In order to deliver successful technology projects, a project manager must be good at much more than just project methods. This, in any case, is our experience.
Itera delivers major IT projects for many of the largest and most demanding organisations in Norway and the Nordic region as a whole. We know a good project manager when we see one. Those who stand out are not only good at project methods, but have other clear qualities as well:
- An interest in innovation
- Strategic and commercial understanding
- Industry knowledge
- Good with people
- An interest in cultural differences
- Open to solving problems in new ways
Basic knowledge: the ability to consider how a project should be completed
In a rapidly evolving industry, project managers have to be able to consider how best to complete each individual project. What project methods are best suited – should we rely on traditional methods, or should we look at new, innovative ways of working?
Adaptability and an interest in innovation.
A project manager needs to be interested in innovation, to keep up-to-date with trends, to be adaptable and to be able to deal with the uncertainty associated with working with new technology and new methods. A project manager also needs to be able to safely navigate this landscape without taking shortcuts or losing focus on each project’s aims and the customer’s requirements.
A discussion partner – both for the customer and the team
Project managers often serve as discussion partners for customers. They attend discussions about solutions and are therefore involved in shaping deliveries and outcomes. The ability to think strategically, strong commercial understanding and knowledge about the customer’s industry are therefore essential to understanding the role that the solution being developed will play in the customer’s overall strategy.
Project managers must also ensure that they clearly communicate this understanding with the whole team so that everyone has a clear understanding of the project’s objective. This helps to create good results and benefits the customer and, not least, the customer’s customer.
A builder of relationships – across disciplines and national borders
A project manager needs to be good at building relationships, at creating a strong team spirit and at motivating teams. A good working environment and collaboration are almost always essential if a project is to succeed. A project manager must therefore be sociable and must respect others and have good interpersonal skills, while also being able to motivate and enthuse people.
At Itera, we often work on hybrid projects, which is to say that some of the team involved in a project will be located in our offices in Kiev or Bratislava while the rest will be in Oslo. Projects where this is the case need a project manager who is interested in and knowledgeable about cultural differences, and who is good at languages and can understand what needs to be considered when some members of the team are located elsewhere.
Openness to innovation
Many of our projects involve developing new solutions for the market, and we gather a lot of feedback from the people who will use the solutions we create. When making use of such feedback, a project manager must question assumptions and try and see the challenge from new angles, and must encourage the team to approach familiar situations in new ways.
At Itera we take an interdisciplinary approach. This means that each project involves employees with different backgrounds from a range of specialist areas. A project manager must ensure everyone is heard and involved and is able to do their best.
More assignments means more new project managers
Itera is growing. It is winning more customers and its projects are becoming larger. We therefore need more new colleagues – including project managers.
To summarise, a good project manager at Itera must be adaptable, interested in innovation, able to think strategically, have good commercial understanding, be good with people, be interested in cultural differences and open to solving problems in new ways.
Is this you?