DPM Podcast

DPM Podcast: Happy Holidays For Everyone (With Mackenzie Dysart)

By 28/11/2018 No Comments

This podcast is part of an article published on The Digital Project Manager.
You can read the article here.

This podcast is brought to you by Clarizen, the leader in enterprise projects and project management software.

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Audio Transcription:

Ben Aston:

Welcome to the DPM Podcast, where we go beyond theory to give expert PM advice for leading better digital projects. Thanks for tuning in. I’m Ben Aston, founder of The Digital Project Manager.

Now, many of us PMs fear going on vacation, because, well, we’re worried that our projects are going to go about as far south as our vacations. But going on vacation is a good thing to do, right? Well, it is if you’ve been able to hand over your projects properly. If you’ve not been able to do a good project handover, well, you’re likely to come back to a very angry teammate who’s been looking after your projects, and a project that’s behind schedule probably about as much as the time that you were away.

How can we take vacations and not stress ourselves out, or our teammates out, in the process? All will be revealed in today’s podcast, as we talk about happy holidays for everyone.

Now, today I’m talking with Mackenzie Dysart, a Senior PM at ecentricarts. She’s a PMP, a CSM, Certified Project Manager, and she, interestingly, actually chose to be a PM as a career path, so we’re going to talk about that in a minute. She’s worked on all kinds of projects … digital, print, app. She’s also got experience in client and agency-side, so we’re looking forward to talking to Mackenzie. Hello, Mackenzie.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Hello.

Ben Aston:

Thanks for coming on the show today. Now, I met Mackenzie at the DPM Summit, back in September, and I thought she sounded like a smart girl with lots of interesting things to say. I asked her to write a post for us. Actually, Mackenzie is very active on Twitter. One of the things that I noticed Mackenzie write on Twitter during the DPM Summit is that she was going to challenge herself to have more regular workouts. I thought it would be good to have a bit of live accountability. Have you been doing your regular workouts, Mackenzie?

Mackenzie Dysart:

No. But I have actually signed up for some sports, which I find hold me a lot more accountable, because I’ve got a team depending on me. So now I play volleyball and soccer weekly. At least then I’m out. I’m doing something. It’s physical. I exhaust myself-

Ben Aston:

There you go. That counts.

Mackenzie Dysart:

… accountable, right?

Ben Aston:

Yep. There we go. That is a regular workout. That counts.

Mackenzie Dysart:

It works in some ways.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, sure. I’m really intrigued, because … Yeah. You claim that you chose to be a PM as a career. Which is not something that I think I’ve heard anyone ever say. I think you’re the first person I’ve met that’s ever-

Mackenzie Dysart:

I know, I didn’t think it was that weird. I thought that was pretty normal.

Ben Aston:

How does someone choose to be a PM? How did that happen?

Mackenzie Dysart:

I graduated university, and had no clue what I wanted to do. I had a bachelor of commerce in international management. Moved to Toronto. Didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I ended up getting a job as a recruiter. Worked as a technical recruiter, and I was terrible at it. Like, so bad. The people I worked with were so nice, but I was just not very good at that job.

Ben Aston:

I read your reviews. They said nice things about you, so don’t worry.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah! Yeah, it’s all positive.

Ben Aston:

Why were you so bad? What was so bad about it?

Mackenzie Dysart:

I struggled with the fact that there was nothing tangible at the end of the day. I would come in at 8:00, leave at 5:00. I would have tried to source people for all these different roles, and … There was an element of luck associated with that work, and I’m not a lucky person. But also, just the fact that I’d work really hard, and then sometimes I would have nothing to show for it. My people wouldn’t get picked, for whatever reason, and there was nothing tangible to show for what I was doing at the end of the day.

But one of the things that I was doing was recruiting for project management roles. I was talking to these people, finding out what they did, and what they enjoyed about their work. I started connecting the dots, and going, “No, that’s something that I’d be really good at, that I enjoy.” It encompasses everything that makes me happy in life, and gives you a tangible output at the end of the day.

I ended up leaving the recruitment company I was at, and I went back to school at Sheridan College, and I did a post-grad certificate in project management. That gave me an eight-month crash course into everything that was project management … scope, management, time, all that stuff. All the technical and theory behind it. From there, it gave me all the coursework I needed for my PMP, and then I got into an agency called Mosaic Sales Solutions, and that’s where I got my first job working as a project coordinator, and I hit the ground running from there and never looked back.

