Be proud of your digital project managers

Paul Boag

It’s time to stop treating our digital project managers as second class citizens. They are an asset, not a line item nobody wants to pay for.

How come there is no “project manager of the year” category in the net magazine awards? They have a designer of the year and the developer of the year. Why not a project manager of the year?

How come there are web design agencies out there who proclaim “we don’t need project managers, our teams are self organising”? Are they mad?

Why is it that many clients don’t like to see project management as a line item in a proposal? They don’t like to pay for this service, but then moan when things don’t come within budget.

Why is it I am forever hearing designers and developers moaning about their project managers? Would they really like to deal with every tiny query that comes in from the client?

Why is there a perception that project managers are not experts? That they’re just paper pushers?

At Headscape we are proud of our project managers. We don’t think we can offer the best service to our clients without them. They are the linchpin that makes our projects run smoothly. They are why we can take on complex projects with many stakeholders that other agencies would blanch at.

Take for example Pete Boston. Pete has to understand the design process well enough to work side-by-side with one of our designers. He also needs to grasp the technology to ensure that we do not over promise.

It's time that digital project managers were treated with the same respect as designers and developers.
It’s time that digital project managers were treated with the same respect as designers and developers.

He needs organisational skills that allow him to balance competing client demands. And the soft skills to keep clients happy while motivating his own team.

He does this under the pressure of meeting targets for monthly revenue. Not to mention juggling the endless support queries from dozens of existing clients.

I would love to see a designer of the year trying to do that! I wonder how long it would be before a developer of the year punched somebody in the face?

I admit that the title Project Manager doesn’t sound sexy as design guru or coding Ninja. But projects of the size and complexity that we work on a Headscape would be impossible without project managers. Those people behind the scenes making everybody else look good.

So next year net magazine, let’s see a project manager of the year category added to the lineup. And if you are a client be suspicious of any proposal that doesn’t have resources dedicated to project management.