When starting a new project with an outsourcing company, such as Svitla Systems, clients often hear a recommendation to hire a Project Manager at least for the first few weeks. And while the outsourcing company has no doubts about this recommendation, this proposition often raises some questions and concerns on clients’ site.
Why does an outsourcing company insist on bringing in one more team member? What will be his/her responsibilities? How long will he/she stay on the project? Can we do the project without him/her? We already have a PM on our (clients’) side, what the hell this dude is going to do?
Here at Svitla Systems, we try our best to make our work very transparent. So we want to explain why we think hiring a PM at the beginning of a project is a worthy idea and why believe that a Project Manager is as important in software development as a musical director in any orchestra band.
Setting up an effective communication between customer and dev team
First few weeks of any project are crucial. And setting up an effective communication process among all members, making sure everyone is on the same page, is one of the most important tasks. While a Team Leader is often focused on technical aspects of the project, a Project Manager helps a team to understand what business needs a client wants to achieve. Thus, the PM helps both teams to adapt to each other and understand everyone’s expectations. After communication between a customer and a dev team is well-established, and development process is running smoothly, the role of PM can then be shifted to a supervisor, where he/she helps Team Leads and a customer when needed.
Team Lead function and supervision
Another well-established practice takes place when a development team does not have a Team Leader at all. In those cases, clients works directly with development teams. However, projects with over three developers or several dev teams may require a Project Manager’s supervision on general progress, making sure clients stay happy with Svitla teams’ results. So PM will be in charge of transferring tasks to all team members and communicating with the customer. Thus, the customer will be freed from the necessity to control separate developers independently and will be able to focus on a product as a whole and its business aspects.
As a rule, a Project Manager possesses strong leadership and communication skills to perform effective team management. That is why a PM may train other developers to become future Team Leads. Sometimes, a Senior Developer needs to take on Team Leader functions, in this case PM helps him grow professionally, improve his/her communication and management skills. It usually takes no longer than a month for a PM to coach an effective Team Leader for a project.
Being the customer’s right hand
There are different types of customers in the outsourcing industry. It is great if a customer has a technical person on his site, but if he does not, then there is hardly any person, who gets closer to the customer than a PM, who can translate the technical language of engineers into the business language of a customer and vice versa. The PM can explain to the customer all organizational principles and reporting systems used in IT to avoid misunderstanding and conflict situations.
Statistics and risk management
Experienced Project Manager is in charge of accounting risks, terms, and project deadlines. The ability to prioritize, identify weak spots, and reassign efforts in the process makes a PM an important decision-maker and adviser. The project failure risks are very low if a PM is assigned; moreover, there is hardly any need for a PM to stay longer than it is necessary. In most cases, one month of a PM’s work is enough to set things right. The role of the Project Manager brings more benefits than losses; in fact, a PM is focused on the success of your company and knows how to kick start the development process on the spot.
August 08, 2016