It’s one of the most rewarding jobs, I think. I get to work with really intelligent people, help them succeed, and then I have something to show for the work that I’m putting in at the end of the day.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Now that’s cool. I’m curious, so you’ve studied the hard-skills … Was it hard and soft-skills of project management in that eight-month course?

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah, actually, I did. That was one of the neatest thing about that. There was the hard, technical skills of how to manage scope, and time, cost, quality, all those areas, and HR. But then there was also creativity courses, and leadership and innovation courses. That’s where I got to have those lessons on how to lead a brainstorming meeting, and how to get comfortable speaking in front of people.

It really helped me … That and a couple other presentations … was getting comfortable speaking in front of people, and just learning how to read a room and work with different types of people. They did a lot of work on the soft-skills, as well, to help you succeed, which I think was one of the neater aspects of that program, because I got to do it full-time for eight months.

Ben Aston:

Awesome. I’m also curious … there’s not many people who, at your stage of their career, have worked both client-side and agency-side. Obviously, you’re working agency-side now, so you need to be careful what you say about that. What would you say the difference are, as a digital PM? Why have you ended up agency-side rather than client-side?

Mackenzie Dysart:

I think there’s a lot of similarities that people don’t always see, and then there’s the differences. One thing I would say about working client-side is somehow you still feel like you’re treated like an agency. At least, where I was. We were still the center of service for digital, so it was different business lines within the company reaching out to us and going, “Hey, we need this, this, and this.” And us having to turn it around and act almost like an internal agency.

But there is the mundaneness of always working on the same brand. That was one of the things that drove me back agency-side, was just having the change of pace of all the different projects, all the different clients, their needs, and their requirements. I know it’s a little chaotic for some people, but I enjoy the change of pace, and keeping my brain going.

I think the best way to describe project management in a vague term is that it’s like waitressing. You’ve got all these different clients that you have to manage their expectations, how quickly they’re getting stuff … If things are going to be delayed, setting those expectations. Getting the right requirements to get going, and then also making sure that they pay the bill at the end of the day. It’s really juggling all of that, and it’s something that I find rewarding and challenging, but in a good way, is the jumping of different brands, and different requirements … different people. Keeps things interesting.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Tell us about what kind of projects are you working on right now?

Mackenzie Dysart:

Right now, I’m really focused on website re-designs, working with some non-profit clients as well as profit clients, and just … We manage projects for both WordPress and another CMS called Kentico, and then just managing websites for clients. We’ve also got some SLAs that I support. I’ve got about three or four clients, and then all of their sub-projects underneath there.

Ben Aston:

Cool. Now, you’re obviously qualified as a PM. You’ve done lots of different things. I’m curious what have you found most helpful? You’ve got your PMP. You’ve got your CSM. You’ve got this certificate from Sheridan College, as well. I mean, there’s a lot of disdain among the digital PM community for certifications, but I’m curious, as to someone who’s actually got some … Lot’s of people say that you haven’t actually got any, so I’m curious of your perspective. What’s your point of view on PMP, CSM, project management certifications.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Well, so I did work as a recruiter. This is where this all comes back into play is, I know … I understand the necessity of keywords. That was one of the main drivers behind getting my PMP, mostly, was it’s a really easy factor for people just to discount you. As you move on further in your career, that’s less the case, but especially since I was just starting up, I wanted to make sure I had everything that I could to support myself.

The PMP is tough, in the sense that it’s really geared towards large-scale projects like engineering, and IT infrastructure. That’s where I struggled, mostly, because I had to write … The coursework that I did in my post-grad certificate, that was really helpful for setting you up for the PMP. It gives you all the coursework you need. It teaches you, by the book, what you’re supposed to know, and how you’re supposed to think.

But the interesting thing about the PMP is they don’t let you write it until you’ve got so many hours … I think it equals out to two or three years of experience, before you can write the exam. You kind of undo all of your thinking of you know how you’re supposed to do it, versus how you would now do it.

It’s a bit tough, because there’s a lot that’s hard to relate to as a digital project manager when you’re doing the PMP. But it does have some sound basis in terms of how to manage change, scope creep, budget … Earned Value Reports are pretty helpful. I know we like to use burn down now with agile projects, but a good Earned Value Report is still very helpful for showing where you’re getting to.

