What exactly is a Project Manager in the World of Web?

November 1st, 2016 in Project Management 6 minute read

5 questions with nothing but honest answers

This is my first Zeal blog and in all honesty, the first blog I’ve written in a very long time, so bear with me. I started by asking a friend in the industry what she would want to understand about Project Management and what it is that someone either wanting to work with Zeal or getting into the industry as junior would want to know?

So here it is, my fountain of knowledge that I impart to you the internet, enjoy.

1) What is the first thing you do when you get into the office?

I always check my emails when I wake up in the morning at home, for me it means I can be thinking about the day ahead whilst I’m getting ready and driving to the office. I know there will be surprises to wake up to most mornings, changes in direction, missing assets, support tickets that are in need of urgent attention. Checking before I start the day means I have plan of action in my head before I walk into the office. When I sit down at my desk the first place I go to is our support channels in JIRA (created by Atlassian) to check through new and old tickets, I’ll message the team and hand out ones I think can be immediately actioned, action any I can action and then get to checking the current sprint boards for updates whilst I fire off some emails. The development team tend to sit around one desk for the first 10-15 minutes of the day to discuss individual action points for the day and assess any blockers, both with us or any clients, so I get in on that too.

2) What is the one thing that you think makes or breaks a project?

I actually have two answers to this question, because as a Project Manager I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I weren’t looking at all of the angles, ha!

The first one is content, it is so so so important to get this cracked at the beginning of ANY project. Knowing what you plan to say, to whom and where and in what style. Receiving that last minute is the most difficult aspect of any project. Get started on it as soon as you can and get it done on deadline! IF you can’t, let your Project Manager know in advance, it’s our job to make projects run smoothly and move the moving parts, we’ll move those integral parts of the development if we’re made aware in advance based on when you think your content will be ready.

Read everything we send your way!

I’m not in the habit of sending useless emails, if I as your Project Manager have sent you something it’s because I need you to be aware of it and all too often do I get the same response “I filed it away because someone else was copied in and I didn’t think it was for me” … If you’re not sure it’s best to just ask, it’s what I’m here for and in turn querying certain aspects of the development will then open up a dialogue helping everyone in both teams fully understand.

We all get a lot of emails, so I understand that sometimes ignorance can be bliss. I also know that often it’ll be a Project Manager who will have sent something important that was ignored only for it crop up as a show stopper before launch.

3) What piece of career advice do you wish someone had given to you when getting into this position?

“If everything is priority, then nothing is” – Emmanuel Burton – 2016.

I’ve heard that famous quote years ago and was re-reminded of it recently by the above friend and Zeal colleague.

Nothing could be closer to the truth in this industry and believe me when I say that as much as we’d like too, not everything can be done at once, nor is everything integral to your business today or right now. If as the client you can prioritise what you need at the beginning of a project and stay firm on that, I can promise you we’ll deliver what you need, in good quality and on time. If your priorities change every other day not only are you going to be confused, but much worse so are we.

The greatest projects I’ve ever delivered (both small and large) were delivered by people who kept to the original brief, there’s always room for phase 2 but you’ll never get there if phase 1 changes every other week. Stick to yours guns and I’ll make sure the project runs the way it should.

4) What is the most satisfying part of your job?

Relationship building and the random knowledge I have learnt and retained!

I’ve worked as a Project Manager, Account Manager and a Business Development Manager in the digital agency world for 10 years and I have met some of the most wild and fantastic people I could ever hope to meet. People who have built their own businesses are passionate, fixed on their goals, knowledgeable beyond belief in their industries and above all a challenge to work for and I love that. I have genuinely learnt some of the most random things I could ever hope to know too; for instance, I once worked with and sat in a meeting with a company who built fences for the Army in Afghanistan, when I first went to their office they had planes and tanks and turrets EVERYWHERE and it turned out the person who owned the company had also bought Segway… you don’t get that kind of diversity in most professions.

5) Are there any websites, apps or extensions that you can’t get through the working day without?

Google Chrome: 

Whilst it is ram intensive there’s no other browser that can handle the sheer weight of traffic I put through it. On top of that it is beyond magical at remembering URLS I would have forgotten years ago and everything I work on at the office is always instantly available when I get home. There is no better browser when considering plugins and add-ons either.

Chat facilities:

Skype/Gchat/or any others are a must! Having the ability to quickly ask development questions, review designs, ask questions whilst on a conference call with a client and get answers there and then and keep your team in the know is a must for any Project Manager.

Windows sticky notes:

Over the years these have become my action bible! I work with a wealth of software, all of it reminding me of this, that and the other on a daily basis, but sometimes you need something to remind YOU what YOU need to do. Sticky notes are my go to place for everything I want to do that don’t have any deadlines to be met and it’s great to go back to when I need a break client side. It’s my slide deck of aspirations career wise I guess.

If you want to find out more about our Project Management services here at Zeal then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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