What Does an IT Project Manager Do?

IT Project ManagementThe information technology (IT) industry offers some of the most diverse career options in the job market today, and many aspiring IT professionals investigate what an IT project manager does. The field of IT is widely known for its fast paced innovations that help both business customers and end users operate more efficiently. The industry is also replete with talented developers and engineers whose employers compete to improve quality, enhance features and quicken the performance of IT products, tools and services that are already on the market. The companies that consistently beat out the competition are the ones that have skilled IT project managers at the helm of their projects. Here are a few of the duties of IT project managers that help IT firms to maintain their competitive advantages.

Manage Cost

All viable business projects have budgets based on estimated costs of delivering products or services within time constraints and performance parameters. For example, projects that require time extensions cost IT companies extra labor fees, and ones that do not deliver agreed upon performance features can cost IT firms even more than money. IT project managers are responsible for managing the tangible and intangible costs of delivering IT projects to users. The main ways that these IT leaders keep costs under control are by conducting frequent budgetary forecasts and employing good communication skills with their teams. Modern project management tools allow managers to pinpoint areas of potential fiscal overruns, and these team leaders can then publish this information to their teams so that cost risks can be mitigated early.

Maintain Project Schedule

Key parts of a IT project manager’s job are developing and maintaining a schedule for their project’s activities, according to PayScale. Documenting a schedule helps the project team and its stakeholders to identify the major milestones that the project must meet and the sequenced activities that are needed to meet the milestones. Carefully monitoring the schedule allows project managers to assess shortages and surpluses of resources for each activity so that necessary reallocations can be made early. Developing a schedule that identifies critical path activities can also alert project managers of risks to essential milestone events caused by schedule delays. While project management scheduling software packages are abundant and very useful, it is the experience and skills of the project manager that are most credited with on time product and service deliveries.

Deliver Expected Performance

Most IT firms consider IT projects unsuccessful if they do not meet customer expectations; delivering a product or service that does not meet contracted requirements for functionality is nothing short of detrimental to firms’ brands as well as budgets. Managing product or service scope and client expectations are the key activities conducted by IT project managers to deliver expected product or service performance. Scope management involves considerable planning and communication skills by the IT project manager. They usually must establish environments where customers can evaluate development progress and mechanisms that allow changes to performance specifications. IT project managers also must communicate with their senior leaders, customers and legal teams about proposed changes that could impact the project’s contractual terms.

Related Resource: Master’s in Computer Science


IT project managers usually have years of project experience as assistant project managers, and they also possess a unique education combination that includes the disciplines of IT and business. Earning project management certifications through organizations like the Project Management Institute is also popular for managers who want to hone their skills and gain valuable credentials. Business professionals often find that answering the question of what an IT project manager does enables them to better understand how to become one.