Are you a digital project manager, web project manager, web producer or digital producer?
First off, let’s cover off this naming malarkey. A digital project manager job description can be hard to come by! Partly it’s because digital project managers are known by a few different names; web project managers, web producers, digital producers and digital project managers – but for the most part, we’re all pretty much the same thing. So what is the role of a digital project manager? For me the short answer is quite simple – it’s making stuff happen in a digital world.
The digital project manager – making stuff happen in a digital world
The longer answer is – it depends. Defining the role of a digital project manager is not straightforward – there’s really no standard as to what the role really entails. Depending on the agency, the role that a digital project manager can play can vary massively. There’s often overlap between digital project managers and account managers – and particularly at smaller agencies, there can often be overlap between QA, User Experience, and Business Analysis. And strategy, SEO and analytics too. And most digital PM’s know enough about Photoshop and HTML to be dangerous – at least be able to make a few sneaky text edits while no one’s looking. We’re a Jack of all trades.
Bringing teams together to make things happen
If digital project management is all about making things happen, and using process to make things happen, then the role of a digital project manager is to bring teams together to make things happen – it’s all about leading, empowering, facilitating and communicating.
Architects of digital solutions
It’s a complex role which requires a unique skill set. We are digital solution architects. The job requires an understanding from a strategic perspective of why you should do a project, what technology could be used to achieve it, what it could look like, how it could work, and importantly for our clients, how much it will cost and when it could be delivered.
Digital project managers are multilingual communicators
Digital project managers have to be great communicators. As digital project management touches all departments of an agency we need to be able to speak and understand the languages of the different departments of an agency and be comfortable navigating through ambiguity of all kinds to create clarity.
Communication is key to internal communication and, navigating the swamps of inter-departmental politics but is also critical externally too, with third party suppliers. Most importantly, communication skills are critical to successfully working with clients who themselves aren’t entirely sure what they want, need, and more often than not, had no idea how much things should cost or how long it should take.
Have you organized your sock drawer?
A digital project manager nudges a project along and keeps things on track. We’re organized and love tracking details; probably the kind of person who not only matches their socks after doing the laundry, but organizes their sock drawer too!
Digital project managers are leaders
Anyone can be organized and track details but the difference between a good and great digital project manager is in providing real leadership to project; being the hub of knowledge and source of truth for a project; influencing people, anticipating and resolving issues, and seeing the big picture. A great digital project manager casts vision and leads their team by serving – greasing the wheels so that their project team can follow in their wake and be empowered to successfully deliver their best possible work.
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A summary – Amy Kapell on digital project management
If you didn’t have time to read the article and are skipping through this, make sure you read Amy Kapell’s description of project managers; it captures the essence of our role very succinctly:
We are project managers. We are the eye in the hurricane of chaos. We command, we control, we ground. We listen, we worry, we care. We are the centre around which all others orbit. We are the purveyors of schedules and the keeper of secrets. We are the friend next door, the avenging angel. We are diplomats, we are presidents. We wipe the tears, we take out the trash. We know exactly how to get where we’re going. And we know how to bring everyone along. We are the quiet ones who make it all possible. Without us, there is chaos.
– Amy Kapell @amykapell
What do you think?
Does this sound like your role? What’s the same? What’s different? What are you called? Join the conversation below!