Software Project Manager Job Profile

The software project manager job is a professional leadership role as well as a management job. This can be a particularly complex, demanding position. Software project management involves a lot of different forms of expertise and responsibilities:

  • Software development skills
  • Code writing skills
  • Familiarity with major software and applications
  • Experience in structured software development on a high level
  • Workplace management skills
  • Business management and qualifications
  • Project management
  • Reporting
  • Budget management
  • Project reporting
  • Completion schedules

The Work Environment

Readers please note: We've tried to keep this description as simple as possible, to show a straightforward continuum of project operations.

A software project goes through several phases:

  • Inception
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Implementation

The Inception Stage

Software projects are rarely simple. They're usually task specific, and concerned with creating products which may have multiple functions and levels of operation.

The software project manager is involved from inception in all areas of the project, including:

  • Planning according to specifications and requirements
  • Costing
  • Setting up a schedule for the project
  • Creating a budget
  • Setting up organizational structures including monitoring of project performance
  • Hiring specialists

The Development Stage

Staffing needs illustrate some of the operational management requirements of software projects during development:

  • Expert code writers
  • Systems designers
  • Systems analysts
  • IT engineers
  • Efficient operational norms
  • Issue management

These staff represent the software project's daily functions. A software project will typically involve multiple issues for management at all stages of development, and a lot of problem solving.

The Testing Stage

This is the operational running stage for the new software, and it may involve situations which are also new. Any and all glitches need fixing. The criteria for an operational software product can be very high, and contract based. The software development manager's own expertise is also involved in this area, ensuring product quality and efficiency.

Implementation

At this stage, the product has been tested and is ready to be marketed. However, that's not necessarily the end of the software project manager's role. Patches, user problems and support may also need to be organized. The software project manager typically also has to provide a working schematic for support functions, training for support staff and may be retained on call to provide technical advice.

Salary: Extremely variable, depending on nature of employment, contract, consultancy role and scale of project.

Hours: Nominally business hours. In practice often includes a lot of extra time in briefings, reports, meetings with operational staff, management role work and in some cases technical operations.

The Career Environment

The software project management career dynamic is unlike other forms of project management, because of the extremely broad base of software projects. Scope for career progression is wider and more variable. Major projects are good career credentials, because they include big budgets and large operational parameters which translate well into further management roles.

This career track also includes major opportunities in the consultancy field. Software project management is a highly valued career asset, providing documented proof of areas of expertise. In many cases, a project manager will remain within the network of past projects as the natural consultant in those fields.