Project Management, PMP, IT Project Management

5 Tips for Transitioning Managers in the World of IT

Previously Published to Medium.

Let’s face it, technology has rapidly changed the way we do business — and markets, themselves, are shifting in a major way. We’re seeing steady progression across an entire industry and are taking on higher-paying opportunities in sectors that we never thought we would be. Managers are entering into new markets, as the realm of technology continues to evolve before our very eyes.

We demand innovation and watch it transform on a daily basis. Technologies broaden, but the markets haven’t been nearly as kind. Most agencies are understaffed and roles unfulfilled.

We’re seeing those with no formal education compete against MIT graduates. Project managers are stepping up, some of whom have never spent a single day behind the scenes. We’re seeing interns become directors and start-ups popping up all over the country. More people are working remotely, and central offices are no longer commonplace.

The workforce has become global, and we have begun to control our teams at a distance. We have more power than we ever did, and the possibilities are now endless.

With more opportunities in our hands, all it takes is a little bit of ambition and a simple roadmap to get you where you need to be. Let us help position you on your journey with these five tips for transitioning into IT project management — and ultimately, the transition to success!

#1 | Define your scope, build teams accordingly.

Before defining your scope, you will want to pay attention to your client’s business-related needs and objectives. This will include budget and resource availability, critical timelines and expectations. Your scope will give you a solid foundation to build upon and help you better identify the teams you will need to hire to get the job done both effectively and within a timely manner.

Identify your ideal team members, including areas of specialization, level of skill and how they will interact with one another.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you need them on-site, or can they work remotely?
  • How many people can you hire, and will you need to train them?
  • Will you need to hire an outsourcing agency, or are you going to recruit each member directly?

#2 | Schedule teams based on need, availability and areas of expertise.

Once your scope has been mapped out and your teams have been built, you will begin scheduling each member, as according to need, availability and area of expertise. You should pay special attention to the previous achievements and contributions made to other projects that they have worked on in the past.

Find common ground. Where previous contributions were with companies much larger or smaller than your own, translate scalability and decide whether those team members are capable of handling the tasks that you throw at them. Are they able to streamline daily tasks with speed, agility and a certain level of specialization?

Before positioning each team member, ask yourself how they will measure up against:

  • Technical, leadership and/or managerial capabilities.
  • roductivity, performance and/or efficiency, both as a team or on an individual basis.
  • Dependability, resourcefulness and the customer experience.

#3 | How will your teams interact? Pay attention to interdisciplinary communication.

As you may already know, teams work differently, based on the admixture of personalities types, therein. This is where predictive hiring, behavioral analysis, networking and cultivated relationships can come in very handy for a project manager, regardless of industry.

If you have too many influencers on your team, who will plan and analyze? If there are too many leaders, who will handle administration and ensure compliances? Pairing teams, based on personality type, will allow each team to thrive, while encouraging personal growth and individual commitment.

Friction often leads projects to fail, underperform or fall short of expectation. This often happens when the team dynamic is overlooked and communication falters. On the contrary, teams matched based on personality, prove more productive, as they tend to exceed expectation for quality, turnaround and the overall customer experience.

#4 | Optimize your workforce, define the strengths and weaknesses of new and existing team members.

Similar to pairing based on personality types, we also find that one path to success may actually come from optimizing the workforce, directly. In optimizing the workforce, we look for certain factors or KPIs that will allow us to measure individual contributions and/or takeaways, such as:

· Behaviors in certain environments.

· Reactions to stress or actions under pressure.

· Individual strengths.

· Weaknesses amongst the team, itself.

These points will be indicators that someone is or isn’t a good fit for a particular project. While we can always develop strengths in an individual, sometimes time is a vital factor. Adding new teams would offset those members, who would not otherwise live up to certain expectations — or the skill level, necessary, to carry out individual tasks or timelines, as associated with each project.

Pairing teams, based on personality type, will continue a major hand in the success of each project or client portfolio. However, strengths can be drawn from those individual aspects and used as additional indicators of key personality types we need to recruit in optimizing the workforce, directly.

#5 | Understand missed opportunities in the hiring cycle.

We face many roadblocks, as project managers, when it comes to hiring qualified talents for key projects within our portfolio. These roadblocks almost seem counterproductive from the start of each project and in the development of our teams, over time. We rush hiring processes to meet deadlines and in catering to dependencies across entire lifecycles, therein.

Due to the lack of efficient manpower, budget shortages and the fulfillment of outside obligations, the hiring process is often one of the first processes to be shortchanged at the onset of each project. And because we ultimately must juggle each project on an individual basis, we can’t spend a whole lot of time in the recruiting, training, interviewing and onboarding of incoming talents. We end up relying too much on our immediate networks, career sites and job boards to provide us with the talent we need to get the job done.

To make matters worse, most of these resources will then rely on ATS engines to provide us with a pool of qualified talents, who we must then interview, develop and onboard accordingly. ATS engines, however, will only provide us with those candidates who meet certain criteria and have found a way through key algorithms. Up to 75% of today’s top talents will actually never be seen.

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