Importance of Project Managers in Software Development Projects

When most companies think about software development, they imagine a team of software engineers working diligently to create a software to the needs of their client. While the software engineer is a key member of the overall software development team; creating solutions from the ground-up requires additional support members to ensure that the software is being built efficiently.

To build software efficiently, clients and software development partners need to coordinate product visions and goals with the software development process with supporting roles. One of the most essential, yet overlooked support members of software development is the project manager. While modern management tools may have made communicating priorities easier, these tools lack the ability to make immediate, onsite decisions that secure the proper development of the software.

The Value of a Project Manager

The responsibilities of a project manager cannot be underestimated, especially when the software requirements are complex. They provide agency for stakeholders, maintain smooth development, and monitor the development process to ensure efforts are being utilized appropriately.

Agents to Your Investment

Project managers support the software development process by acting on the interest of the stakeholders – product owners and users. They are the main point of contact, for both the client and the software development team, who hold accountability of the project’s progress and maintain the big picture.

Mitigating Issues

Having agency throughout the software development life cycle provides more than an information pipeline. Project managers are active participants when software development encounters issues – miscommunication, budget constraints, loss of productivity, among other activities that are usually overlooked during planning phases.

Leaving the software development team to manage these issues is time taken away from creating the software. Loss of productivity in one activity can lead to delays in others. For example, if a component comes back from testing and is found to have mounting functionality issues. A project manager needs to take the delays into account to ensure that larger deadlines are being met.

Responsive to Project Scope

Managing the project scope is critical to the success of the software development. It is the project manager’s most important tool in gauging the true progress of the software development team’s efforts, by maximizing resources to accomplish all deliverables and tasks to their deadlines.

Software is rarely developed in a static environment. Advancing technologies, competition, and evolving consumer expectations often lead to adjustments that need to be addressed in the software requirements. Failing to do so may result in scope creep, where components require more work than its allocated resources – time, talent, and budget.

According to research by the Standish Group, the leading reason as to why software development projects fail is due to a lack of details in scope after changes to the software requirements have been made.1 The project manager helps manage change by allocating the proper resources to ensure that development is producing results.

Benefits of Agile-Experienced Project Managers

In modern software development environments, teams and requirements need to be flexible enough to create effective solutions that retain their value. For this reason, it is highly recommended to bring-on a project manager with previous experience in working with the software development team. Software development is a human process, requiring strong communication skills to maintain optimal production through periods of change.

Project Management in Agile Methodologies vs. Traditional methods

Managing change is easier in software development teams who practice Agile methodologies, because the scope is constantly reevaluated at the beginning of each iteration. This creates a natural break where project managers can clearly define the scope and true progress of the software’s development.

Traditional methods like Waterfall don’t have this clean break. Instead, they must slow down production to introduce changes or defer them to future releases. Depending on the urgency of these changes, slowing production or delaying changes may have major consequences to the quality of your software.

Having project managers is key to overseeing the efficiency of software development, by ensuring that optimal progress is being made for the resources invested. These resources are challenged by changes of scope, including a big picture agent in the software development team will help protect the investments made by clients.

Tiempo Development uses Agile methodologies to create high-quality software for clients. We provide a full-suite of software development services to ensure that your software is built with the best talent, techniques, and tools. To learn more about our process in building the most reliable software solutions, read our whitepaper about our Tiempo Quality System.

1. ;Jamal M. “How to define scope on software development projects: functional and non-functional requirements”. BAtimes.