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Comprehensive Guide to IT Project Life Cycle: Roles and Responsibilities
Successful project management demands a comprehensive understanding of the project life cycle, as well as a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities within a project team.
In this article, we discover project roles, and how they depend on company and project size. Also, we determine which roles in the project are required throughout the project cycles and how they are distributed.
Typical IT Project Roles
Before we dive into the details of the project lifecycle, let’s take a deeper dive into the key project roles that make up a skilled IT project team. These roles serve as the foundation for successful project delivery and ensure that every aspect of the project is effectively managed and executed.
1. Project Sponsor
The project sponsor is the initiator and financial supporter of the project. This person comes up with the initial concepts and envisions the desired outcome of the project. Once the project concept is developed, the sponsor looks for a qualified team to bring their ideas to life.
2. Product Owner
The product owner collaborates closely with the project sponsor, sharing a genuine interest in the sponsor’s vision. This role facilitates the transformation of the sponsor’s ideas into specific project plans. In certain cases, the product owner may need technical support to translate business concepts into technical specifications, which is where a business analyst comes into play.
3. Business Analyst
Sometimes in many projects, the project owner needs technical help to transfer business ideas into technical specifications. This is what a business analyst does. This person works closely with the product owner and client and makes deep investigations of competitors, the market, technologies, and so on. Then a BA creates the main technical requirements for the product. When we understand what should be done and how it should be done, we can then involve a project manager.
4. Project Manager
The PM is responsible for overseeing the entire project and ensuring its successful delivery. The project manager’s role encompasses staffing resource allocation to project methodology determination.
5. Development Team
The development team constitutes the individuals who actively build and create the project or product. The projects engage developers of different levels, junior, middle, senior, tech lead, and solution architect. It depends on the complexity and size of the project.
6. Quality Assurance Team
The QA team encompasses quality control, quality assurance, and testing roles. These professionals are dedicated to ensuring the project’s final product adheres to high standards of quality, including usability, performance, and security.
7. End Users
End users are the individuals who ultimately utilize the project’s final product. Their needs and preferences heavily influence the project’s development process.
Adaptation to Company and Project Size
As projects vary in size and complexity, so do the required roles and their combinations. To address these nuances, understanding the project life cycle is essential.
How can we determine the size of the project and the number of people needed? So, we have the magic triangle. The budget, timeline, and scope of the project depend on the size of the project.
1. Small Projects
In small projects, certain roles may overlap due to limited resources. The project sponsor and product owner could be combined, and the PM might take on business analysis responsibilities. The development team, comprising developers and QA professionals, is vital for creating and ensuring the quality of the product.
2. Medium Projects
As project size increases, distinct roles become more pronounced. The project owner, manager, business analyst, developers, QA, and designers constitute the core team. The business analyst and designer roles might be involved primarily during the initial phases and on an as-needed basis.
3. Large Projects
In large projects, multiple project managers may oversee various teams. The team structure expands to include multiple project owners and more specialized roles within the development team, for example, senior developers, middle developers, junior developers, and designers. The QA team remains instrumental in maintaining high-quality standards.
Project Life Cycle and Role Dependencies
The classical software development life cycle (SDLC) consists of five stages: definition, planning, execution, control, and closure. Let’s define each separately.
1. Definition Phase
In this initial phase, the project owner and client define the project’s scope, goals, and requirements. Key roles during this phase include the project owner, project manager, business analyst, and possibly the tech lead.
2. Planning Phase
In the planning phase, the client and project owner must be involved because we will be working closely with project requirements, and the project manager, business analyst, and tech lead would gather all requirements and translate them into technical duties more clearly. Here, we will provide all of the planning-related information, including team and time definitions, estimates, etc. The client, project owner, project manager, business analyst, tech lead, and QA lead may be involved at this stage. And what is their purpose? Because if you involve them, the project will be accurately estimated, thoroughly analyzed, and other stages will be simplified.
3. Execution Phase
During the execution phase, it is necessary to implement everything planned and specified by the client. If the first two stages are completed successfully, the execution and control phases will be very straightforward. Then, during the execution phase, we will have all the required responsibilities for this endeavor. We involve a technical lead, a QA lead, QA, designers, and developers. Thus, during this phase, we realize our project or product.
4. Control Phase
The control phase involves ongoing monitoring and alignment with project objectives. QA professionals, along with the entire team, ensure that the project stays on track.
5. Closure Phase
In the closure phase, the project is finalized, and its delivery is verified against the original requirements. Roles from the planning and control phases play pivotal roles in this phase, ensuring successful project handover.
These are five major five phases in SDLC. Keep in mind that they might also be in different roles or be combined. However, each of these roles depends on the project’s demands, requirements, and planning.
Scrum VS. SDLC
Now, that you are familiar with SDLC. We would like to talk about the most popular Agile methodologies such as Scrum, which has parallels with the SDLC stages.
The definition phase involves collecting customer requirements and creating a product backlog, which is similar to understanding customer needs. Planning in Scrum involves working with the Scrum team to plan sprints. The execution and control phases are characterized by several sprints to develop the project. Closing involves delivering the final product for client review, which is in line with the iterative Scrum approach.
As for Scrum, it introduces an intriguing role – the Scrum Master, who combines project management and product ownership. Scrum does not provide for the role of a project manager, but someone must fulfill his or her duties. Thus, the Scrum Master appears. Their role is a mirror image of the project manager, and in Agile practices, the distribution of management tasks between the product owner, project owner, and Scrum Master is accomplished by navigating between them. The Scrum Master also oversees the Scrum principles and manages team processes, promoting a clear understanding of roles. This can be either an individual or someone from the team, such as a technical lead or QA manager.
In essence, project management is like theater, where each role contributes to the performance. No position is redundant; each one shapes the outcome. If a role seems useless, it is most likely due to a lack of understanding of its importance. In every project, every position, whether combined or not, contributes to success. Therefore, roles play a vital role in the realization of a project or product.
Finally, these roles are integral, and their collective efforts lead to the success of the project.
To Sum Up
The world of IT project management is a dynamic sphere where roles and responsibilities are interconnected, adapting to project size, complexity, and methodologies. Each role, from the project sponsor to the QA team, contributes to the overall success of a project. By understanding the project life cycle and the intricacies of each role, IT professionals can navigate the challenges of project management with confidence and create products that meet the highest standards of quality and innovation.
Are you looking for a team to guide a project to success? Contact us to not miss out on the opportunity to accomplish this with the seasoned professionals at Agiliway. Agiliway strives to make every project successful.
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