This will become a first part of Quality series, a series where I will talk about quality about something (in information technology world) from my point of view. I try to be as objective as I can but cannot denied that this series will have many subjective aspects from me.
Now I’d like to talk about quality of a project manager.
Long story short, I have worked under some project managers. However I only have worked with 2 project managers for a long time, and the others are short-terms. The last and current project manager that I’ve worked with for a long term is Mr. Ivan Kristanto (well, his name is better in English). He is the one that makes me want to discuss about a quality of project manager. And within my qualification, he is a good one in my opinion.
Let’s see what can my point of view details about the quality of a project manager.
They need to make decisions for many aspects. If they are inconsistent / indecisive, it will only bring troubles for their subordinates.
Hey need to communicate their plan, strategy and design. To do so they need to have a good communication skill so they can describe those things very well and their subordinates can understand what they mean.
If the company has a solutions architect, this criteria placed for them. However most of the time, project manager is also same with solutions architect itself.
A project manager need to know the current technology and their technical use. The technical knowledge needed to be possessed by project manager does not means the deep down technical details that programmers know. It should only be about the general technical knowledge like web services, batch processing, scheduled job, etc. With these knowledge in their hands, they can decide which approach / design that will be the best for the system.
A project manager is responsible about the project that they are taking charge. They not need to understand the project deep down to technical programming details, It is more into the business flows and rules.Because they are responsible to make plans for changing the project, they need to know what impact will be happen when the change request being applied, is it compatible with the current process, will there need any data conversion, etc. When things get out of control from original planning, the project manager will always be one who will be asked for help. If they don’t know the flow of project deep down, all of us are gonna get into trouble.
Project managers should know how good their workforce are. With knowing how good their workforce, they can make more accurate plans and schedule. They can also know whether one task can be done with their workforce or not. As well as the quality delivered.
In order to ensure a change will break or cause problem in other places, the change should be tested. Usually, there should be several test cases that must be passed to ensure the quality of the change. The responsibility for whether a change will cause problem or break is placed on project manager, so it is logical if the responsible to supervise or review the test results are held by project manager.
They need to make yearly planning and milestones. If things go south, usually they need to re-adjust some of the plan so that the change will not become very different with current plan. Without this ability, the company cannot decide clear goals and at the same time will bring much overworks onto the developer.
I don’t know much about how important for a project manager to manage budget. However, as we all know, they are responsible to handle the upcoming projects, workforce and timeline, as well as the hardware and licenses required. So a direct requirement or not, a project manager will need budgeting ability as well.
Rather than having strong technical skill at computer programming, they need more abilities at the soft side and management skill, while still maintaining their general knowledge about technology. Moreover they also need to understand which projects that they are responsible to, and understand the flow of it.