What Can Software Developers Learn from Project Management?

Mar 26, 2020 | Project Management

Software development is a process where software developers work tirelessly to bring a business idea to life. The quality and skill of the software development team play a crucial role in ensuring the delivery of project requirements. However, without a skilled project manager, it’s difficult to deliver what the client wants.

Even if your team has great software developers, it can still lead to failure due to poor project management. One survey reports that only 42% of IT projects are delivered within the allotted budget and just 34% are completed on time. The same survey reports that poorly trained project managers are the number one reason behind project failure.

One reason why this is so common in IT projects is that IT project managers often lack a core management background. As a result, they are not familiar with the key principles of effective project management that other managers might.

In this article, we will discuss the list of traits software developers can learn from project managers to make software project delivery more successful. 


Project leadership plays a crucial role in the success of any project irrespective of the industry. Being able to lead your team and making them complete tasks on time is a skill every project manager needs to learn. Software developers need to inspire team members, set vision for project teams and ensure the loyalty of their team in order to become successful managers.


It would be amazing if everyone was dedicated to working for the greater good all the time. However, it doesn’t work like that in real life and you need to be a skilled negotiator to motivate team members to work for you. A software developer needs to develop strong negotiation skills to resolve conflicts within their team and find a win-win scenario for everyone.

Design meeting
Photographer: Charles Deluvio | Source: Unsplash



Effective communication is a big part of strong leadership. To be a successful project manager, you also need to be an excellent communicator. According to research, ineffective communication is the primary reason for project failure. Therefore, your ability to communicate with clients and understand their needs plays a crucial role in project success.

Therefore, if software developers had to pick one skill to learn from project managers, it would be effective communication. Developing better communication skills can help software developers convey their concerns to project stakeholders more effectively.


Like many other skills in project management, scheduling and planning are essential for software developers. However, a number of software developers are not particularly skilled at managing and prioritizing tasks. Learning how to plan and schedule tasks effectively can streamline project execution and make sure that projects complete on time.

Budget Control

As mentioned above, cost control is a significant problem in IT project management.  Software developers are excellent at cracking complex problems, implementing difficult requirements and doing serious number crunching. However, many software developers are not able to translate this ability when it comes to managing project resources.

IT project managers need to work on a tight budget. Therefore, software developers need to learn effective budget management in order to maximize profit. Professionals who fail to develop this skill will struggle to deliver the project within the cost constraints.

man looking at marketing analytics
Photographer: Adeolu Eletu | Source: Unsplash

Risk Management

As software developers gain experience in project management, they start to take projects that are complex and have significant risks of failure. While most project managers want to avoid projects with high risks of failure, a great deal of these projects are also highly rewarding. This is why software developers, as well as project managers, always need to be ready for high-risk projects.

Nevertheless, if you want to execute high-risk projects, you must be highly skilled in risk management. For effective risk management, it’s essential to have an aptitude for getting things done despite all the odds. You need to balance the cost and opportunities associated with the risk and take actions that reap the most benefits.

 Having the ability to mitigate risks and create contingency plans can help you distinguish yourself in the eyes of upper management. As a result, effective risk management can become a surefire way to be promoted in your organization.

Contract Management

Part of managing IT projects is clarifying the limitations of your software product offers. In the initial phases of a software project, it’s essential to spell out the terms of service associated with the final version of the software.

The terms of service enlist key components of the contract you and your clients have. It’s natural for software developers to be unaware of the importance of contract management in IT projects. However, contracts and terms of service documents are a significant part of any project, irrespective of the industry.

This is why software developers need to learn effective contract management from project managers. You can leverage software testing techniques such as load testing and performance testing to prepare a comprehensive contract and terms of service for your software project.

Previously project managers relied on finance departments and legal teams for managing contracts. However, since software teams often find themselves on their own, software developers can benefit a lot by learning contract management from project managers.

Business Case Writing

All IT projects are aimed at delivering business value to project stakeholders. Therefore, learning how to contribute to (or write a business case) is a useful skill for any project manager. You can practice writing business cases by downloading some templates. Once you understand how to write a business case, you can learn how to customize them according to your needs.

You must remember that a business case document needs to be brief and only contain the bare essentials. At the same time, it needs to capture the interest of the reader from the get-go and be easily readable. Unless the business case promises to deliver value to the client, it will rarely be successful.

By learning from a qualified project manager, you can understand how to write a compelling business case. At the same time, you will be able to learn how to finalize or address inconsistencies within a business case.


To deliver IT projects successfully, it’s necessary to adopt the best practices of both software engineering and project management. For this reason, software developers need to master the core practices of project management in order to maximize the success rate of their projects.

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