April 7, 2015 - No Comments!

Be you.

There is so much you're required to do a digital project manager, and it doesn't all have to do with attention to details and creating scopes of work. To be a truly great PM, you have to...

Be nice
Be in control of your domain
Stand up for what's right
Be open to discussing what you thing is wrong
Put in extra hours when needed
Be supportive
Read, read, read
Be willing to take a hit for the team
Do the work that feels unimportant
Prove your worth
Buy a coffee or a lunch every once in a while
Put your ego aside
Deal with personalities
Vent to the right person
Have fun
Smile, even if you don't want to
Be meticulous about the details
Inspire collaboration
Question things
Not over-question things
Let go when you have to
Be willing to have difficult conversations
Make lists
Learn from your team
Know enough about design and code to make you dangerous
Be honest
Be supportive
Provide updates
Follow up
Follow up again
And again
Stay calm
Be ready to address issues
Not use business speak
Share your experiences
Compliment your team for a job well done
Talk about what you can improve
And act on it
Stick to your word
Be you.

March 20, 2015 - No Comments!

It takes true grit to be a good project manager

No one ever said that being a project manager is easy. In fact, on most days a lot of project managers wonder why they took the path into the world of wrangling people, process, and all of the very important details that come along with them. On other days, great project managers pat themselves on the back for mustering up the true grit they have deep within to not only manage all of those things, but lasso them in and hog tie them like a pro. screenshot_40 I've been a Digital PM for a long time, and I still encounter issues that seem impossible for me to resolve. I get nervous. I question myself, my team, and our approach in the face of a client conflict. I am always questioned by my team and my clients, yet I always find a way to respond and smooth things over. Sometimes I wonder how or why I do it, because it's difficult and stressful at times. Want to know the real secret? I love what I do because I am a problem solver and I thrive under stress. When I am met with an issue, I address it head on...in my own way. I've found that if I hold off on reacting immediately to an issue and take the time to think about it, I will find the best way to resolve it. Sometimes that means I need to step away and think about things: What is the true problem? Who is involved? Who can help? How can I solve this and make everyone happy? If I mentally take a step back and dissect the issue, I can truly find a resolution. If I take on a different perspective, I might find a clearer solution, or even see where I could be wrong. That's right. As project managers, we are not always right. Sure, we know the details, we know the limits, we set the expectations. But they change all the damn time. So there's a chance we just haven't changed with them...or kept up with them. So we can be wrong. I hate it when I'm wrong. Especially when I have to go back on my word, change a plan, or do something I REALLY don't want to do. But if I want to be good at my job, I have to be vulnerable and fess up to not knowing everything and owning problems. It's tough to do! It takes courage. To be a great PM, you need to be courageous enough to address a difficult situation head on. You also need to do it with grace. While you might be scared to death of that issue (and its potential outcome) inside, you have to be cool, calm, and collected on the outside. It's not easy to do, but it's what you have to do. The more confidence you display, the more trusted you will be, and the better results you'll see. As you gain experience being a PM, and experience within your industry, your company, and your team, you will find confidence. That confidence will bring the ability to face any situation head on with little hesitation. Now, I'm not saying that you'll always have the answers. I'm saying you'll know how to find them. And when you do, you'll have the courage to resolve them, whether that be through a difficult conversation, change request, email, and so on. You'll know that what you are doing is not easy, but that it needs to be done for the good of the project. And that is why you're a good PM. How do you muster up courage when you need it? Share it in the comments below!

February 19, 2015 - No Comments!

Motivation First

I’ve been reading (and seeing) a lot of articles lately about productivity: How to be more productive, productivity killers, how managers can be more productive, how to help your employees to be more productive, and so on. Each article is full of really good tips on how to manage your day. Each article is written from the perspective of the author*. Obvious, I know. But they’re writing tips that are based on their own work, schedule, etc. And if there’s anything I’ve learned as a PM at various companies working with several personality types, it’s that there is no single solution for anything. What one person finds helpful, the next finds annoying. How we work is personal, and it should be.

It’s easy to follow some of the helpful guidelines that are out there, but you’ll never achieve true productivity if you aren’t motivated to do a great job. It’s simple: if you are motivated by an outcome or even a feeling that work gives you, you’ll find ways to be more productive, and it return, successful. When you’re excited about work, you’re willing to take more on. You want to work, because something about it excites you.

What does that mean if you’re in a job where you feel productive enough but not excited? It could mean that you should find something new. But before you jump ship, take the time to examine what makes you happy. Ask yourself some questions: Out of all of your tasks, what are the things that you really enjoy? What is it about those things that you enjoy? Why do you like them? Are there ideas, practices, or approaches that could cross-over to the tasks you don’t love as much? From there, take the time to think about ways to make the mundane tasks exciting, and maybe—JUST MAYBE—you’ll find a newfound love for them. Sometimes all we need to do is mix things up to rekindle the love we once had for something—even work.

So go on, read the next “productivity” article you see. Implement some new ideas. I’m pretty sure that the tips in those articles will help you! But be sure to think about what motivates you, and do what you love.

* I might be one of those authors.