“Project Manager for a Web Project? What a Waste of Money!”
We strongly disagree! In fact, we’re pretty close to valuing our project managers at the same price as gold per ounce. I mean sure, we’ve got developers, sales staff, strategists, consultants, account managers, and the rest. And they are all critically important. But there’s really nobody more qualified than a genius senior project manager to keep the pieces of any digital project moving.
Let’s break down why a project manager is an important resource for your web or marketing projects from a senior technologists’ perspective.
1. Goal Alignment
As developers, we’ve all got opinions, and once you add a few creative and energetic stakeholders into the mix, ideas fly around like dust in a tornado. Good project managers will somehow figure out a way to stand on the periphery of that tornado, and extract both quantitative and qualitative goals, budgets, timelines, and an entire slew of desirables.
Then, in addition to all that, they’ll categorize those desirables, as well as allocate different weights of importance to each task. I mean, I personally have days where it’s hard to make my own bed. I’m not sure I’d make the best of Project Manager for my clients. That’s why we only hire the best in class at North Studio.
2. Synching the Belt
Our estimates are rigorous—almost intimidating—to look at once you see all the pieces we have to consider in detail for each project. In fact, two senior engineers and two other developers all go through each others’ estimates, and a collective estimate is then drawn from that. Our estimates include percentage allocations for QA, Documentation, Security, Integration & Deployment, Code Quality, Meetings, Regression Allotment, and… Project Management.
That said, project management is the only piece of the project puzzle that keeps all of the other percentages both low and in line. Without this metric, project costs tend to blow up, scope grows like a weed on steroids, and we get a lot of frowning faces from stakeholders. Thankfully for us, North Studio goes on a global hunt for the near-perfect project manager to add to our team, and it shows in our projects.
3. Communicate Like a Rockstar
Projects are never stagnant, static, or flat. Quite the opposite—they’re dynamic, always evolving, and kind of like trying to finish building a very complex rocket ship while already midway to the moon. Much like projects themselves, project management ‘trends’ seem to also fluctuate with the tides, having once begun with waterfall methods, to the now more precision-like prowess agile methods.
While their methods may change, what always remains is the raw, expert communication style of a project manager to ensure projects go smoothly. Communication, collaboration, and building a rock-solid rapport with your project manager is like putting ultra shock absorbers on your Hummer for offroading – you won’t feel the millions of little bumps along the way!
4. Trial & Error DOESN’T Work
Turnover is detrimental to an organization’s success. No matter how many times you read about it in a self-help, “I’m going to make it big” type of book, you really don’t feel the effect until you feel the effect. Our partners want to build a rapport with one person over several years to ensure their own security and success, rather than dealing with several people in one year.
That rapport is why you never want to lose a project manager, and why we give ours incentives everywhere, and perks coming out the wazoo. At North Studio, we often take a year to find the perfect PM. As such, we haven’t had a project manager turn over in 14 years. Can you imagine the accumulation of insight and expertise we’d lose if they left us?