How Does a CTRM Software Company Actually Function?
This is the second article in the series that looks at how a software vendor operates and is organised to ensure that customers obtain the very best in support and assistance. The previous article focused on the Business Analyst role within a CTRM software business. This article moves on to the role the client probably has the next most interaction with and that is the Project Manager.
From the moment a CTRM implementation begins, the client will work closely with the vendor’s project manager. This relationship will continue throughout the client’s use of the software. But what exactly does a CTRM project manager do? As you will see, this role is both a key and important one that hopefully, this article will address with help from one of Amphora’s senior project managers, Meghana Manda, (M).
Understanding the role Describe your role at Amphora highlighting the areas you specialise in?
M: My role is associated with the project throughout its life cycle, from the beginning until the successful delivery of the project. The initial stage of the project requires my contribution towards gathering requirements with clear business documentation. Understanding the clients’ needs right from the start ensures that the entire development is aligned with the client’s business.
Once the project requirements are documented, I set up a team to deliver the project and ensure that the requirements are clearly understood by all team members. Often Production and Test environments will have to be created or upgraded, which I will manage. For enhancement projects, I also prepare a solution document, which includes the requirements, a summary of existing functionalities, high level designs, impact analysis and out of scope items.
I then produce a project plan, listing the sequence of activities to be completed for a successful project. This plan is regularly updated, with any risks identified, and communicated back to the project team and the client.
Once development is completed and QA has passed the new functionalities, I prepare the release plan, which involves liaising between the project team and the client, to ensure a high-quality solution is delivered on time.
How does your function impact the quality of the software? M: The primary focus of a project manager lies in delivering value. I identify any risks and provide real time tracking to ensure complete transparency with the client.
My role can highly impact what is delivered. I must ensure the quality of all the activities, setting up a practical plan with deadlines, and take decisions to achieve this set of targets, by liaising with multiple teams. Effective communication skills are a pre-requisite.
The success rate of a project is measured by the quality – did we deliver the required functionalities on time and within budget. It is a collaborative effort and hence, the project manager should be extremely careful with communication and planning to achieve the overall goals.
What biggest strengths are needed in your position? M: There is management in all functions of Amphora. As the areas vary, the approach also varies. Similarly, project management also varies from project to project. Although the life cycle of a project remains the same, I often work with people in various geographies and departments, who act differently and thus, project management sometimes can become challenging.
Meeting deadlines whilst handling multiple projects and teams can make the role demanding. It is therefore key to have effective communication, empathy, planning and risk management skills to be a project manager.
Which other teams do you work closely with, what do you provide them, or them to you and how do you communicate? M: I work closely with all the teams within Amphora. A project manager is required when different teams interact. I organise and run group meetings that help the team to focus on the work that has been prioritised, freeing them up from any distractions that may arise.
What in your view are the greatest risks and challenges for a CTRM project manager? M: A project manager must control any potential issues that are encountered during the project.
Uncertainties can be internal or external and could lead to various consequences if they are not managed correctly. These consequences could either be positive or negative and thus, risk identification needs to be done as early as possible to ensure a successful project.
A difference in understanding can cause a major impact to the progression of the project.
Not only does the output matter but the approach taken to achieve it also plays an important role in determining the quality of the product and thus, it is very important to ensure that not only does the project run by the plan, it also abides by the quality checks and delivers the required functionalities or enhancements.
A few of the most common risks include, communication gaps, scope creep and resource management.
Poor planning with unpractical deadlines will lead to a rushed delivery which could take a hard hit on the overall health of a project.
Understanding the individual
Do you mostly work alone or in a team? If you manage a team, what style do you use to lead other employees? M: I usually work with teams. It is important that all the teams’ inputs are to be considered before preparing the schedule so that the plan is realistic and there is complete transparency. I am part of the project manager team, but I closely also work with other teams. I strongly believe in focusing on efficiency and learning new things every day. Brainstorming sessions to evaluate solutions occur to solve issues.
What is your biggest achievement in your current role? M: Multiple implementations and upgrades being delivered on time with no defects. What do you find exciting about your job? M: Every day is a new day and is rarely routine. I love meeting a variety of people whilst working on multiple projects simultaneously. There is a continual need to manage new challenges that makes my day vibrant and interesting.
How long have you worked for Amphora and how is it to be an Amphora employee? M: My journey with Amphora so far has been two and a half years and is very nurturing and I am happy to be part of it. I love the flexibility at Amphora, which has a great work life balance. This enables me to explore new skills in my area of work and personally thus helping me grow individually along with the company.
What attracts you in building a CTRM software? M: Everyday challenges and the domain that CTRM is, opens a lot of doors for learning the business. Global interactions and increased grasp on the product help me in understanding the requirements clearly.
What advice would you offer anyone considering working as a Project Manager for a CTRM company? M: For anyone considering management, it is always important to be clear of the destination at the beginning of the journey. You need to be able to multi-task whilst managing time efficiently, with clear communication.
It is important that all the teams’ inputs are to be considered before preparing the schedule so that the plan is realistic and there is complete transparency.
Brainstorming sessions to evaluate solutions occur to solve issues.
Meghana Manda With 8 years of experience, Meghana began her career as a developer before moving into project management at Amphora. Her focus lies in managing the day-to-day operational activities. This involves creating project plans with deadlines, then collaborating with other department leaders to ensure work is prioritised to keep projects on track. Meghana holds a Masters degree in Information Technology from Vellore Institute of Technology, (VIT).