Career & development paths in IT project management

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Jakub Ciupiński

Today, digital product design in the IT industry is a complex and complicated process involving dozens of specialists from different fields. Copywriters, UX designers, developers, or even client's order specialists - someone has to tame all these people and lead the entire project from concept to publication. That bad guy is the project manager.

It's a challenging job, but, as in any profession, after some time in a PM's work, fatigue, routine and the desire to acquire new knowledge can set in. What then? Many PMs look for another job or ask to change projects. However, more software houses and companies, including Speednet, are offering their IT specialists innovative development paths that will open up entirely new opportunities.

More and broader IT knowledge within the right budget + experience and practice = a satisfied project manager who will stay with the organization for a long time. Sounds pretty easy, but how to implement it in your company?

IT project manager - skills and special qualities

Let's start with what foundations should be included in the portfolio of skills and qualities of any good project manager. In a nutshell, this list includes:

  • a strategic approach to completing tasks and enforcing concrete results from colleagues,
  • the ability to explain even complex issues in simple terms and educate colleagues or client representatives about them,
  • proficient use of project management tools,
  • negotiation skills, 
  • a positive attitude towards other people,
  • a sense of responsibility for the tasks at hand,
  • passion and an open mind to new technologies, tools, or solutions.

IT project manager - career and development paths

Of course, this is just the beginning of a list of needs and expectations, but it's a great starting point. How do we reinforce these attitudes and skills? How to bring them out from somewhere deep in the personalities and experience of project managers in the organization? The answer is specific development and career paths in IT. Three of them, the key to the development of PMs are:

Project management methodologies

Today it's hard to imagine a software house or any technology company that doesn't use Agile or Scrum in its daily work. And yet there are still plenty of IT professionals who are superficially and only narrowly familiar with them. A comprehensive series of training courses in various project management methodologies can both project managers and the entire organization broaden their horizons and open up the team to larger projects. And execute the current ones much more efficiently.

The list of available trainings and certifications for Project Managers is long. Among the most valuable ones are the PRINCE 2 certification, awarded by the Association Project Management (APM), certifications of various levels awarded by IPMA (International Project Management Association) or the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Certification is not only a confirmation of a project manager's skills to a prospective employer, it is also an assurance to the client that their project is in good hands. Our project managers can take advantage of a choice of certification training courses within the company's training budget. 

Business analysis

The PM should feel and understand the value to the client's business of the solution created by his development team. It's good if he or she can go outside the box and suggest additional functionality, hints, based on observed trends, what is missing from the client's concept, or spot opportunities worth exploiting when designing a tool, application, or website. Of course, in most projects, requirements gathering and verification is the main task of the analyst, but analytical skills in a project manager are also incredibly important and have an impact on the smooth execution of the project. Understanding the client's business needs allows you to efficiently decompose and prioritize tasks, improves communication with the development team, and makes it easier to stick to the project schedule. Certainly, the future recipient of the invoice will appreciate such a business approach and involvement.

Effective communication

The role of a project manager in no way resembles the stereotypical image of an "IT specialist", locked away somewhere in the abyss of his home office and coding another line late into the night. PM is a character who should infect other team members with his energy and creativity. This is the person who will be an efficient and effective liaison and provider of the necessary information to all corners of the project. That is why he must know communication, master "soft" interpersonal skills, and enjoy working with people. This path is an investment in the soul and character of the entire organization for years to come. In a nutshell: cool people on the inside will bring top people from the outside into the company.

Project manager at Speednet - a good plan?

Glass ceiling unbreakable in your work? We know how frustrating it is for each of us. That's why at Speednet we have carefully developed 3 career paths for project managers to develop their skills from junior to senior in a specific specialty. No boredom and fatigue with the same tasks, a wide spectrum of interesting educational opportunities, a special training budget, a project management knowledge base, and above all, carefully selected development programs - all this makes our PMs want to stay at Speednet for years.

Our team of project managers currently consists of 10 people. Each of them has a rich portfolio of conducted projects and an individual professional history. We have worked for clients from different industries and countries, implemented projects in agile and traditional methodologies, in time&material or fixed price models. On a daily basis, we share our knowledge and experience within the team, this allows us to respond even better to the needs of clients and develop our managerial competencies.  

Sound like something for you? If so, check out our current job offers for PMs on our "Careers" page - even if we are currently not actively recruiting, send us your resume and project portfolio. We may just get back to you and you may join #TeamSpeednet!