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Life as a project manager

As organisations become increasingly reliant on technology, IT departments are responsible for bigger and bigger budgets to role out new projects. The professionals tasked with managing these large projects are IT project managers. Here we look at the finer details of the role and the skills required to succeed.

What does an IT project manager do?

Technology and systems often need upgrades and improvements due to the rapid changes that happen in the IT space. This is where a project manager comes in. An IT project manager is basically the person who manages the timeline and budget of an information technology project to ensure that implementation is seamless.

How much can I earn?

Salaries vary depending on the type of organisation that you work for. However, our salary survey shows that a project manager can expect a basic salary of $560k-1.5m in a permanent role and $45-120k per month for contract roles, depending on experience.

Variety of work on offer

A project manager’s role is hugely varied. Some projects are small and may only take a week, while some large scale projects can take months or even years. The project manager is fundamental to the successful delivery of the project and will be responsible for a wide range of tasks, such as:

  • assembling project plans and teamwork assignments, identifying resource needs and escalating any issues appropriately
  • preparing the business case for the project and showing the business impact of the project in terms of costs, savings, revenues and benefits
  • tracking key project milestones and adjusting project plans to meet the needs of the business
  • managing budgets and timescales effectively
  • building strong working relationships with all key stakeholders
  • coordinating effective communication with all stakeholders throughout the process
  • ensuring an excellent understanding of the project at hand and the priorities of the business units affected by any change
     

Relationships are key

A large proportion of the role is focused on managing people. As a project manager, your ability to build and manage relationships at all levels is fundamental to success and you will often face conflicting demands from different business areas. Strong interpersonal skills are therefore critical for those looking to make a career in this area. You should also show a flair for people management and good leadership skills.

An IT project manager is basically the person who manages the timeline and budget of an information technology project to ensure that implementation is seamless

 

What personal qualities are required?

Most employers will look for someone who is a natural organiser and displays excellent time management and prioritisation skills. Problem solving, the ability to operate under pressure and deliver to demanding deadlines are also attributes that are required. Strong communication skills are a must, as is a consultative approach coupled with a can-do attitude.

Is a project manager role right for me?

Project management can be extremely challenging and demanding at times, but can also be very rewarding. For individuals who are exceptionally well organised, enjoy being able to see a solution working well and knowing that they were part of something that has ultimately improved the business, this is a great career choice.

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