Digital Project Management - Part 1

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A digital project managers main role is to utilise streamlined process for managing online projects from the concept through to completion, within a budget and using a set amount of resources. Project management software acts as a centralized platform for teams to submit documents, share files, provide feedback, and ensure effective communication and seamless collaboration.

If you are trying to make your mark as a digital project manager, it is helpful to ensure your project management skills are kept up-to-date with the latest technology that digital project managers use. Digital project management requires the use of multiple online and offline tools to apply knowledge, experience and proper processes to carry out digital projects. This can include being able to write and understand scope documents, statement of work document, time management, rapid problem solving and efficient communication.

The rise of remote teams means that more project managers need basic digital skills to achieve their work. Digital project management is one of those positions that requires many soft skills, but also technical skills to really make the out of your team, and give your client confidence you know what you are talking about when the rest of team may not be able to make it to those important meetings.

Problem solving includes tasks that are typical for most project management jobs such as timeline planning, budget tracking, scope management and feature accountability, as well as those outside of a project managers core role such as feature planning and testing. While we have mentioned some of the common skills that digital project managers regularly use, there are many other skills that can help individuals succeed in this position, which we’ll focus on in following posts.

It is worth noting that you can work as an experienced and battle-hardened project manager based on the work you do with your team on your personal best practices. Understanding how to use popular project management tools such as Jira, Asana, Teamwork and maybe even Monday (better suited to internal teams) will enhance your value as a project manager. Each project will have different needs and complexities, and understanding different ways to accomplish each task makes you a hero to the client, your team and the leadership of the agency.  One tip on this is to make the choice of what internal and external (client facing) tools you’ll need, and keep the amount of systems to a minimum. The systems chosen MUST work with your agreed business processes and methodologies, and never change those to fit who work with the platform.

The day to do life of digital project management lives on in Gantt charts, budgets, spreadsheets, scope documents, project management software and bug tickets. A good digital project manager knows that using these tools well, and providing great communication by setting customer expectations leads to greater success.

When it comes to the digital project manager role, it’s crucial that you do not fall into the trap that you are above everyone else. We have seen this time and time again through our dealings with clients and we can confidently say when working with these types of digital project managers, it never goes well. A good digital project manager will value the collaborative skills and expertise of each individual team member assigned to the project and utilise them accordingly .

On the flip side of this, one of the biggest risks to a project, is when a project manager doesn’t check the work of the team. To manage this, you need an analytical and critical approach to managing your projects through a range of digital channels. If you neglect the detail, you will face problems such as broken links, reporting errors, timeline issues and an overall erroneous project journey, but not limited to. Developers, and designers will always make mistakes and miss things, as like every other human being, when we are so focused on one thing and that’s all we see everyday, the small things get lost in the bigger picture. So it’s the digital project managers job to ensure the team stays focused, and in good morale, whilst providing timely feedback on an issues that occurs so that the list doesn’t blow up.

One last thing, we consider it essential that your project plan contains important milestones for your internal delivery team and your customers. Too many start a project with several unknown goals, budgets, timetables and, above all, a high expenditure. Feedback is lost, customers and your team get frustrated, and project results suffer. So ensure you place these milestones throughout your project plans (we’ll cover project plans in a later post).  The most common milestones are the following, but there will likely be many more and more specific ones in an actual project plan:

* Project kickoff

* Workshop

* Scoping

* Scope sign off

* Design start

* Design feedback

* Design sign off (internal)

* Design sign off (external)

* Development start

* Development feedback

* Development sign off (internal)

* Development sign off (external)

* QA (quality assurance)

* Deployment

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