“Project management” doesn’t sound like the most glamorous role in the world, and in truth it often isn’t and it can be a thankless task & unrelenting job. However, the role has a pivotal part to play in the modern day Digital landscape and it is becoming an increasingly sought after skill set in both agencies and client side businesses.
The skill set required to be not only a highly competent, but a successful digital PM is diverse and takes a fine balance of mental agility, commercial flair and strategic nous. If you are the kind of person who thrives on being the main catalyst behind the scenes, you’ll find an immense amount of satisfaction by embracing the challenges that every new project will bring. In return, you’ll be able to carve out a great career path for yourself as the opportunities are endless in this arena and you are worth your weight in gold to your employers…
So what does the current role of a Digital PM look like? No day tends to be the same as ad-hoc challenges and problems are thrown up off the bat and it encompasses a diverse array of job duties. However, as a Digital PM at an agency with a business built around creating the web, you’ll be crossing over into the realm of a number of job titles & skills in your day to day work, including:
- Project Manager: You will certainly spend plenty of time tracking budgets and schedules, managing scope, creating project plans, calling out risk, and managing a development team to successful project completion. You’ll need to master the delicate balance of too much process and not enough process & you’ll need to be a flexible thinker to foresee issues, plan contingency plans & most importantly, “make it happen”!
- Account/Client Manager: In most cases you are the front lines for client contact and the conduit between your Technical Team. Some clients are a pleasure to work with, however as in all walks of life, some can be a more difficult prospect. This is where your diplomatic skills and carefully executed expectations that you set out at the outset of the project kick in… Your job is to keep all parties happy & aligned with the overall objectives, even in the face of delivering bad news when a project is behind time and over budget. You have to know how to steer projects while always keeping the client’s needs in mind. You’ll need to be strategic about when you can handle issues cropping up, and when it’s time to escalate before it’s too late.
- Digital Strategist: Occasionally you’ll find a client who has crystal clear vision for their project and a perfect list of requirements and implementation suggestions. However, in the vast majority of cases, you’re going to be hand-holding the client through the discovery and design process, to arrive at a business/technical specification that developers can execute upon and turn into a reality. Developers will generally have your back on the technical side, but from a marketing standpoint, the more strategic and knowledgeable you are around everything Digital, the better, more credible and compelling you will be. The client knows what they want, but asking the right questions to get all the answers is crucial to the planning process and improper planning will always set you up for failure on the project management side of things.
- Quality Specialist: QA engineers can test and test again, but you’re the person who owns the client’s vision for the end product and you will know for sure what response you’re going to get from them. Is it up to quality standards that we all agreed upon at the outset? Does it look good & how is the customer experience looking? Has thought been given to the client’s ease of use when entering content? You’re the key holder who makes the last call on when a site is ready for client demos, review & hopefully a big pat on the back.
As you can see, the modern day PM isn’t just your ordinary project manager position. You’ll get to own every part of the project if you’re up to the task and you’ll take all the plaudits once the project is rolled out.
Author: Leon Milns is the Co-founder and Director at Adam Recruitment, which was borne out of his desire to launch, build and scale a brand in Manchester & London that people view as a talent partner, and also synonymous with hard work and results. Heading up the London office of Adam, Leon has become a specialist in Search, Selection & Headhunting in the Digital & Marketing sector, over a 15 year career in recruitment. Generally operating at mid to senior level appointments across Digital, Marketing, Advertising & Business Development.
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