Is your Drupal project stalled?
Perhaps you don't know exactly what's wrong, but for some reason the project is just stuck.
You're eager to take the next step -- if only you knew what that was. If you find yourself in this situation often enough, you might want to consider hiring a technical project manager.
What is a Technical Project Manager?
Simply put, a technical project manager is your liaison between your technical team and the non-technical people you are working with. Technical managers are familiar with technical jargon and processes, and most importantly, they understand the culture of IT professionals. Thus, they can communicate well and help motivate members of the IT team that aren't performing at their maximum capacity, help managers delegate work appropriately and jump-start project leadership.
Technical project managers do a whole host of things on any given day to help move projects into the next stage of completion. For example, they might:
- Write emails to members of the IT team to assign tasks, check in on project completion or resolve problems.
- Discuss the project one-on-one with technicians to make sure they are staying on track and are moving towards project completion.
- Write status reports
- Lead IT team meetings
- Help technicians brainstorm solutions to severe technical problems.
How to Work With a Technical Project Manager
The key to working with a technical project manager is to communicate often about the project. Here's some specifics to keep in mind:
- Share your vision for the project. Technical project managers are as prone to assumptions about what the project entails as other IT team members are. It's important to begin by ensuring everyone's on the same page. When the technical project manager is brought on board, have a team meeting where everybody shares what they think the project is meant to accomplish and what their role is. That way, the technical project manager understands what's needed and can make sure that everybody on the team knows what they are supposed to be doing.
- Collaborate on a timeline. One of the biggest problems with IT projects involves timelines. It can be tempting to get sucked into side projects when researching or working on the main project, and this can push deadlines back -- especially if those deadlines aren't clear to begin with. Sit down with the technical project manager to discuss the timeline for the project, including deadlines for each step. Together, the team can come up with a timeline that feels comfortable for everybody and the technical project manager can more easily help everybody stay on task.
- Have regular check-ins. Now that there's a technical project manager on board, IT team members can talk about technical difficulties or problems with completing their tasks as scheduled because the project manager will understand what they're talking about. Team members should get in the habit of checking in regularly with the technical project manager and sharing any concerns or technical problems that are interfering with progress.
- Use technology for check-ins and discussion. Reporting tools should be updated, and internal social media, instant messaging and conference calls should be utilized to quickly provide status updates for each member of the team.
Bringing a technical project manager on board can help bridge the gap between IT professionals and management.
Technical project managers have an IT background as well as a management background, so they are in a unique position to help projects get off the ground and moving towards completion.