Building a top-quality software product is always challenging. At least, there are too many processes that require attention and coordination. Therefore, you won’t build a successful application without a person who can manage the IT team and the majority of tasks. That’s when a project manager (PM) comes into action. Whether it goes about an established business or a startup, the role of this person is huge. However, doing project management for app development the right way is not an easy task. That’s why it is vital to understand project management responsibilities and approaches. And that’s when this article will come in handy. Read it to know about the main responsibilities of a project manager, major management stages, the value of PMs in software development outsourcing, and many more.
Project Manager’s Responsibilities
It is evident that software developers work with the code to develop an app. Or that QA specialists run tests to ensure the quality of the developed product. However, the responsibilities of project managers are much less definite. Probably, the point is that their number is truly impressive and a PM’s scope of responsibility depends on the type of the project and its development approach. After all, teams may differ in their structure and the number of employees involved. Here are just the most vital responsibilities handled by project managers in a typical dedicated team.
Here it goes about defining the boundaries of a project by identifying and documenting its deliverables, features, functions, and objectives. A manager gathers requirements, defines the scope, and prepares a scope statement. With this document, all members of the team get a clear understanding of what is included in the project and what is not. It also helps them set expectations and avoid misunderstandings during the active software development stage. And, for sure, a clear understanding of the scope helps with scheduling, which is the next responsibility of a PM.
Scheduling is, by far, one of the most important parts of project management for application development. Its main purpose is planning and organizing time effectively so that all parts of the project will easily meet deadlines. And a project manager is a person responsible for scheduling. In particular, a PM estimates task duration, allocates resources, determines and approves project schedules, schedules meetings, and tracks adherence to the deadlines. If the team is managed remotely, a PM may need to show flexibility and adapt to different time zones.
Organizing the communication
Here’s one more vital responsibility of a project manager. A quality PM should organize team communication, which means creating communication channels and media for exchanging files. Apart from creating various chats, a project manager should also create a dashboard for more efficient task allocation. A well-organized dashboard shall help various employees, even remote ones, communicate and distribute responsibilities more efficiently. It is also important to mention online meetings that help team members see each other and have “live mode” communication.
Here’s one more area of responsibility for a project manager. A PM is required to handle project documentation, which is often confidential. That’s why strong security awareness is mandatory for management specialists. As for other practical aspects of this task, a PM should determine documentation requirements, create a documentation plan, assign document responsibilities, create a document repository, and handle documentation updates and monitoring. The more organized the project documentation, the smoother the active development and deployment.
Each software development project involves particular risks, and a PM should be aware of these risks and ready to handle them. Through communication and research, he or she should identify project risks and assess their potential impact. Other steps involve communicating the risks to team members and developing risk response and risk mitigation strategies. For example, if there’s a threat of database inconsistencies during data migration, a PM should ask DB specialists to develop a corresponding database transformation mechanism. Finally, when all these steps are handled, a manager is responsible for risk response monitoring.
Project Management for App Development Process
Now, it’s time to look at the PM’s responsibilities in the context of a traditional software development process. A specialist in project management for app development supervises literally all stages of this process. And, as many experts say, there’s no bigger challenge in software development than changing a project manager when a particular project is already “on the run.” A manager should quickly understand the requirements and familiarize oneself with the requirements. That’s why a PM should remain the most consistent part of almost any software development lifecycle (SDLC).
1. Planning and analysis
That’s when a PM works with stakeholders to define project goals, identify requirements, and develop a project plan. This phase also includes a deliberate analysis of project requirements and specifications. Also, a project manager should handle such tasks as feasibility studies, risk assessment, and identification of potential challenges and opportunities. A manager creates documentation and, possibly, guides that help the team work properly. This stage is also a good time for developing a roadmap, which is a step-by-step approach to mapping out the product development flow.
That’s when a PM works with the development team to create a perfect UI/UX design for the software. A PM may also oversee the development of prototypes and conduct user testing to validate the design. This stage also involves the validation of wireframes and design layout planning. In most cases, designers will handle everything. A manager’s responsibility is to familiarize them with the requirements, such as style and branding needs. Later, a PM should observe all the basic milestones of software design development. Once the design is completed, a manager should validate it.
That’s when the application is, actually, developed. A project manager manages software engineers as they write the code and implement the features of the app. The main responsibilities of a project manager at this stage include scheduling meetings, overseeing the completion of tasks, and providing the developers with feedback. In addition, a project manager should be cost-aware. This means that he or she should track whether the team manages to stay within the customer’s budget. If there are any issues, a project manager should communicate them to the customer.
This stage is all about managing the team of quality assurance specialists. A project manager should oversee the testing process and communicate project demands to the QA team. The next step is validating the results of all testing stages. Whether it goes about manual or automation testing, a PM should be involved and informed about the results of each test. A project manager is also responsible for storing the basic testing documentation. If everything is done right, the application will be released without any bugs or mistakes disrupting its work.
5. Deployment and maintenance
A PM works with the operations team and manages the process of its deployment. The main leadership responsibilities here include informing all stakeholders about any changes and updates and tracking the deployment milestones. In some cases, a PM densely interacts with the customers in order to help them deploy and promote the application to the market. Once the product is deployed, a PM works closely with the support team. The goal here is to supervise app optimization and upgrade. Besides, this stage is all about detecting various bugs and fixing them before they impact the end user.
How to Manage a Software Development Project Remotely
The role of a PM becomes even more critical in remote software development teams peculiar to offshore models. Here it goes about a broad use of project management software for app development and cooperation with employees from all around the world. This can imply workers with different mentalities, time zones, and approaches. In such conditions, a remote team PM should be:
- Flexible in terms of working hours and leadership approaches;
- Skilled in communication;
- Experienced enough to evaluate specialists without knowing them in person;
- Skilled in performance monitoring;
- Proficient in scheduling and team building.
Although managing a software development team is not an easy task, an experienced remote PM certainly knows tips and tricks for such situations. Usually, these tricks and their understanding come with practical experience.
App Development Project Management and Communication Frameworks
A PMI survey reveals that 30% of employees view poor communication as the primary reason for project failures. That’s why establishing the right communication framework is the primary task for a project manager. A universal way that has been repeatedly tried in practice includes developing a communication plan. This plan should include the following:
- A contact sheet with specified project roles and contact information of each employee;
- Outline of communication styles for different situations;
- A list of the major discussion topics;
- Schedule of meetings;
- List of non-acceptable communication situations that require special attention;
- Enlisted tasks and reviewers for these tasks.
Regardless of the communication approach that a project manager chooses, this document will help him or her structure the approach. As a result, there will be more constructive and well-organized communication within a team.
It is challenging to find a more responsible IT industry task than project management for app development. This occupation requires solid skills and communication experience. However, even if a PM is a real professional, he or she may find it challenging to work with completely new people. That’s when one of the biggest benefits of a dedicated team model breaks in. This approach means hiring an established team where all members know each other and have well-tuned professional relationships. If you’re searching for exactly such a team, contact us and see how Nearshore Friends will help you handle even the most challenging ideas with the right approach.