I've been thinking a good deal about the principles that should guide our community. But what rolls up to those principles is the vision you have for the role you play in your day-to-day as a digital project manager (or whatever similar title you may hold). The way you present your role and value to the people you work with is so important to your success as a DPM.
Know your value
What's most important is that you are confident in your role. You know your place on the team and actively work to provide value to your team, your project, your company, and your clients. But what does that actually mean?
It means that you have guideposts to follow and that your team have a shared understanding of your role and how it impacts your projects, team members, and maybe even your clients (if you have them). You, and the DPMs you work with, should have a shared vision for your roles. After all, your role is critical to project success. You're not just the note-takers or the box-checkers. You're active members of your team, and your role serves a specific purpose.
Many teams struggle with this vision, because no one really thinks about it when it comes to DPM. They tend to think about the basic tasks and tools used to administer projects, not the heart and soul of what it means to be a DPM. In addition, experience level and expertise can vary across team members. So, your organization's experience with project management might vary across projects and teams.
So maybe it's time for you to think about what DPM means to you and everyone else. And document it.
In order to create consistency your project management team, you should instill an understanding around your company's project management principles and practices. With some careful thought, you can rally your team around a singular set of practices and tools that will unify your PM team around a shared vision. A vision that will elevate what you do and help others to truly understand your place and value on the team. This isn't about a job description. It's about a team vision statement.
If you take a step back and think about what you do, and what's expected of you in your role, you can start to identify with some basic characteristics for your role.
For instance, many project managers might say they identify with these qualities:
- Problem Solver
It's also important to think about the characteristics that do not speak to who you are. For instance, the people you work with may think you focus on their personal organization. Unless you're a personal assistant, that probably isn't the case. So, say you're not staff assistants.
This is a personal activity. Each team member will define his or her own characteristics. But you'll be surprised by how many of your team identify with some of the same characteristics, or variations of them.
Define the vision
After you've defined those characteristics and you can met as a team to discuss them, you can think of the tasks you do and how these characteristics manifest in those tasks. For instance, your team may be responsible for:
- Creating project plans
- Facilitating meetings
- Client status reports
- Consistent communications
Which of your characteristics line up with those, and what's most important in that list? Also, what are the things you do that you think are important, but not evident to everyone on your team? Make sure you list those and talk about them. Remember that this exercise is about your vision for the role and will help to define how people perceive your role and interact with you.
Next, pull those characteristics and tasks into a statement that defines you as a team. Here's a sample:
As team and project leaders, CompanyX digital project managers facilitate project success with a focus on a project’s strategic path and a strong focus on daily progress. CompanyX DPMs are empowered, accountable team members who consistently plan and facilitate projects, quickly solve issues, and foster solid team communications and collaboration practices.
The statement includes some of the characteristics and tasks listed and identifies what CompanyX DPMs do. It's not all-inclusive of tasks and characteristics, but it provides a high-level sense of vision for the role and communicates value.
A vision statement is worthless unless you use it and make it known. Organize your practices around it. Align your values to it. Share it with your larger team and help them to understand how it positions your role.
Then, be sure to add it to job descriptions, employee reviews, and wherever else it may be important to communicate the value and vision for the role. The more you can use it and refer back to it, the stronger your practice will be. Your DPMs will be aligned at a high level, and they'll be given the agency to operate as individuals within a defined vision that they agreed to and helped form. That's powerful.
Need help coming up with your team's vision statement? I'd be happy to help. Let's talk.