As you might know, a project as a temporary endeavor that has a beginning and the end and meant to create a unique product or service as the end result, according to Project Management Institute.
Every project cannot just happen by itself though, right?
So along with a team of skilled professionals of all grades and trades, you’d usually have a project manager appointed that connects the dots on multiple fronts and lead the team from initiation to project wind-up.
If you try and put together a short description of a software development manager role, you’ll get something similar to the following definition:
“Orchestrating the efforts of the whole development team and being a link between different project stakeholders while making sure the product development is on rails.” Regarding this role it usually something between team lead, stakeholder and product owner roles that we've listed in one of our previous articles about agile software development team.
Remember one of the Indian goddesses that has multiple arms? That’s the picture that pops up in my head when I want to illustrate the software development manager profile.
That’s the summary of a software development manager profile, a portrait of a superhero that virtually manages project constraints: time, cost, and scope.
As a software development conductor, the project manager needs to be capable of juggling multiple aspects and drying different hats when necessary.
For example, a typical day in the life of the software development manager might include a morning call with a product owner followed by a stand-up meeting with the team.
Additionally, he might spend an hour or more a day sorting out emails and managing issues arising. But what are the areas that every software development project manager is expected to take controls of? Let us figure it out piece by piece.
To start off, each project has certain tasks to be accomplished by every team member in order to for a project to come to a successful end. To plan and define the scope along with other stakeholders is the first step.
However, then keeping an eye on a project flow with all the milestones being reached on time is something essential for a software development manager profile, too.
Don’t forget about regular status meetings and reports to ensure all is as per plan.
Although money must be funny in a rich man’s world, in the world of a software development project manager, it’s another concern to take care of.
To be precise with the budget, he needs to plan for a detailed schedule to make that money last till the end of the project cause asking for more is rarely an option here.
Foreseeing budget allocation and tracking it so no cost creep happens is another responsibility of the manager.
Of course, each project has quality standards that the stakeholders agree on. But in order to meet those tough requirements, a project manager needs to make sure the bugs detected on time and eliminated before the next iteration of the software development starts.
Including both manual and automated testing, the team has to work on identifying the bugs in the code and fix those according to the ticket raised. Usually, a software development manager encourages both the QA teams and developers collaborate to solve the issues that pop up.
While no one expects a project manager to babysit his team members, some hand-holding is still necessary at times. Why?
The reason is that a software development manager along with his technical expertise needs to possess leadership qualities to empower others and motivate them to do the work better and on time.
To top it off, a project manager is in charge of the team performance and needs to make sure everyone is in sync.
If you drill down the whole HR management component, you’ll be surprised how time-consuming this part can be. It includes but not limited to: identifying team composition that would be required for the project and assigning responsibilities (e.g. RACI matrix), making those clear to each team member etc.
Beyond that, if there’s any junior or middle associate that might be a good fit with just a little bit of onboarding and minor training; a software development manager needs to foresee that, too.
After all, depending on the business, a project manager might be responsible for designing recognition system with bonuses being rewards for outstanding accomplishments of team members or squads working on a certain part of the functionality.
Usually, the manager needs to create a communication strategy and ensure the information is conveyed to concerned parties in full and in a timely manner.
For instance, depending on the size of the organization, communication can be handled by a Project management office if the account the project belongs to is large enough.
Otherwise, software development manager needs to decide the format of communication e.g. PowerPoint presentations moments of meetings, conf calls, or emails etc and weigh each of the means...
Too true that it’s much easier to mitigate the risk than to deal with its consequences and clean up the mess. A seasoned professional with years of experience managing software development projects would be able to foresee the coming tidal waves and be aware of the ways to deal with associated risks.
How can a risk be calculated? I know that’s what you’re thinking, but with a careful evaluation of possible threats and opportunities, detailed mitigation tools and techniques in place, a software development manager will be able to plan for an effective risk response and deal with the arising challenges.
Last but not least, additional responsibility of a project manager is taking care of managing third-parties that somehow add value to the project. Sometimes, without certain programs or supplies, the project might go south, so the idea behind procurement is to handle vendor management throughout the project. This might include studying, managing as well as drafting contracts with the legal department.
As you can see, there’s a lot coming to a plate of a regular project manager who’s been assigned a software development project. Being able to leverage technical expertise and leadership skills is the key to the role.