One of our core values at Yellow Pencil is “we work as a team”. Some team members produce deliverables, and some provide services, but all team members help us get the job done. And where do I fall into this mix of brilliant nerds and misfits? Well, I’m a project manager.
Teamwork is essential, but not just with each other. Partnering with our clients is a big part of my job. As project manager, I’m the gatekeeper between our internal project team and our client project team.
That means I get to wear lots of different hats:
The rover hat
Our office slo-pitch team has a position called “the rover”. This player makes sure that everyone knows what’s going on and gets support when they need it.
So let’s say that our internal team is the outfield and our client partner team is the infield. The project manager is kind of like the rover. We make sure that all areas are being covered within the team, whether in the outfield or infield. We communicate to our all of our teammates so they know where we are on the field. We also let them know where they might need to be. We assess any gaps, report our current status, and plan for where we’re going next. And best of all, our hard work results in a successful game (err...project).
The detective hat
No matter how well we plan, schedule and monitor, risks exist and have to be considered. To mitigate (and hopefully eliminate) them, a project manager needs to do a bit of detective work. This means uncovering as many threats as possible at the beginning of the project. Once that’s done, we still have to act as a “risk radar” by monitoring any threats that arise after the project has started.
But we don’t just watch for risks. We also seek out new opportunities to create the best possible project experience and outcome. These can be things like finalizing the project ahead of schedule and coming in under budget. Wouldn’t it be great if your website project could launch a month earlier than planned? Our project management team is always looking for these kinds of opportunities, and we work hard to make them happen!
The custodian hat
It’s a tricky monster, money. We need it to live and do business. Some of us want to save it, some want to spend it, and some of us are happy just to randomly come across it. But I think we can all agree that, at the end of the day, we want to know where our money goes.
It’s our job to monitor and manage the whole project, including the budget. When we come to the table to discuss cost requirements, our clients should feel confident that we have accounted for and care about every part of their project. As a project manager, I need to plan thoroughly to avoid any big surprises, predict any possible slippage, prevent any unnecessary loss to the budget, account for any constraints, and provide options and corrective actions if problems arise.
At the end of the day
Project management is a big job and it takes a lot of smart planning and careful forecasting. Sure it can be challenging, but it’s worth it when you can congratulate a client partner on a job well done at the end of the project.