IT Project Manager: The Definitive Hiring Guide

SUMMARY

Recruiting an IT or Technical Project Manager requires a clear and thorough action plan. The Benchmark IT Project Manager Hiring Guide provides everything you need to source, recruit, and hire your next IT Project Manager.

The role of an IT Project Manager can vary depending on the organization. However, team collaboration, communication, and cooperation remain vital to ensure project success. Nearly 40% of IT projects fail because of unclear and undefined objectives and milestones.

Candidates must multitask, manage a project team, and keep them focused on the project schedule. An effective PM is highly organized and can manage their project team to reach their goal on time and within budget.

1. What is IT Project Management?

IT project management is a subset of the broader field of project management. The core difference between a traditional project manager and a technical project manager is that IT Project Managers have proficiency in specific technologies. They must have a good grasp of the software platforms and systems they and their team are using.

Generally, IT project management encompasses the entire technical or IT project lifecycle. These projects are often very wide in scope. They include the planning, scheduling, execution, monitoring, and reporting of specific IT projects. IT project managers need to deal with risk, interdependent integrations, software updates, scope creep, and more.

Table of Contents

2

What is IT Project Management?

PIllar Page Chapter Icons (50 × 50 px) (100 × 100 px) (1)

Demand and Trends for IT Project Managers

4

IT Project Manager's Role

5

IT Project Manager's Salary Range

6

Candidate Profile: Skillsets and Personality Traits

7

Recruitment Best Practices Checklist

Pillar page 8

Materials to Customize Your Hiring Needs

2. Demand for IT Project Managers

The Project Management Institute estimates that the global economy will need 25 million new project management professionals by 2030. That means that 2.3 million project management employees (PMOE) must enter the workforce each year to keep pace with the demand.

Project management graphic

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the largest and fastest growth in project management will be in software development. They project an increase of 14% between 2019 and 2030. It's expected that this growth will come from the development of mobile applications, IT security, and healthcare technology.

The global demand for project management talent is unlikely to be filled by 2030 unless employers provide opportunities for continual learning. Building employees' capabilities, or reskilling, will be a key initiative for forward-looking organizations.

Reskilling

Organizations will need to embrace new learning initiatives to develop needed project management skills among their employees. These include collaboration and leadership skills, improved business acumen, and adopting new methods including tech-enhanced problem-solving tools.

3. Trends in IT Project Management

Recognition of Leadership Skills

Skilled IT project managers bring more to the table than just organizing and tracking management software. The right hire brings important skills and a wealth of knowledge that can’t be replaced by software. As SMBs widely deploy project management tools and software, expect to see greater demand for these skills.

Complex Technological Integrations

Expect to see more information generated and exchanged between software and smart devices and the PMPs that use it. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) evolves, project managers can gather information and data analysis to improve project delivery. Improved data processes will guide many complex areas including resource and risk management and real-time analysis of projected outcomes.

The Program Management Institute (PMI) identifies these six technologies as game-changers in the future of project management. As these sophisticated technologies evolve, PMs will have a greater arsenal of tools to help achieve their objectives.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning: How computers can respond in a human way by analyzing data with computing methods.

Deep Learning: This subset of machine learning analyses data using multilayered neural networks inspired by how the human brain works.

Deep Learning
Robotic

Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Robust software that handles repetitive tasks and reduces the hours required to complete them. 

Expert Systems: This early form of AI uses knowledge-based architecture to imitate the decision skills of a human expert.

Expert Systems
Decision Mangement

Decision Management: Arrays of possible options and outcomes will be generated using AI computing logic.

Knowledge-based Systems: Software programs that extract data from knowledge bases and generate solutions to complex problems.

Knowledge

Enhanced Collaboration

Even the most sophisticated technologies are limited without human oversight and collaboration. The nature of collaboration changed drastically when the pandemic imposed remote-work scenarios. All indications signal that these remote-work scenarios will remain a permanent element in the collaborative structure.

