Software creation projects usually have a tangible and measurable added value: the output itself, usually related to the work of developers, quality experts or UX designers. However, behind the success of a deliverable, there is the often-invisible hand of the Project Manager (PM).
In turbulent economic contexts such as the current one, where software investments are seen through a magnifying lens for their potential benefits and return, and where meager budgets continue to be cut down, the PM’s role gains more significance.
The PM is mainly concerned with aspects that usually have a direct impact on the project budget. From the very beginning, the PM takes care of lowering the natural levels of uncertainty and “translating” them into concrete plans and risk management strategies.
Time, form, and scope
From the very beginning, the PM is responsible for ensuring that the project is delivered on time, form and within the agreed scope. To that end, the PM strives to keep the team´s cohesiveness, coordinate the iterations so that each job is done and finished timely, verify that all the gears that make up your project are in the right place or allow the communication to flow smoothly between the team and the client to resolve differences, obstacles or deviations whenever they arise.
Who are the best people for a given project? What is the exact level of seniority required for a particular development? These are other questions linked to the PM’s role. The PM also deals with tougher aspects of financial management, including approving vacations or days off or leave replacements, monitoring hours used against the original budget, or analyzing contractual clauses to check that everything is being done according to schedule.
Watching every penny
By being on the day-to-day running of the project, you can detect, for example, a surplus of money that could be applied to adding more people and speeding up project times, or to adding features. It also identifies at an early stage potential shortfalls, accounting for every penny spent.
The PM works with the client closely and transparently to detect eventual deviations in the development process and warn proactively about potential conflicts that could have a negative impact on the budget. The keyword to make this process flow is “trust“.
The more real, truthful, and data-driven the information the client receives, the greater the added value the PM brings thanks to his “sixth sense” to identify potential improvements or new monetization opportunities for the product, the greater the client’s willingness to allow him to watch over the product being created and, ultimately, over his own income.
The risks of not having a PM
Seen from the opposite angle, the absence of a PM in a development project entails many risks: uncontrolled deviations of time or budget, poorly assigned human resources, lack of team coordination, processes not in line with the reality and needs of the project, workflow issues that went undetected because everyone was too busy taking care of their own job…
Many times, each team member sees his “tree” and stops at a specific obstacle, dedicating time and effort, which might not be relevant to the final objective. The PM looks at the “forest” and provides the understanding and guidance to focus on what is really important.
Are we developing our business in an uncertain macroeconomic scenario? Then nothing better than having a PM in our software development projects. They will watch over the budget and the quality of the product and will consolidate themselves as the real agents of change.