IT project management is an excellent career choice for highly-organized and motivated tech pros who are looking for a field with great earning potential and upward mobility.
“Senior IT project managers sit at the top of a project’s strategic hierarchy, planning, organizing and leading the team from inception through implementation. The Senior PMs are the ones leading enterprise wide initiatives, often manage multiple projects simultaneously, and serve as mentors/managers for Jr or mid-level project managers” Says Toni Thomas, Account Executive at CSS-Tec.
If you are an IT project manager looking to take a step up to the senior level, it is important to know the technical and soft skills you’ll need to demonstrate in order to land a great job.
The Difference Between IT Project Managers and Senior IT Project Managers
Project managers direct the work of a team, monitoring workflow and stepping in to take corrective action of the project is not progressing at the necessary or desired rate. They receive direction from their supervisor, typically a senior project manager. Senior PMs develop the strategy for executing the project, ensuring that their defined strategy aligns with budgets and organizational goals. They communicate that strategy and ongoing progress to upper management, and make adjustments when necessary. They often supervise the work of project managers and may take an active role in the daily management of complex projects when called upon.
Critical Skills For Senior IT Project Managers
In order to advance from an IT project manager to a senior IT project manager, candidates should be able to demonstrate expertise in skills like:
- Project Integration Management
- Project Scope Management
- Project Time Management
- Project Cost Management
- Project Quality Management
- Project Communications Management
- Project Risk Management
- Project Procurement Management
- Stakeholders Management
- PMP and/or Scrum Certification
Developing these skills takes time and experience. Project managers looking to advance to the senior level can grow these skills through master project management certification and by asking their current supervisors and senior PMs for more responsibilities during a project.
“If you are not advancing your skills as an IT Project Manager, then give CSS-Tec a shout and see what the market is doing for its employees!” says Sharon Tsao, CMO, Contemporary Staffing Solutions.
Critical Soft Skills For Senior IT Project Managers
As a project manager, you understand how important it is to work well with your team. The personality traits that make you a good leader and a good team member are known as soft skills. To advance to the senior level, it is important to demonstrate:
- Communication skills: Team members need clear direction and ongoing feedback. As a senior PM, you’ll be a few steps removed from the actual work, so communication is critical. You will also be responsible for communicating highly technical information to stakeholders who may not be technologically savvy.
- Strategic thinking: A successful project, no matter its size, must adhere to budgets and timeframes. But it must also align with organizational goals. This requires a high level of strategic planning abilities.
- Business value awareness: Similarly, senior PMs must demonstrate business value awareness, which is the ability to understand how an activity, task, decision, etc., impacts individuals, teams, divisions and the organization as a whole.
- Emotional intelligence (EQ): EQ is the ability to adjust your personal behaviors and reactions to the situation at hand. Emotionally intelligent people are even-keeled and empathetic and are able to see problems and conflicts through other people’s lenses.
Are You Looking for Senior IT Project Manager Jobs?
If you are a talented project manager looking to advance your career to the senior level, or if you are a senior IT project manager looking for a better career opportunity, the tech recruiters at CSS want to hear from you. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your goals.