Technology solutions flourished over the past two years to meet demand and bridge communication gaps. As this trend continues, project management tools will improve workflow and help PMs maintain real-time contact with all stakeholders.

Continued Focus on Agile Methodologies

Increasingly complex projects require PMs to adjust their approach to keep projects on track. PMs can also expect increased customer input throughout the project timeline. As these trends continue, we’ll see increased agile project methodologies that enhance simpler waterfall systems.

This hybrid management approach incorporates the benefits of both techniques and provides blended results that can be tailored to specific projects. This is especially useful for projects that benefit from scrum management but may be handled by teams using waterfall methodologies.

Project teams that use this hybrid approach benefit from familiar management techniques while increasing response time to react to sudden changes.

4. IT Project Manager: Role and Responsibilities

An IT project manager is unique in that they’re focused solely on the IT needs of an organization. The role can vary widely depending on the organization. Vital to success is the ability to develop strategy, goals, timelines, and budget, all while maintaining team collaboration, communication, and cooperation. Some of the duties of an IT project manager include:

  • Developing strategy to deliver projects on time and within budget
  • Setting project goals and creating plans to meet them
  • Maintaining a project schedule and budget, and creating status reports
  • Managing resources, including the team, equipment, etc.
  • Assigning tasks to team members
  • Using IT project management tools to measure progress and performance
  • Assessing risk and responding adequately
  • Leading regular meetings with the team and internal and external stakeholders

Successful IT project managers possess advanced knowledge of the entire technology ecosystem. They understand all elements in a project from hardware, operating systems, software tools, to network and service desk administration. They must also be able to articulate value propositions and complex technical issues clearly. Effective project managers are highly organized and can manage their team to reach their goals on time and within budget.

Different industries and businesses have varying requirements and definitions of project managers. Team collaboration, communication, and cooperation remain essential to any project's success. Launching and developing new services, products, processes, and applications requires strong oversight. Every team member must contribute individually while also working collaboratively towards a common goal.

The Project Manager's role requires managing simultaneous activities, being organized, and keeping all team members focused on their contributions. They must visualize and communicate the project's goal and constantly determine the best approach to bring the project in successfully.

Experience varies widely across organizations. Some focus on technical knowledge, while others focus on successful project management history or specific industry experience. Ultimately, successful PMs should be familiar with the technologies being used, available resources, project schedules, expectations, and desired outcomes.

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5. IT Project Manager: Salary Range

An IT Project Manager's salary range depends on the seniority of the position, team size, and scope of projects. The Benchmark IT 2022 Technology Salary & Hiring Guide provides the following ranges for Project Management positions.

PM Jobs

6. Ideal Candidate Profile: Skillsets and Personality Traits of an IT Project Manager

Successful candidates possess strong communication and leadership skills along with confidence and a sense of purpose. During the interview process, be sure to probe candidates to assess these important skills. For example, candidates should be able to easily describe how they work with different personality types across an organization. The best candidates can quickly illustrate how they handle these with examples of previous projects.

Effective project management also requires the ability to handle pressure and stress. Ideal candidates should have the appropriate personality traits and skills to manage anxiety and effectively block stress and frustration.

Project Mangemet Skills

Detailed Analysis Skills

Skilled IT project managers use best-in-class project management software tools to track, measure, and assign tasks. These tools allow them to manage various projects, from simple spreadsheets to sophisticated applications designed for specific projects and industries.

The best project manager candidates should have experience with your existing project management tools and platforms. If required, they should be familiar with and recommend additional or alternative tools for success.

Problem Solving and Management Skills

Effective IT project managers have the technical expertise and experience to see and understand the big picture. They must also possess the problem-solving skills needed to manage practical issues like logistics, workspaces, personnel assignments, and conflicting personalities.

Managing projects successfully requires the skill and know-how to meet milestone timelines and maintain team cohesion. Solid IT project managers can anticipate what personnel and material resources are availablewhen needed. They must motivate the team, keep them focused on the end goal, and mitigate conflicts.