I think that one, it has value in … especially when you’re just starting out, it doesn’t hurt. If you’ve already got the project management experience, I don’t think it’s necessary, but it’s definitely a really good starting point for someone who is just starting out in their project management career, or thinking about it. It’s definitely a good way to get an understanding of what that looks like.

For the Certified Scrum Master. I think that’s a tough one, because realistically, that certification is just making sure you’re human, is the best way I can describe it. It was a two-day course where we just worked on our soft-skills. Soft-skills are really important, so I think there’s value in that, but it’s one of the easiest exams I’ve ever written, because it was only 30 questions.

Ben Aston:

I know that you can retake it three times.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yes, and I’m pretty sure you can Google them, too. It’s more just about learning the soft-skills and the practice. That’s where, I think, if you take any sort of leadership or facilitation course, you can bounce that out. But again, having the certifications helps differentiate you from other people, if you are on the market for a job, trying to find a new position, and especially if you’re moving outside your general network. Like if you’re moving locations, or just outside your close-knit network, and you don’t necessarily have the connections. It’s really helpful, just to separate you from everybody else, is to have those letters behind your name, essentially.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, yeah. I think I’d tend to agree. Particularly on the Certified Scrum Master, which I did. I couldn’t … to me, it seemed a bit like a kind of moneymaking thing, where basically … Yeah, you just have to turn up, and you’ll pass. Where the PMP, you do actually have to learn stuff.

The confusing thing about doing PMP is that they’ll give you these multiple-choice questions, and they all sound like reasonable things to be doing, and it’s just that there’s a particular sequence that the PMP says that you should … or PMBOK says, “Okay. Do this, then do that, then do that.” I mean, you’ll do all of them eventually, it’s just that they want you to say do it in a very particular order.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah, and then … But that’s the 25 fake questions that you don’t know don’t count. There’s 25 questions of the 200 that don’t count, because they’re test questions that they’re trying to see if they can add to exams in later years. I had one on mine that … Because it’s an international organization, right? So they all get translated from other languages, sometimes, into English.

Ben Aston:

Right.

Mackenzie Dysart:

There was one word that changed the entire meaning of this question, and there was no correct answers unless I changed that one word, and then there was one correct answer. I’m like, “Hmm. I’m going to make this assumption, and also hope that this isn’t a real question that’s getting graded.”

But, you know, for the CSM, I just picked the one that was the least expensive, and still included breakfast and lunch.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, that’s good. I didn’t get breakfast or lunch with mine, so you did well there.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, for about $1,000 … Did you pay about $1,000 for it, including breakfast and lunch?

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah, I think it was an $1,100 … yep.

Ben Aston:

Well, and breakfast and lunch. Not bad.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yep. I searched around. I had requirements. My requirements weren’t huge.

Ben Aston:

That’s good. I always ask people what … Have you found anything recently that’s making your PM life more awesome? Any tools, or tech, or what’s getting you excited at the moment?

Mackenzie Dysart:

Right now, we’ve actually been … Internally, at ECA, we are in the process of identifying a new project management tool. I wouldn’t say I found one tool, yet, but we’re in the process of trying to identify a new PM tool, so I’ve been demoing all of these things, and trying to figure out what works best. What do I like? What don’t I like? That’s taken a lot of my focus right now. But it’s really interesting to see how different companies have created tools that do the same thing, but slightly differently.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, so what’s in your short-list right now?

Mackenzie Dysart:

I think … the one we demoed last week was 10,000 Feet. Then, I can’t remember what the next one is, coming up. I’m really bad at namedropping tools for you, but I don’t remember.

Ben Aston:

You’re looking more at the resource management, time-tracking kind of stuff? Okay.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah, we’ve made the assumption, or come to the decision that I think everybody does, is that from a ticketing and development perspective, there’s no getting away from one system just for that. We’re sticking with Jira. Then, we’re trying to find one system to house everything else, because right now our project management scheduling, versus resourcing, versus time tracking is all in different tools, so consolidating would be a very nice change for us.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, well there’s loads of good tools out there, so … I expect you’ve probably looked at-

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah…

Ben Aston:

Yeah. There’s Resource Guru, Hub Planner, Float. All good options, as well.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah.

