The Untold Story of the Project Manager
For the last 7 months I have been a project manager, leading a group of developers and designers to create a web application for a client. Most of my job entailed making people accountable for their deliverables and organizing meetings and running design ideation sessions (the last being a little out of scope as a project manager).
Most people think keeping a group aligned to one goal is not that glamorous, that you do all the grunt work while the developers and designers swoop in there deliverables and take all the credit. Being a project manager is hard work and this blog post will hopefully shed some light on how important and vital it is to have a PM on your team. A strong PM can make or break not only the design studio and clients experience with a project, but can also determine whether the project arrives on time and the quality of the work is to the standard that is expected by the designs studios name.
Project managers are the middle man. They are the open liaison with the client. They are the ones that tells the client when certain deliverable will be given and when requests are not realistic. They are the compromisers and because of this they are naturally empathetic and good listeners. This is not to be misunderstood as soft or passive. A project manager is a fighter and will skillfully and strategically argue to get the best results for the team. They are often the scrappiest member of a design team.
The project manager protects the reputation of the design studio. PM’s have to be able to give direction and feedback to their design team and client in a direct and honest way. There is a certain amount of professionalism and logical delivery that clearly states your point without getting personal. If something is late, you bet your project manager is going to be questioning you about where that work is and why is it not done. If you pass of a document filled with spelling mistakes, your PM will be there to ask you why this happened. There is an art to being honest and yet supportive that a good project manager is the master of. For instance they may ask why the work has spelling mistakes in it. Was that person under a time crunch and felt they did not have time to look it over? Are they overwhelmed with their work load? A good PM will get to the why of the result and figure out a solution so that the same mistake does not happen again next time.
So my point is that while the “creatives” may been seen as the geniuses behind the product or service that they are designing, it is the project manager that gives the structure and support to make that design team preform to their fullest potential.