salary of an IT project manager.
What Are the Tasks of an IT Project Manager?
IT project managers have the task of planning and managing IT projects. The basic goal is to achieve the best result with the least amount of resources and effort. In doing so, they keep track of all important factors, such as time, employees, money, etc., and coordinate tasks between employees, departments and service providers.
In addition, IT project managers determine the resources needed and define intermediate goals and the end result. Depending on the environment, project or company, different means, platforms, and programming languages may be useful.
Various analyses and evaluation of the market are also part of the tasks of an IT project manager.
The main role of a project manager is to juggle time, cost, and quality so that all three factors are in a suitable balance. At the same time, project managers weigh up risks and chances of success and, based on this, make significant decisions that influence the course of the IT project.
Thus, IT project managers bear a great deal of responsibility and make a significant contribution to the success of the project in question.
How Does an IT Project Work?
Essentially, the process of an IT project consists of 5 phases.
Phase 1 – The Preparation
In the first phase, the preparation, the basics for the project are determined. It is defined what the project is about and what the goals are. At the end of phase 1, a decision is made for or against the project. This decision is based on various factors, such as risks, benefits, costs and others.
If the decision is made in favor of the project, phase 2 follows.
Phase 2 – Project Introduction
In this phase, the project is initiated and the framework conditions are clarified. This includes available funds, necessary work steps and tasks that need to be completed. Risks and opportunities are also evaluated in more detail. In addition, relevant stakeholders, i.e. people who have a (mostly economic) interest in the project, are informed.
Phase 3 – Project Planning
In the third phase, the course of the IT project is determined. It is important to understand that this phase is never really finished throughout the duration of the project, as there are constantly new factors that need to be considered. This includes available resources, necessary work steps, and tasks that need to be completed. In other words, project planning is where all the important details that are critical to success are determined.
Phase 4 – Project Execution
Once all the essential conditions have been clarified, it is time to start the IT project. Here, the project manager takes on an essential role and controls the entire process. Priorities must be set, tasks distributed and resources regularly reviewed. Throughout the duration of the project, the project manager should remain flexible in order to be able to react to problems and unforeseen events.
Phase 5 – Project Conclusion and Documentation
Once the project is completed, the final phase in the process of an IT project occurs. Here the project is closed. The project manager documents the results and terminates all contracts. Documentation and evaluation are particularly important to record experience and knowledge for future projects. Especially freelance project managers pay close attention to the documentation because they are only assigned to a specific project. Thus, one cannot fall back on the memories of the respective project manager but must rely on the documentation.
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What Is the Difference Between a Project Manager and a Product Owner?
The main difference between a Project Manager and a Project Owner is the responsibilities of each role. While the Project Owner takes care of the strategy of the project, the Project Manager is fundamentally responsible for managing the team and assigning tasks. In summary, the Project Owner creates the strategy and plan and the Project Manager executes it. Neither role is more or less important than the other.
Optimally, the two positions work closely together and support each other so that each can do their job to the best of their ability. Depending on the size of the project, both roles may fall to one person. This is especially the case with smaller projects, where it is easy for a single person to keep track of all the important aspects.
If you have larger projects in the planning stage, both positions should be filled in each case in order to avoid overloading and the resulting errors.
What Is Agile Project Management?
Agile project management is particularly suitable if the goals of an IT project can change during the course of the project or can only be vaguely described in advance. Whereas in classic project management, resources and time tend to be adjusted in order to achieve the defined goals, in agile project management the goal tends to be changed and resources and time specifications remain the same.
A distinction is made in agile project management between the iterative and the incremental approach.
In the iterative approach, a prototype is developed in a timely manner and then refined step by step. In the process, each step is reviewed in detail. If necessary, not only a partial step, but the entire development process is repeated. In the incremental approach, a functioning partial product is produced in each phase of the project. The focus is less on the final state, but on many small developments. Agile project management is mainly used in the optimization of a product or service, for customer solutions or in software development.
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