As a Digital Project Manager, I’m constantly finding myself juggling tasks and teams; it’s the nature of working in the digital world. Projects vary in length, complexity, require different staff and teams. With numerous projects in progress, managing them all concurrently can sometimes feel like you’re in a constant whirlwind.
So what’s the best way to keep track of all the tasks and manage your resources and development teams? (Oh, and don’t forget, also keep yourself, stakeholders, your clients, and your team happy?)
Here are a few simple guiding principles that I’ve picked up in my role as a Digital Project Manager over the years.
1. I Use the best tools available
If there’s one thing we’re not short of as project managers, it’s software, software, software. There are tons of options out there for everything – from managing user stories, time tracking, automating deployments, messaging, file sharing and so on. Taking the time to make sure you’re using the right set of systems for you and your team is vital.
2. Log everything!
I like to facilitate the management of a project’s requirements with a basic google sheet that everyone can access and contribute to, then once defined, it goes straight into our Asana system. This helps the team know where the project stands at all times and, hopefully, minimizes surprises along the way.
What’s more, having a clear requirement log gives you a clear structure for stand-up and team meetings. No one likes a meeting for the sake of having a meeting, so make them worth their while and make sure that ideas become actions in the log.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Project teams, even if they are small, should be talking all the time, and this includes your clients (speaking to, and listening to). This starts at the kick-off of a project with the full team (we are all accountable) and should continue right until the end.
4. Be as transparent as possible
This ties in with the point above about communicating, but transparency and openness are your best friends. Keep the team in the loop about your plans when you can, and try and use platforms and services that make collaboration and observing easy. Share elements with clients without having to ask them to go through a tiresome signup process!
5. Stay flexible
I believe a key asset of digital project management is staying agile and being willing to make necessary changes and adjustments. One of the most dangerous pitfalls I’ve seen is sticking rigidly to a plan that’s clearly destined for failure. Be flexible.
6. Take your own advice
As a Project Manager, I think it’s important to live by the same principles as those you’re using to manage your teams and resources. If you expect people to use time tracking software (which can often be considered an unwelcome chore), you should too.
7. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves
Finally, remember you’re part of a team and that the success of the team is what truly matters. This may mean you need to be prepared to get your hands dirty, especially at difficult or busy times.
So, there we have it. I’m not pretending that these seven bullet points are the only ones to successful digital project management; everyone has their own style, personality and skill set. What I will say is that these are the principles that have most helped me in my years of experience so far. I hope you found them useful.