Training and Coaching Skills

Candidates with strong coaching skills exhibit empathy, optimism, persistence, innovation, and guidance. These skills are demonstrated by the ability to provide and accept feedback, being flexible, and boosting team morale when needed.

Leaders who exhibit great coaching skills earn the respect and appreciation of their team, their management, and their colleagues. The coaching skills and techniques they use help them form strong bonds while gaining the trust of others.

Appropriate Accreditations and Expertise Relevant to the Project

A good PM with limited technical knowledge can get completely lost in a project. It's important to find the right mix of management and technical skills, degrees, and certifications.

A master’s degree or at least three- to five-years working in the field is a good guideline.

Top project management certifications:

  • Associate in Project Management
  • BVOP Certified Project Manager
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Certified Project Director
  • Certified Project Management
  • Practitioner (CPMP)
  • Certified Project Manager (CPM)
  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
  • CompTIA Project+
  • Master Project Manager (MPM)
  • PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner
  • Professional in Project Management (PPM)
  • Project Management in IT Security (PMITS)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)

7. IT PROJECT MANAGER RECRUITMENT BEST PRACTICES

  • Kickoff: Set meeting or call with hiring manager and all internal and external stakeholders to fully
    understand the job and types of candidates desired.

8. MATERIALS TO CUSTOMIZE TO YOUR HIRING NEEDS

A. JOB DESCRIPTION: IT Project Manager

[Adapt the following description to the specific needs of your company’s IT project manager position. You may want to select relevant requirements or add the specific requirements of your position]

[Your company name] seeks an IT Project Manager responsible for overall project planning and management activities. You will ensure that projects meet the required outcomes within the specified timeframe and financial scope.

The ideal candidate possesses the leadership and communication skills to manage project teams and mitigate issues and risks. This position requires frequent, cross-functional communications across all levels of the IT department and various business units.

There will be frequent interaction with business leads due to the scope and complexity of managed projects. This role will typically oversee large complex projects that are significant in scope and size. There may be project or program resources reporting directly to this position.

Overall Responsibilities Include:

  • Submitting project deliverables
  • Preparing status reports
  • Establishing effective project communication plans
  • Executing project plans according to business priorities


Responsibilities

[Modify the list to match your requirements]

As Project Manager you will:

  • Define project scope and objectives
  • Determine the required resources to reach the project’s objectives and manage the available resources effectively and efficiently
  • Develop a project budget based on scope and resource requirements
  • Oversee and monitor project costs
  • Develop and manage a detailed project schedule and work plan
  • Meet with [internal or external] clients to further document project details and clarify specific requirements
  • Delegate project tasks based on team strengths, skillsets, and experience levels
  • Oversee and monitor project performance
  • Manage project budget by project scope
  • Coordinate with team members to keep all parties focused on the project requirements, deadlines, and schedules
  • Identify and resolve issues
  • Develop comprehensive project plans for all team members and stakeholders
  • Provide ongoing and consistent project updates
  • Manage vendor/supplier contracts and deliverables to meet expected outcomes
  • Utilize industry best practices, techniques, and standards throughout the project
  • Manage and facilitate changes in project scope, schedule, and costs while effectively communicating with stakeholders
  • Manage and mitigate project risk
  • Create user manuals, training materials, and other documents as needed. Ensure successful execution and hand-off of the process or system to the clients
  • Monitor and measure project performance identifying areas for improvement.
  • Attend conferences and training, as required.
  • Develop spreadsheets, diagrams, and process maps to document needs.
  • Demonstrate strong leadership skills and be committed to ongoing development.


