Anyone who has worked with me for more than, say, five minutes knows that I have a near fanatical focus on two areas of Digital process and project management: time and money. I would like to share a few other things about our Digital processes and overall project management methodology that hopefully will shed light on what we do, how we do it and what we need to do it well.
1. Ever-changing Process
We regularly review our process to see how it can be modified and improved to meet the needs of ever-changing technologies, platforms and offerings to provide the best and most efficient method of moving a project through our department. That includes planning and discovery through testing and launch. Using estimating and scheduling templates ensures that we account for the growing needs of account management, creative, project management and development time and resources required for a digital project done well. As technology continues to evolve so must our processes.
2. Consistency, Efficiency and Effectiveness
We created a Edelman Digital Process Map, which reflects the staffing requirements within our estimating template and compliments our standard scheduling milestones. Each organization should have something similar to this that meets their needs. Standardization of documentation, streamlining of communication and optimization of our phased approach to completing a project all take their queues from the Digital Process Map. Therefore, we can be assured that the process methodology will be consistent every time regardless of specific account needs or project type.
3. Rigidity is Counterproductive to Effective Project Management
Contrary to what most people believe about process, and what the previous paragraph may imply, process must be flexible in order to be effective. Digital project managers must be nimble when managing the different phases of a project through completion. We ensure that project managers are empowered to make planned and on-the-fly decisions concerning the process to maintain an effective, efficient and consistent outcome for their respective projects. The digital process is not simply a checklist of steps to be crossed off. One of the most important things incorporated into our Digital Project Map cannot be seen – it is the ability for our digital project managers to be as nimble as possible while still providing the necessary structure that support decisions on how best to complete a project.
4. Educators Diplomats
In addition to keeping a close eye on schedules and budgets, project managers must play the role of educators and diplomats. In our discipline technology is always evolving and can rapidly change the way we do things. Digital project managers are required to keep up to date on the latest technologies, platforms and development techniques and be able to educate our clients and occasionally even our own staff on what is (and isn’t) possible within a given budget or timeline. All that with a smile on their face! They are tasked with quickly and reliably replying to requests and assertively yet delicately informing clients and/or colleagues what is realistic. This requires a certain level of diplomacy. The digital project manager’s job does not stop at a yes or no response to a request. Rather, they offer strategic production and development solutions to a scope based on (you guessed it) available time and money.
5. Continued Improvements
In addition to everything else, digital project managers look to the teams involved in a project to ensure continued improvements at inception level, through development and ultimately implementation. They ensure the teams have adequate and appropriate resources to successfully see a project through from start to finish. Digital project management and technical staff continually experiment and push the limits of innovation and collaboration to reach these goals and to continually improve their work. They are encouraged to investigate, recommend and implement any and all methodologies, tools and resources that can improve the way in which digital projects are completed while improving the overall process.
Inside CRM’s article, The Manager’s Cheat Sheet: 101 Common-Sense Rules for Leaders, offers a list of tips to follow every day. It will help you work better with your team or be a better supervisor. What are some guidelines you follow with your project management teams to keep everything on budget and on time?
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