Ben Aston:

Good stuff. Well, let’s move on to talk about your article, and I remember, I think, probably my most scarring memory for me was one time when I went on vacation, and I thought I’d had a really good handover with my account manager. I thought I’d given him what I thought were really, really clear handover notes. I felt good about it, and he was like, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.” We were good friends. The guy is called Paul Finch. We’re still good friends.

But somehow, when I came back from vacation, not only had the project not gone forward, but it had actually gone backwards. It had gone backwards more than three … I think I had gone away for three weeks, and the project had just gone back to project initiation, and we were supposed to be at the end of the project. This will either make you feel good that your project handovers have never been that bad, or scare you into never taking a vacation again.

But I’m … Holiday season, or vacation season, is upon us. We’re going into Christmas, and I think actually this is one of the trickiest times of year to do handovers, because often there’s no one, really, to hand it over to. Everyone’s going away. But let’s pretend it’s a normal situation, where there’s someone to hand over your projects to. You talk about, in your post, doing a project handover, and you talk about using different templates.

I’m curious … Talk us through these different templates that you would use, because I think the really important thing that we’re trying to do, as we’re handing over a project, is making sure the other person really understands the current state, and where we’re trying to get to, and managing all the expectations and all the knowledge that we’ve got while we’re away. But obviously we’ve got loads of information in our heads. Talk us through how you manage that process of not giving someone too much information, but giving them just enough.

Mackenzie Dysart:

I think it really depends on the organization that you work in. I’ve had to do really, really detailed handovers, where sometimes the handover has been more work than my vacation … like, it wasn’t worth the vacation. Which isn’t ideal. I think it’s all about figuring out that balance and understanding how much knowledge the people already have.

I tend to know what’s going on with other people’s projects, because we talk about them a lot, as a PM team, and I think that’s really helpful. That’s where sharing as a team regularly helps mitigate some of that risk, I guess, is the fact that I already know just which projects are going well, which ones aren’t, for other teams.

Then, when you’re picking someone who has to cover for your project, you can pick the one who’s got more time, or got some easier, less stressful projects on their plate, if you can. It’s also just helpful to have someone who’s been in the thick of it, or they’ve worked on the client before, or something where they’ve already got some background knowledge. I think that’s always really helpful when picking someone to cover.

Then, when it comes to the template, that’s really dependent on your internal systems. I prefer higher-level … I provided two templates that you can access through thedigitalprojectmanager.com. There’s one that’s a Google Sheet, basically, and it goes … It’s really good at showing a couple different projects at once, high-level, what’s going on, what the budget range is, what the status is, what phase you’re in, what the key next-deliverables are, and any other notes that you need. I find that pretty helpful for, especially, maintenance projects or not overly intense projects.

Also really helpful when you’re not going for a long time, like three weeks. If you’re just off for one week, then it’s like, “Hey, okay, Monday, we’ve got status. By Wednesday, they’re going to expect this, and Friday, please send an end-of-week update, and that’s all that needs to happen.” Or “These are the things that they’re expecting to get done, and this is the budget you’ve got to work with for the week.”

When you’ve got a more detailed project that’s more cumbersome, and you’re gone for a while, and they’re going to need a lot more background information, there’s a more detailed Google Doc version. That’s where I really get into who your point-of-contact is, what’s the best way to reach them, where all the files are for your project … I think that’s one of the keys, is for anybody to be able to find documentation or anything that they need on your project while you’re gone. Having it all in one place and organized is great, but you need to be able to find it, too, so having that information.

As well as key information for how to communicate with the client. Maybe someone prefers phone calls versus e-mails, or Base Camp threads. However you’re best plan of attack for dealing with the client, or the project, or a resource can all be documented in there, as well. Again, I do say in my post “Don’t overwhelm people, though. Don’t give them your baggage.” That’s also really important, is just give them what they need to know, but give them as much detail as they need to succeed.

Write it in bullet-points. Bullet-points are easier. Don’t write a story, because nobody’s going to read that. Make sure everything’s in bullet-points and short sentences, so that they can find it. They can find the information that they need, or if it’s not all there, they can find it in the document that they need, elsewhere, that’s supporting in the … Wherever your project management documentation is stored.

Ben Aston:

I think one of the things is, I’ve actually recently been on the receiving end of a project handover. I think, actually, the process of the handover itself is quite important, as well, because it’s one thing to write the notes. In our minds, as the person who’s writing the handover notes, we’re excited about going on vacation. We probably haven’t set aside enough time to complete the handover notes. So my experience most recently was that, “Oh, we haven’t really had enough time to talk about this properly, and now you’re leaving.” Talk us through your best practice process for … one thing is creating some documentation, and trying to write everything down. But it doesn’t really stop there, does it?

