Nearly every organization requires major IT systems in order to stay organized and effective. However, if you consider how quickly modern technology evolves, implementing these systems is no easy feat. Enter: IT project managers.

IT project managers are the fearless leaders who can help you navigate the waters of technology and shed light on complex IT projects. However, identifying the best project managers can’t be taken lightly. Here are five key traits to look for in an IT project manager:

An Understanding of Project Managers

In a perfect world, there would never be time, money or resource constraints on projects. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world—but IT project managers can easily help you work around these constraints.

For example, upgrading and migrating to a larger database is an important step for a growing institution; it’s also a step that requires an awareness of transitional needs such as minimizing down time. An IT project manager should be aware of—and able to—effectively make difficult decisions about how a project needs to be handled given limited resources. They need to be able to make quick judgment calls when projects take unexpected turns.

Knowledge of Technology and Approaches

The best IT project manager will have a thorough understanding of the position and what it entails. However, don’t expect them to be an expert in every single IT system known to mankind—it’s not realistic.

While an IT project manager may not know the exact workings of every piece of technology in your environment, it’s crucial that they understand the scope of options and systems that are in use. After all, systems and processes can be taught—but understanding how to use a wide variety of systems to help teams be more adaptable and effective is a precious skill.

Ability to Communicate with a Focus on Goals

It’s not enough to simply make technology work—you have to make it work for your entire institution. An IT project manager needs to not only know how to ensure systems work correctly, but also understand how technology is used to meet organizational goals. Without a clear understanding of how each solution ties into the bigger picture, the IT team might find themselves falling short of these goals.

Therefore, it’s crucial to find an IT project manager who can communicate across departments to achieve these “bigger picture” goals. They must be able to speak the language of technology in order to effectively lead a team of IT professionals; they must also be well-versed in business language to communicate business needs and goals. But most importantly, they need to be able to translate between the two to make sure the departments work in sync.

A Variety of Personal Skills

As with any team leader, an IT project manager must be a team player. Technical and programming background is a great foundation, but it’s equally as important for the manager to be able to rally their team and keep them focused on the right goals.

More specifically, it’s crucial for an IT project manager to be able to manage team issues such as personal disputes, timelines and intangibles. An ITPM who appreciates the significance of the human element of team management will be among the best.

Courage to Rock the Boat

IT systems are constantly changing and being disrupted by better, faster, and more powerful technology. And if you don’t make an effort to keep up, you could risk the entire organization falling behind. Find an IT project manager who is not averse to change and is excited about improving your organization.

However, take this with a word of caution: any IT professional will tell you that making too many changes at once is the basis for a disaster. For this reason, make sure your ITPM’s enthusiasm is balanced with a good sense of judgment in implementing major changes.  

If you’re nervous about finding the right ITPM, there are other options to consider. For example, numerous companies provide complete ITMP services and can even devote an entire IT team to helping you accomplish your latest technological project.

Effective IT project managers play a pivotal role in keeping IT projects running smoothly across the organization.Teams thrive under the supervision of an adaptable communicator and a courageous team player—so keep an eye out for these 5 key traits when hiring an IT project manager or company.

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