How should a great Project Manager work? United Ideas’ example.

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Project Manager (or PM) is an important person in every developers’ team and software company, but their position may sound mysterious for people who haven’t worked with them yet. In this article, you will learn who PM is and what they should do to be called great.

What are the responsibilities of the Project Manager?

The Project Manager is a person who leads the development of a particular project – for example, an app. The responsibilities of PM may differ in various companies. In United Ideas, we believe that the Project Manager is both a part of our partner’s team and our developer’s team.  

We can divide their responsibilities between 2 sides.

1. Developer’s team side.

From the team’s side, PM is responsible for delivering the product and budget. They organize the whole team and help them move on the project and get through all the obstacles. They also prepare all of the reports and other necessary documents.

2. Customer’s side

The final product has to suit the customer. We don’t just fulfill the specifications and finish the work. Instead, we help the customer reach their business goals and create something they would be happy with. 

PM connects the developer’s team and takes the pressure of checking on the team and management from the customer’s shoulders. Their job is to meet the sales and product goals.

Before we start work, customer has to know us and their project fully.

The client needs to get to know our developers first. Thanks to that, they have in mind that on the other side, there’s always a human, not some kind of robot, that works for them.

When they meet, they can set all of the conditions on how they work, etc. It’s also easier to communicate afterward. When we have already met, we start digging into the customer’s project. 

Preparations for the project – story mapping workshop with the client.

For us, it’s not enough to just receive the expectations, say it will be 100 hours of work, then realize it might not be enough for a good product. So we introduced story mapping workshops with our clients to help everyone understand what might be necessary, offer some advice based on our experience, improve their idea, and create the best product possible.

How does it work?

We meet with the client and start a conversation. Every person has their role. PM is the facilitator – they make sure that the discussion sticks to the schedule and goes smoothly. 

In the meantime, developers with the customer go step by step through the project and talk about possible holes and barriers. Thanks to this process, in the end, they can realistically estimate the price of a project, which is an excellent value for the client!

The most crucial task of the Project Manager is to maintain good relations. 

In United Ideas, we think that the main task of PM is to maintain a good relationship between the company, team, and the customer. It helps in multiple situations, especially emergency ones. 

For meeting PM, prepares a report of hours worked, the percentage of tasks done, how many tasks were done in time, etc. But discussing the details is the developers’ job.

During the meeting, they present what has been done and what hasn’t, they might escalate on that if necessary. 

They are the people responsible for any errors in the processes and are responsible for coming up with a solution together with a client.

PM is only a guardian angel of the process that sets up calls, maintains a good relationship, is the contact person for both sides, and checks if everything is being done as it was determined.

How Project Manager oversees the work?

PM organizes dailies to learn about internal and external blockers that have occurred lately, talk about what has been done and what they will do in the upcoming day. Thanks to it, PM can ask a specific developer or client about those blockers to get rid of them quickly and move on.

But it doesn’t happen in a meeting with everyone to save time. Instead, each person just sends those things straight to PM. What’s more, once a week or two weeks, PM organizes a retro meeting, where the team talks about the goals that have been achieved.

Then PM leaves the discussion and lets the developers speak without any supervisory about the problems that occurred in the last sprint. They can talk about their mistakes without any stress, and they can be direct to each other. They also can use technical jargon and won’t have to explain it. Afterward, the next sprint starts.

Keep the teams together.

As we have already said, we think that relations are significant for efficient cooperation. That’s why we also put effort into maintaining good relationships inside our team. 

To do that, for example, we try to keep developers’ teams together, not change them for every project. This way, they can work out their systems and how do they prefer to work together, they work as a team, not as a group of random people.

We used this method, for example, in Piesotto’s project. This way, they already knew how to work with each other and didn’t need time to adjust to starting working immediately.

That’s only a few of the aspects of the work of a PM and what they should do to be called great. There’s much more to it, but we couldn’t fit everything in one post, so wait for more articles about PM’s work and tips on how to do that efficiently.

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