Mackenzie Dysart:

No. It’s really important that you plan it in advance. I mean, it’s not like you don’t know you’re going on vacation. I know they sneak up on us. For some reason, as project managers, we can plan a lot of things, but for some reason, us planning that we’re going to be out of the office is the scariest thing in the world. But plan it in advance. You know you’re going to be out of the office in a month. Start talking about who’s going to cover it.

When you do know who’s covering, I say at least a week out, if not more, if you can, have the initial on-boarding meeting with them. Bring them up to speed, and have them CC’d on communications that go on after that. Invite them to status calls, if they want. Just give them a chance to catch up or see how the project flows before you’re gone, so that they can go, “Oh, hey, why did this happen?” Or “Oh, is this how you do this all the time? Or is this a special case? Is it something I need to worry about while you’re on vacation?” Anything like that that gives them a chance to slowly on-board versus just, “Oh, hey. Dropping this on your plate and leaving for a couple days, and then I’ll be back.”

I think that’s one of the big things is a slow process, bringing them up to speed, and being around for them to ask questions. A project transition meeting the day before you leave on vacation isn’t going to help anybody, because they’re not going to have time to absorb the information and figure out if they’ve got any questions. That’s not going to come up within that half-hour meeting. They may have some questions, but they’re not going to have those ones that are actually going to be really difficult to answer until they’ve had time to think about it. I think that’s one of the big things.

Again, another big step, like I said, adding them to meetings early is great, but making sure that they’ve got access to the meetings while you’re gone … Not only invited, but to host. I think that’s one of the biggest misses … and I’m totally guilty of this, too … is just having the weekly status call. But then, all of a sudden, it’s not on their join me anymore, their Zoo Meeting, or Google Hangout. It’s now on mine, and they can’t access it. So making sure that everything’s updated for while you’re gone, and planning ahead is really, really important.

I’m also a big proponent of telling my client I’m going on vacation, and being honest about it. I think that’s big. Let them be prepared for it, because worst case, they’re going to go, “Oh, hey. You’re not going to be in the office. We’ll try and hold back on things.” Or “We won’t have anything big come through.” Then, we’ll overload you the week before you go away, but at least then the big, difficult stuff … generally, they’ll try and work with you to make sure that it’s a lighter load for everybody while you’re not in the office.

Ben Aston:

Yep. Yeah. I think the worst thing to do is a sneaky one, where you’re like, “I know the client’s going to hate this, so I’m not going to tell them.” Or just hope they don’t notice. Then, as the person taking it over, the client’s like, “What? What’s going … Where’s my PM, and why don’t you know anything?”

Mackenzie Dysart:

I will never forget, when I was client-side, we were working with an agency, and the PM just stopped answering my e-mails. But also didn’t have an out-of-office. So I don’t know if what happened was the out-of-office got set up … You know how sometimes you can have it only set up for internal employees versus for everybody?

Ben Aston:

Right, yeah.

Mackenzie Dysart:

I think that might have happened. But at some point, it would hit me, I’m like a week, and I hadn’t heard back. We were expecting a deliverable, and all of a sudden, I’m like, “Okay. I’ll just e-mail everybody else I’ve ever talked to at this company until someone gets back to me.” And like, “Oh, yeah. She’s on vacation.” I’m like, “That would have been nice to know.” Over communicate. Share. Nobody’s going to be mad at you for taking vacation. If you’ve got a good relationship with your client, they’re going to be just as happy for you.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. I think so much of this does come down to good communication, right? Because what we’re talking about is, as we’re writing our handover notes, is that we’re not just writing handover notes, but there’s … the communication is the back and forth, and making sure that the person that we’re handing over to understands what’s being asked of them, and what’s expected.

I think that’s where, often, things fall down, is that we think we’ve written some good handover notes, and they make sense to us, but that’s because we’ve got all this background knowledge, and we understand the bigger picture of what’s going on. Make sure there the person understand is, for me, the critical component of a project handover that actually works. But-

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah. Especially things like communication points, where it’s like, “Okay, the client’s going to expect an agenda on this day. The meeting notes have to be posted this way.” However your usual process is, that you take for granted because you just do it all the time? Sitting down and writing down “This is how I do things” is really helpful for the person taking over for you, for sure.

