Managing a mobile app development project is often more challenging than it sounds. There are dozens of things you need to keep track of, including budget and deadlines.
Project managers (PMs) work as a mediator between a customer and development team. These professionals are skilled at planning the development process and managing the project from start to finish.
What Does a Project Manager Do?
- Sets the Direction of the Project
PMs identify the goals as well as the direction of your project. They validate your business idea and identify the problems a software product will solve, what features you need, and other related details. Since the market changes at a blistering pace, your app needs to be released and launched at the right time and in the right sphere. While PMs take care of delivering a project on time, a product owner or a business analyst can help you determine when and how to launch.
- Boosts Efficiency and Productivity
When everything is planned and tasks are properly distributed, a team’s efficiency is doubled or even tripled. PMs control time, schedule work, deal with potential risks, communicate with clients, and manage costs. They’re doing everything to ensure that you’ll get your app on time and without compromising quality.
- Keeps Track of App Development Processes
PMs control every stage of the app development process in order to quickly solve all unexpected issues and make changes without missing deadlines. Lack of control often leads to missed deadlines. But still, there is no place for overcontrol and micromanagement. There’s a fine line to walk.
- Creates Roadmaps
Strategic road-mapping or scheduling is one of the most important things a PM will do. A roadmap is like a schedule with all tasks that need to be completed during a particular sprint. Without a detailed plan, your app development project may come loose at the seams. A good plan is created based on the go to market date, the complexity of each app development stage, and the teams responsible for each stage. The PM creates a roadmap after discussing the app details with the client and developers and then keeps track of the app development processes according to this roadmap.
- Deals with Problems and Manages Risks
Good PMs know how apps are developed and can easily minimize the risks, add valuable insights, and look for the best options for a successful start. And when something needs to be changed or removed, PMs introduce the changes to the team and fit them into the plan without breaking the bank.
Takes Care of Communication
One of the primary responsibilities of PMs is to keep in touch with clients and the development team. Without proper communication, there is a high chance of missing the mark. They can effectively explain to the developers what the client needs.
Developers Can Be Good PMs, Can’t They?
In terms of development experience, software developers have no rivals. Naturally, it seems that they’re a perfect fit for a PM position. That’s definitely true, but it means that a developer stops coding and starts managing teams.
Developers cannot code and be PMs at the same time. When they’re managing teams and communicating with clients, they aren’t writing code. For example, when I’m coding, I’m totally focused on the code. But when I get distracted, I lose track of what’s going on, and after returning to the code, I need additional 10-15 minutes to pick back up.
Developers should code and project managers should manage the team and control the app development process.
Can Clients Be Good PMs?
If you’re not going to hire a PM, then you should become a PM. After all, you know your idea better and you’re responsible for the whole app development project.
But can you stop doing everything else except managing your app development project?
If your answer is no, then it’s better to hire a professional project manager to get your app developed. Time estimates, budget, feature lists, and mockups are only a small part of a PM’s job, but there are bugs, integrations, and lots of other technical issues that need to be solved along the way.
But you can always become a product owner for your project. You’ll be the one who checks the progress, prioritizes tasks and makes final decisions on what features to add. Leave all the routine work like planning and team management to PMs.
What Makes a PM a Good One?
It’s hard to understand whether your PM is a good or bad one at first sight. Let’s learn how to find and hire a good PM.
Before hiring PMs, check if they:
- Ask lots of meaningful questions to better understand your needs and product
- Want your project to succeed
- Pay attention to details
- Ask for opinions and ideas
Being a PM isn’t as difficult as it appears, but it requires specific skills and knowledge. A PM is an essential part of a development team. When this person is left out, it can cost both time and money.
If you have no development background or experience managing app development teams, it’s better to hire a PM than to take the risk.
Anna Ivashyna, Project manager @ DOIT Software | 06/04/2020
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