The importance of solid project management

by Vicky Lalwani
28 Oct 2010
5 min read
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The importance of solid project management

Effective project management is an imperative ingredient of any successful digital media or web design project.  Here we look at a breakdown of the different components of digital media project management and describe some of the behind-the-scenes work that effective Project Managers do to deliver projects in a timely manner, whilst ensuring quality is not compromised and budgets do not start creeping.

Who is the Project Manager in a digital agency?

Also known as a “producer”, the Project Manager is the clients’ representative inside the agency. They are responsible for translating the client’s web design or development brief into tasks and directions that can be better understood by the internal teams of designers, business analysts and developers (programmers) – from which they can then design and build the website from.

Quite often, the project management role is a hybrid with that of client account manager;  this cuts out a layer of hierarchy and allows the client to have direct contact with those responsible for website design project delivery. It also enables the internal teams to get an intimate understanding of the client’s business, enabling them to provide more effective strategic insights and recommendations for the business’ online marketing activities.

Why do I need one?

Having a Project Manager working on the project is critical to a project’s success, since they oversee all deliverables for both internal and external stakeholders during the project lifecycle. This involves managing the clients brief and their expectations in light of budget and timeframes for the project, understanding and being able to plan and coordinate third-party integrations from a technical standpoint (often in conjunction with the business analyst) either via web services (APIs) or other bespoke technical work.

You may be asking “but why can’t I just give my project requirements to the lead designer or the lead developer in the agency?” and this is a great question! The advantage of having a single Project Manager is that this person will always be across all aspects of the project from a holistic, value-driven, client perspective - whereas the lead designer or lead developer are often more framed in their view of requirements from a purely technical or creative perspective.

Imagine asking a developer “Do you think I should have Flash in my homepage or JavaScript?” - they would be likely to answer you from a technical viewpoint, which may be a preference to use JavaScript over Flash because it has greater cross-browser compatibility and is better for SEO. The designer - asked the same question - might infer a preference for Flash as it is more of a creative tool.. So who is right?

In this instance the Project Manager facilitates a discussion between the two teams to come to an agreement based on project requirements and best outcome for the client.

How do I find a good digital Project Manager?

You need to first select an agency who employ staff of high calibre (you can gauge this by looking at their portfolio of clients and past experience) and then  ask for testimonials from existing clients. This will enable you to better understand experience and capabilities of the digital or web design agency; you should also ask them for a bio on the nominated Project Manager.

If you have the time, the best approach would be to come and meet the Project Manager as you can get a feel for their personality, style and professionalism – all key attributes when deciding on someone to manage the digital aspects of your brand!

If you would like to come and meet one of Adrenalin Media’s Project Managers, we’d love to meet you! Simply call us on (02) 9280 0550 to arrange a time that’s convenient to you or fill our contact form here

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