Operating a business in today’s high technical environment is challenging for both large and small businesses. Since the needs of a company can change drastically on an ongoing basis, a wide range of business systems are being developed all the time. Due to these changing demands, IT areas are often tasked with designing, coding and implementing new technical solutions for companies with quick delivery deadlines. This means, developers usually have a very small window of time to deploy their assigned projects by a specific date, especially because the dates that have been provided are driven by a wide variety of factors. Many of these may involve changes in the law, changes in operational needs, changes in policies and procedures as well as a large host of varying initiatives.
This reflects the importance for IT management and their staff to understand the need of incorporating project management into their projects instead of simply starting the process of coding the requester’s specifications. Even though the time frames provided may be short, those who jump in prematurely and start writing the code without pre-planning will not only compromise the project’s overall success, but are also more prone to produce a system that is completely unusable. Listed below are some of the top reasons why project management is more important than coding.
- Establishes the Project’s Timeline and Publishes It to Everyone Involved
Attending lots of meetings is normally one of the major drawbacks to incorporating project management into new software developments and enhancements. In fact, according to various resources like Statistical Proof that Project Managers are Useless, companies can save millions of dollars each year in funding useless meetings that eats up productive time in software development. However, as companies struggle to ensure the end results of their software solutions are not only unusable but also more productive for their staff, the amount of time spent in utilizing project management tools can be very beneficial financially. This is because well-planned and thought out software solutions can also reduce the time in manual re-work, system downtown and the potential loss in profits due to dissatisfied customers. Which means, eliminating project management can be much more costly in the long run.
Additionally, in this phase, the project manager is tasked with utilizing all of their resources that they have assigned to them effectively and efficiently. As a result, the software developers that have been assigned to their projects can also support other mission critical systems properly. For instance, when the company has developers on staff that have a diversity of skills and experience, they are often assigned to more than one project or mission critical system at a time. Which means, balancing these projects effectively without compromising the overall scope of each of their duties is more difficult to do and sometimes impossible to do without a plan that is well laid out in advance. To accomplish this part of their duties, the project manager is responsible for identifying all of the details that will required to deliver the project on time. This phase will also supply each team member with a schedule that set target dates for completing each task so everyone will be on the same page at all time. The timeline (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/project-timeline-TC102930043.aspx) that the project manager creates is often directly correlated with the scope of the overall project as well as other software solutions that people are working on in an ongoing capacity.
- Determines and Documents the Scope of each Software Development Request
It is also important to note that some software development projects are much larger than others. Therefore, the systems that the company’s upper management may be requesting could require a year and more in coding alone. Which means, jumping in with the development of the specifications without a plan is like placing the cart before the horse. This is one of the main reasons why most project managers and IT managers can concur that failing to plan is the same as planning to fail.
This being said, one of the first things that the project manager is responsible for is making sure that everyone understands the overall scope of the project. The scope refers to a diversity of factors which includes, but not limited to the overall breadth of the project and how much the project will affect the business and its operations. As some projects may be much bigger than other software development, these managers will be responsible for acquiring more details to accomplish their jobs function effectively. The planning involved will also be much more comprehensive when it is affects more than one operations area of the company at the same time. Therefore, without a project manager being involved in these types of system development, there are normally major gaps in the design and the development since the input from each area is critical to the success of end results and the implementation.
In these and other scenarios, the role of the project manager is to make sure everyone who will be impacted is provided with a project plan and its time line so that they will know what their duties are going forward. From the first meeting to implementation, their role is crucial to the overall success in many different types of enterprise system development solutions. In fact, today’s project managers are strongly encouraged to secure the project management certification that provides the skills and experience needed so that they can be effective in carrying out wide-scale business endeavors. Especially, because these types of business projects normally require careful coordination in order to make sure that there will be a minimal impact on the company’s ongoing operations, sales, production and other essential areas of a business.
