There are many important jobs, or roles, involved in managing an IT project. Some are unique to IT projects, while others are similar to other industries. In this article, I will cover – what I feel are – the top four IT project management jobs. They are:
- Project Manager
- Project Task Leaders
- Project Stakeholders
- Relationship Liaisons
The first job is obvious: the Project Manager. This individual should be responsible for the core project management responsibilities including:
- Team Leadership
These are the traditional responsibilities of a Project Manager in any industry. If an individual has the more specific IT project management job, they may also be responsible for technology update management throughout the project lifecycle; however, this is often a post project task.
The second project management job would be that of a Project Task Leader. You might think of this individual as a mini-project manager within the scope of a single project task. These tasks will usually be larger tasks, or task groupings. The Task Leader is responsible for the technical details of how the task will be completed and, if working alone, the actual completion of the task. When working with others, the Task Leader is also responsible for coordinating the work among the task workers.
You might feel awkward thinking of a Project Stakeholder as having an IT project management job, but they do play a key role in the project. The Project Stakeholder(s) must take responsibility for openly communicating with the Project Manager on any issues that will impact the quality, budget, schedule or scope of the project. While the Project Manager should have exceptional communication skills, the Project Stakeholder must also take responsibility to communicate openly and honestly.
The final of the four IT project management jobs I'll specify is that of Relationship Liaison. The Relationship Liaison role is often played by the Project Manager as part of communications management. However, when you are working on mission critical projects and have many departments to serve, it is often more efficient to assign a Relationship Liaison to each department and have these individuals communicate back with the Project Manager.
In this scenario, you would not expect that the Project Manager never speaks with the department heads and users, but the majority of communications will take place through the channels of the Relationship Liaisons. This reduces time consumption for the Project Manager and, in many cases, will actually provide a greater feeling of involvement for the various departments.
When do you consider these and other project management jobs? I would suggest considering the various roles at the beginning and throughout the project. In others words, you'll start your project with assigned roles and responsibilities, however, things can change and you may have to create a new role (like a Relationship Liaison) in the middle of your project. This is the simple reality of the project management world.