Ben Aston:

But, I mean, if you’re honest though, do you actually work on vacation, Mackenzie?

Mackenzie Dysart:

I have once had to get on a computer and forward a file, which was my own fault for not having access to something … or not giving someone access. But otherwise I’m pretty diligent. The one thing I will admit to doing, though, is I will just check … I’ll scan my e-mails as they come through. More so just to make my life easier when I get back, so nothing surprises me.

But I don’t answer e-mails. I’m pretty adamant that I’m away for a reason. I also tend to make a point of going out-of-country and out-of-wifi zone, so I can’t be contacted anyway.

Ben Aston:

Yeah, that is a good tip. I would always say, a great tip for when you’re going on vacation is to say, “Yeah, I don’t think there’s internet. I don’t think I’ll have internet connection there.” Actually, in Canada, we can say that quite confidently. People … It’s actually very believable that you could go somewhere, and there be no signal, and there be no wifi. I mean, that’s the great thing about Canada. There aren’t many places still in the world where you can go where that would be fair game. Come to Canada, if you want a vacation with no internet connection.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah, you go out to the East Coast, and you’ll just lose access to even cellular data, at some point. It’s just great. Yay, Canadian telecom.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Cool. I think so much of this, really, though, is about good project documentation, as well, right?

Mackenzie Dysart:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben Aston:

Because I think if you leave, and you said this, plan for your vacation well in advance, and part of that is beginning the documentation well in advance. But if our documentation is all up-to-date, and if we have … If our project timeline’s up-to-date, our budget tracker’s up-to-date, then … if the requirements are well defined. If everything’s there, actually picking up a project from someone isn’t that hard. It’s where things aren’t very well defined, and everything’s in our head, that actually things become much harder to manage for someone while we’re away.

I think that’s been my … I mean, it’s great that you’re strong at saying, “Hey, I’m not going to reply to anything when I’m one vacation.” My experience, to be honest, is that I tend to have a lot of information in my head, and so it’s very hard for someone to pick it up, and them I’m just like … When you’re following the e-mail thread, and you’re like, “This person is really not understanding. You need to step in here. Or I’m going to have a disaster to clear up when I get back.” But I think, for me, the key is that really good project documentation to set you up, and your team up, for success while you’re away.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Yeah, and that’s the thing. I think it impacts the team, too, right? Nobody wants to be held in the lurch. I would say I have been in that situation where I’ve handed off, and it’s been poor, or I’ve been handed off a project, and I wasn’t given enough information. I get to it more in my post about more of a hellish story, if you will, about how it can go horribly, horribly wrong.

But a few weeks ago, I covered for a PM here who’d gone away for a month for her wedding and honeymoon, and everything, and it was … The client even said how seamless the transition was, because I understood so well what their process was. I mean, it was pretty similar to another client that we have, so it was really easy to manage. But I was able to step in because I knew what those key touchpoints were.

Even if I didn’t have the necessary background on why some of the decisions were made, the team did, and they were able to fill those gaps, because I could reach out to them. Again, they knew their PM was going on vacation, so they knew they were going to have to fill some gaps. But it was a really seamless transition because I knew what those key …

It’s really a lot about communication. You’ve said it already a few times. So have I. It’s really about those key points of communication, saying, “This is when they’re expecting these updates. This is how these decisions should get made, and where all the information should go.” It was a pretty seamless transition. Good transitions do happen. That’s what I’m trying to do with the post, is “It’s a thing. It’s real. It’s not a unicorn. You can do it. You just all have to work together.

Ben Aston:

Yeah. Awesome. Well, Mackenzie, thanks so much for joining us. It’s been great having you with us.

Mackenzie Dysart:

Thanks so much. It’s been wonderful.

Ben Aston:

If you’d like to go on vacation, well, write some good handover notes. But if you’d like to contribute to this conversation, if you’ve got any horror stories to share about handovers, maybe you’re in the middle of one now, comment on the post, or head over to the resources section of thedigitalprojectmanager.com to join our Slack team, where you’ll find all kinds of interesting conversations going on there. But until next time, thanks for listening.

Ben Aston

Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager. I've been in the industry for more than 10 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from video virals to CMS’, flash games to banner ads and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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