- Resources Needed
Another key area that project managers are responsible for is determining how many software developers will be needed in order to complete a project on time. Based on the size and the actual scope of the project, the resources needed can vary greatly from one or two software developers to as much as 10 or more software developers to complete the specifications that each requester has provided. Regardless to the situation or circumstances, to ascertain this information, the role that the project manager plays is pivot to getting this part of the project done accurately and within a specified time. With the skills that they have acquired in the training that they receive, they can provide the information that is needed to anyone who wants to know. From top management to each member of the project team, they are the professionals that can provide the data needed by using the project management tools that they possess.
When developers start coding the specifications without the proper planning, they can compromise entire projects. Additionally, when top management or others of joint interest inquire about their deadlines, the information that they supply may be incorrect. Especially, because the deadlines for these projects may not consider or take into account others in different areas of the company that may need extra time to deliver their parts of the code. In fact, in cases like these, the developers may need to request additional resources in the last hours of the project in order to meet a hard deadline.
- Oversees the Budget
In addition to ensuring the development of the project has the essential number of resources needed to complete the project on time, another important part of a project manager’s responsibility is making sure that the project is funded with the appropriate amount of finances needed to see the project through from start to finish. Which means, the project manager will oversee the budget to make sure the development does not exceed the amount that is allotted. As a general rule, the project manager will also document all of the expenses associated with the project so that can be sent to upper management for approval.
Once the amount has been approved, the amount that is set aside for the budget has to be managed efficiently. In fact, all of the money that has been set aside does not have to be spent, especially if the project manager has superior skills with managing the money properly. On the other hand, if there are elements in the project that changes due to unforeseen events, the project manager can revisit the amount that is needed to complete the project on time. For instance, if the organization that requested the software has expanded the specifications to encompass additional operations in the company, the scope of the project will change along with the amount of money that’s needed to complete it on time. In these circumstances, the project manager may have to hire more developers to join the project team or the team that exists will be allowed to work more time. Whatever the case, delivering the project on time and under budget is assigned to the person that plays this role.
Delivering the project on time is directly tied to the budget that has been approved. Therefore, it is important for the project manager to ensure the project management team adheres to the timeline that's been published. As with any software development project or initiative, however, situations and resources change. So, it is important for the project manager to know and understand how to make the necessary modifications that will protect the budgeted amount that has been allotted. For instance, some of the assigned developers may be out sick for an extended periods of time or they leave the project management team for a new job with another company in the area or out of the city. Therefore, these resources may need to be replaced quickly to meet the deadline. Unfortunately, in these and other circumstances, hiring additional developers to fill in these gaps can be very costly when the project management process is not part of the overall software development process.
This is also one of the main reasons why jumping into coding without structured pre-planning is strongly discouraged. With the scope of the project changing and additional funds needed, developers who are only interested in coding the specifications can easily compromise the success of the project by not being prepared for potential changes in the specifications.
- Good User Experience
Another important reason for ensuring a project manager is included in all new and existing software development projects is protecting the quality of the software systems that's the company deploys. One of the basic keys to providing great software today is focusing on the user's experience and other associated factors that makes the company's software effective and efficient. In order for the user's experience to be good, it is important for the software development team to have enough time embedded in the project timeline to do a thorough job of designing, coding and testing the software that is being developed. By hiring a project manager to oversee the entire process, the quality of the software has a much greater chance of being high in quality and easy to use, specifically so that every user can say that they have a good user experience.
Because good user experience is one of the key focuses going forward in software development today, it is important to note these positions are currently on the rise. According to Project Management Statistical Institute, 15 million new project management jobs are projected to be added within the next decade.
The question is, why project management is more important than coding? Which is, a question that can be asked by anyone who is concerned about getting started with a software development project without these types of skills and expertise. Even though coding the new specifications is the main goal and objective, it should not be done without the proper planning. Since project managers are groomed to take on this role and the associated responsibilities, their job involves closing a diversity of embedded gaps, including make sure software development projects are delivered on time, under the budget and with an exceptional user experience. These are some of the main reasons why both large and small software development projections should not be started without the proper planning. Specifically, professionals who have project management experience and tools that can help to see the project through from its inception to implementation.