Career Tips For IT Professionals - IT Project Manager
What are the three top skills for a successful IT Project Manager?
There is more than one good answer to this question. You should prepare your answer as this can be one of the questions that will come up in your next interview. And yes, it depends on the type of position you are applying for. A few considerations when preparing your answer: Is the position client facing? Is it part of a PMO or Delivery organization? What is the team size, structure and location? (e.g. global matrix structured team vs. co-located). Continue reading to learn about the top common skills companies look for when searching for an IT Project Manager.
The following are top three skills commonly expected from high performing IT project managers:
1) Ability to translate vision and business strategy into a successful project plan
2) Ability to remove blockers and impediments
3) Ability to connect and drive cross functional teams
1) Ability to translate vision and business strategy into a successful project plan - successful IT project managers possess the ability to bridge between business and technology. They work to understand business strategy and goals, what are the business problems that the project will solve and what will be the project benefits (e.g. revenue increase, operational cost saving, improved quality and customer satisfaction).
A good project plan should deliver results that correspond to business objectives and projected project benefits. Consider including the following steps:
a) Breakdown project scope into workstreams and develop level-1 plan that outlines project phases, work packages and key milestones
b)Review level-1 plan with impacted teams, identify deliverables and owners, develop detailed tasks and dependencies.
c) Identify and solve resources conflicts and optimize project schedule.
d) Obtain commitment from impacted teams and communicate plan to key stakeholders.
2) Ability to remove blockers and impediments – a good project plan will help to minimize unexpected issues during the project lifecycle, yet, a big portion of an IT project manager's time is expected to be spent on issues identification, analysis and driving team to resolution. Project managers should be ready to provide examples of where the project went off track, and what they have done to bring it back on-track. For example, an unplanned task that impacts project schedule was identified during project execution, describe what actions were taken to minimize the impact (for example using a fast-tracking schedule technique, streamlining operational processes, or re-planning project activities to deliver incremental value faster to customers)
3) Ability to connect and drive cross functional teams – large scale IT projects can involve multiple technical teams, business stakeholders and vendors which can be located in different global regions , bringing communication challenges and time constraints. Project managers should be prepared to describe situations where they used their leadership and interpersonal skills to effectively communicate projects tasks, deliverables and issues and to drive cross functional teams to deliver project results.
Overall, the skills that you highlight in your resume or during an interview should resonate with your experience and your ability to provide tangible examples of success stories.
Looking for more tips on how to optimize your IT Project Manager career documents (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile)? Check out our IT Project Manager Role-in-Review blog article for targeted insights and career tips driven by IT industry demand.
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