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Project Management

Cats, dogs, deliverables, phases: how we herd them into a nice, “delivered on time” line.

We’ve written 31 blog posts about Project Management. View all topics »

  1. Resource Planning - Part of the Greater Guru Good

    The Digital Project Management (DPM) community is experiencing something for the first time that has become old hat for the web design and development communities – open dialogue and the sharing of ideas. In the past couple years we’ve been able to tap into a growing number of open forums and online DPM communities (check out this article by the illustrious Brett Harned).

  2. Artful Matchmaking: Client to Process

    9/18/14

    by Abby Fretz

    0 Responses

    Over the course of hundreds of projects, project managers develop a very real sense while trying to build a perfect project plan that we are architects pulling from a tried-and-true collection of building blocks. But, (and this is a big but—I cannot lie) tried-and-true can be blinding. Though some client teams and projects seem to closely resemble past experiences, every client is unique, and there are countless combinations of project requirements and team personalities.

  3. Plan for the Unplanned

    Leading up to the design phase of a project, we devote a lot of thinking to setting the project’s core goals and requirements, as well as establishing a basic plan for how the project will flow. During this time, on my team, we ask as many questions as possible and learn as much as we can before we present a strategy to the client. In the end, everyone agrees on what the goals are, but how those goals will be realized is yet to be determined.

  4. Taking the Local

    A prospective client recently raised the (periodic) concern that our team wasn’t in close proximity to their headquarters. My reply was thorough: “We have two locations ourselves; successfully working remotely is in our DNA.” “We have a track record of working with clients all over North America and abroad, and a laundry list of client testimonials and references.” “Even when we work with a client in Philadelphia or Austin (where we’re based), those projects behave the same way as when we work with a client in South Dakota. Our process is location-agnostic.” Etc. etc. etc.

    The client seemed to appreciate my response, but in the end, they chose a local firm instead. I missed my opportunity to win that particular project, but the next time our proximity to clients comes into question, I’ll have a different response. My answer should have been simple, concise.

  5. ’Tis but thy name that is my (fr)enemy

    “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet; / So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d” (Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet, 2.2).

    In the world of project management, naming conventions are often the source of miscommunication. You have to call your work something, but if you assume everyone interprets a name the way you intended, you’re likely to stub your toe during the course of the project. As managers, minimizing risk and setting expectations is an everyday task, yet something as simple as a name or label can fly under our radar. We live and breathe our work, and we are passionate about it. It’s a good practice to never assume labels are understood out of the gate. Here’s a few tactics to help you make naming conventions work for you.

  6. Fear and Fruitful Projects

    Off the top of my head, I can tell you that I’m afraid of flying, public speaking, and savory foods that contain hidden fruit. I’m also afraid of starting a new project. But, I dive into new projects just like I risk biting into mango every time I go for the summer roll, because I know that fear of the unknown isn’t a bad thing.

    Fear is a natural reaction to the unknown, but as a society, we don’t really like to talk about it. Not many people will openly admit they’re afraid, because, well, it’s uncomfortable. Admitting your fears makes you vulnerable. It also makes you human. When it comes to the world of digital projects, admitting fear is sometimes likened to admitting defeat. It’s not. It’s a normal reaction to the various unknowns that exist at the start of a project.

  7. War on Spec

    Some agencies adhere to the mantra “you get the clients you deserve.” If that’s the case, clients also get the results they deserve—especially when they hire based on spec. This past year, I watched two projects implode after they landed with other agencies who provided spec work in the sales process. I’m not typically a sore loser, but if you hire a partner based off of spec work, you’re digging your own grave.

  8. Keep Calm and Carry On

    You know the poster: the one that was really amazingly-inspiring for a few minutes in 2000 until it was killed by hundreds of parodies. I’ll admit it. I loved it when I first saw it. Still do.

  9. Invisible or Inspired?

    While the rest of our coworkers are creating design and code, we PMs focus on the intangibles. Deadlines, documentation, resourcing—it’s not exactly sexy. When a website launches, the first reactions you hear aren’t “Amazing site—must have had a great PM.” PMs are often the last to get the glory and the first ones to get knocked down when something goes wrong. It can be easy to feel like Mr. Cellophane if you don’t have the right perspective.

  10. Defeating Busy

    We’re all busy at work. It’s a “good thing,” right? Well, it is, unless your to-do list is a mile long, you’re always stressed out, and you don’t know where to start. You see, there is an art to being busy, and it’s not easy to master. You have to stick to your obligations, do a good job, and enjoy yourself while working. Oh, and you totally need to protect your time off.

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