Become an IT hero with these project management skills
The IT industry in Malaysia has become more than just the ‘techie stuff’. This growing industry is a competitive space for talent, with plenty of IT professionals racing to reach a project management level role. But while this end goal is the most desired, success in this job requires more than your basic tech skills - you’ve got to a strong leader, in every sense of the word.
A number of factors make project management important to IT professionals, even for hard-core technical specialists, such as:
- The increasing complexity of IT projects.
- The emphasis placed on teamwork and communication skills.
- A heightened need to meet budgets and deadlines.
- The pressure on top executives to deliver results.
Finish deliverables on time
The IT industry is a demanding one, and techies are fully aware of the importance of good project management skills in order to deliver. Today’s unforgiving business environment and competitive landscape means organisational skills are key. The consequences for inefficiency are so severe, than any IT professional worth their salt won’t let things fall out of control.
"We have to demonstrate some basic project/task management ability or someone else will do it for us," says D. Keith Casey Jr., CEO of CaseySoftware. "Currently that could mean outsourcing - offshore or not - or it could mean replacement."
Project management starts with self-management
While team members can rely on project managers to keep the overall project on track, each individual must take responsibility for his own work as it relates to the broader project goals.
"It is essential that everyone on a project team have core project-management skills," says Sid Kemp, author of three books on project management.
"The core of project management is self-management, which leads to highly productive work. With these core skills, each person can define deliverables clearly, estimate their own work time and then deliver on time. Then the entire team can build a realistic project schedule and deliver as promised."
Technical skills are not enough
"Hardly anyone ever says, 'Our software project failed because our developers were technically incapable - if only we had smarter developers who knew their technical stuff,'" says Thomas Myer, author of No Nonsense XML Web Development with PHP. "Most of the time, it comes down to eliciting requirements, communicating status, setting expectations, meeting goals and pushing back on clients who want to keep adding more and more features."
Of course, it's one thing to gain project-management skills and quite another to move into project management.
Kemp suggests following these steps to move into project management:
● Learn to complete your work on time and within budget constraints.
● Gain know-how in formal project-management terms and concepts through organisations like the Project Management Institute.
● Express interest in serving as a team leader in order to demonstrate your abilities in project management.
That's not to say technical skills don't have their place - they do, but alongside project management skills.
You can do your clients a world of good by being a great coder, but you have a much better shot at greatness by being a great project manager and a good coder.
Looking for your perfect IT role? Check out what’s on offer in IT jobs in Malaysia.