The Project Manager (PM) position is often eyed with doubt – do I really need to have one on the development team of my software project? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’, you need one, and here we’re going to show you why. The best way to explain? An interview with Martin Fantini.

Meet Martin, Our Indispensable PM

Meet Martin Fantini. He’s a 34 year-old cinema lover who enjoys playing football and spending time with his friends. He’s also a Project Manager at Making Sense. Without him, we’d have a much harder time of making our projects come to fruition.

Martin started out as a fullstack developer, completing an internship with a tech company while he was still studying. Over the years, he has played different roles and assumed more responsibilities within the tech field. Then, in 2009, he joined us here at Making Sense. And here’s some colourful data: he has a twin brother who works at Making Sense as well!

Here’s our interview with Martin.

How long have you been a PM?

I started working at Making Sense as a Senior Developer. Eventually, I was given the opportunity to start working on bigger projects and started performing as a Technical Leader. By the end of 2013, I moved into the position of PM. This was an exciting challenge for me since it was something that I had always wanted in my career. Needless to say, I felt very happy when I took on this new role.

Why is Project Management important?

One of the greatest advantages of involving a PM in a software development project is that they help the team with that all-important goal of meeting our partner’s expectations.

That’s easy to say but you might be wondering how exactly they go about making that happen. Here’s how I see it…

Serving as the contact point for the partner, a PM ensures that everyone is on the same page by organizing the team according to the needs of the project. I like to pay attention to any situation that may impact the ‘triangle’ of constraints, where we strive to deliver the product…

  1. On time
  2. Within budget
  3. Within scope

… and what we’re constantly shooting for is perfect balance within that triangle. The transparency of these constraints keeps a good relationship of trust with our partner and it help you make the best decisions and trade-offs to reach the business goals.

In other words, Project Management is important because it ensures what is being delivered is not only right, but also that it delivers real value against the business opportunity.

What skills should a PM have?

I think that there are so many skills we should have. But if I had to narrow it down to just a few, the following stand out:

  1. effective communication
  2. priority management
  3. leadership

Communication. Effective communication is essential because we bring leadership and direction to projects. It is very important to create as much visibility as possible. Project Management ensures risks are properly managed and mitigated before they become serious issues.

Priorities. In addition, a PM should possess the stellar ability to keep the team focus on the right priority in each project stage. That means having clear objectives to execute toward fulfilling strategic goals. When needed, we have to refocus on the project’s objectives, so being flexible is a must in order to adapt to the new changes.

Leadership. Finally, Project management provides leadership and vision, motivation, removing barriers, coaching and inspiring the team to do their best work.

It is especially important to manage conflict situations. Teams involve so many components, from technical to personal to organizational. The PM has to keep everyone aligned, so you have to know how to deal with all of it. This last skill is very important since conflict is something that happens all too frequently.

What do you like most about being a PM?

I would say that the versatility is what keeps me going in this role. Every single project represents a different challenge. As a PM you are rarely assigned to just one project. You could be heading several teams at the same time. This provides me the added benefit of getting involved in a variety of industries and responsibilities while doing what I like the most.

A Final Word

Lots to think about, right? Here at Making Sense, we strongly believe that without PMs involved in our development teams, we expose both our partner and the team to all kinds of risk. What does that risk look like? Chaotic performance. Lack of clear objectives. Poor quality products. Over-priced projects.

Great project management matters. For us, it’s always been the path to success. PMs care about having a motivated team, a team that knows what to do and why they are doing it. And that’s how you end up with successful projects that deliver real return on investment.

Wanna know more about our Project Managers? Here we share two posts about these women in tech: Silvia and Jennifer, meet them!