Successful candidates will have:

  • [X+] years of related industry experience in IT project management
  • The ability to lead project teams of various sizes and a track record of overseeing project to completion
  • A strong understanding of formal project management methodologies
  • PMP certification
  • Solid organizational and attention to detail skills
  • Experience with process improvement and inventory control
  • Advanced time management and analysis skills
  • Proficiency working with {company's} operating system
  • Practical experience working with a variety of project management tools and software applications. [List specific software]
  • Practical experience working with a variety of hardware and services. [List specific hardware and services]
  • The ability to solve complex problems with creative out-of-the-box thinking
  • The ability to perform, oversee, prioritize multiple complex tasks based on overall strategic goals
  • The proven ability to work and be motivated on one's own, with minimal supervision and assistance
  • The ability to work within a fast-paced environment and be adaptable to change
  • A team player who collaborates effectively and can influence internal and external stakeholders
  • The ability to interact with multiple levels of the organization and facilitate communication across business units
  • Strong presentation and written/verbal communication skills
  • The ability to pass the background check, drug testing, and have a clean driving record

Education and Experience

Candidates for Project Manager must have a bachelor's degree in business management, computer science, information systems, or a similar study area. A Project Management Professional (PMP) or PRINCE2 certification is a plus.

Travel and Work Requirements

Occasional travel to other offices or educational conferences as required.

The nature of the position may occasionally require work to be performed outside regular business hours and on weekends. Employees may be allowed to work from home or other remote locations at their immediate supervisor's discretion.

Benefits

[Adjust for your situation]

  • Full-time position
  • Competitive compensation with benefits
  • Paid time off and paid holidays
  • Remote friendly workplace
  • Medical and dental insurance coverage
  • Casual dress code
  • Flexible schedule
  • Free parking
  • Currently operating under CDC guidance for COVID-19 risk mitigation

B. INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND NOTES: IT PROJECT MANAGER 

INTRODUCTION

Successful Project Managers are highly organized and meticulous in their attention to detail. They ensure that goals are accomplished by managing, measuring, and tracking all project milestones.

The method used to track a project can be as important for some businesses as monitoring the project itself. Pressure, and the stress that comes with it, are just part of the project manager's job. The best candidates should reveal how they can, do, and will handle such stresses.

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Potential Interview Questions for Project Manager Candidates and Notes for the Interviewer:

  1. Demonstrates the candidate's experience
  2. Is experience in your industry essential for project success?
  3. If they lack experience in your industry, can they describe how their experience transfers to your role?

IT Project Manager - Sample Job Ad

[Employer Branding] Your ad should use language that describes your company culture and employer branding. Think about what would attract your ideal candidate. Develop benefit statements that emphasize why people want to work for your company. Focus on “What’s in it for them” so your ad stands out from the clutter.

[Your company name] seeks an IT Project Manager responsible for overall project planning and management activities. You will ensure that projects meet the required deliverables within the specified timeframe and financial scope. The ideal candidate possesses the leadership and communication skills to manage project teams and mitigate issues and risks.

Responsibilities include:

  • Submitting project deliverables
  • Preparing status reports.
  • Establishing effective project communication plans.
  • Executing project plans in accordance with business priorities.
  • Responsibilities [Modify this list to match your requirements]

The Project Manager will:

  • Define project scope and objectives.
  • Determine needed resources to reach objectives and manage resources effectively and efficiently.
  • Develop and manage a budget management plan based on project scope and resource requirements.
  • Oversee and monitor project costs.
  • Develop and manage a detailed project schedule and work plan.
  • Meet with internal clients to further document project details and clarify specific requirements.
  • Delegate project tasks based on the team's strengths, skill sets, and experience levels.
  • Oversee and monitor project performance.

Successful candidates will have:

  • 5+ years of related industry experience in project management.
  • The ability to lead project teams of various sizes and see them through to completion.
  • A strong understanding of formal project management methodologies.
  • PMP Certification.
  • Solid organizational and attention to detail skills.

Education and Experience

Candidates for Project Manager must have a bachelor's degree in business management, computer science, information systems, or equivalent area of study. Project Management Professional (PMP) and/or PRINCE2 certification is a plus.

For more information and to apply for the position, read the full job description.

The Ultimate Project Manager Hiring Guide

Hiring a new Project Manager?

The PM Hiring guide covers:

  • The ideal project manager salary
  • The factors, traits, and skillsets needed for success
  • Requirements for the ideal job description
  • Interview questions including notes for the interviewer
  • Must-haves for a Project Manager job ad

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