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The Value of Project Management

Every day, we encounter things in our life that require a plan — vacation, meals, kid’s school and after-school activities. If there’s not a plan, something will get missed. A ball will get dropped. And you’ll be left wondering, “What happened?” Enter project management.

3/9/2022

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  • Project Management

What am I going to eat for lunch? What am I going to eat for a snack? What’s on the menu for dinner. Wait – the menu for dinner? I think that’s my responsibility this week. I have spent far too many days scrounging around the cabinets trying to figure out what could potentially constitute a semi-healthy meal.

So now I have a meal plan. I prep ideas the week before, create a grocery list, and conquer the week one meal at a time. It’s not enough to just make food. You also have to manage the food-making process.

The work of project management.

Every day, we encounter things in our life that require a plan — vacation, meals, kid’s school and after-school activities. If there’s not a plan, something will get missed. A ball will get dropped. And you’ll be left wondering, “What happened?”

Enter project management.

Project management is a discipline dedicated to filling gaps and driving action. But, invariably, one question seems to open any discussion around project management as a practice — one we’ve probably never answered it the same way twice:

What DO we do?

Honestly? It depends.

Certain days, we spend the entire day jumping from spark to spark, preventing each one from escalating into full-blown forest fire. Other days are more stable, we sit in meetings from 8 to 5 managing people and expectations, and wondering what’s happening with all the rest of our projects.

But most days, we help facilitate problem solving. We answer client calls. We relay information to our team of developers. We schedule check-ins, go over budgets, and review hours and timelines.

As a project manager, our job is to keep every project in our purview on-time, on-budget and consistently moving forward.

Some days this is hard. We work with humans, not machines, and humans — and projects — are affected by every day variables.

Some days, though, things just “click.” Projects are on track, and our team is crushing it. We score big wins for our clients, and it feels like everything we do is rewarded. These are the days that we as project managers live for!

Project management takes time.

As one might expect, this work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes time, and it takes resources.

A project manager plans, estimates and, most importantly, communicates. Our goal as a practice is to facilitate and remove blockers — to allow the designers and developers on your team to focus on the project itself.

When project management is done right, it can help every aspect of the company run more smoothly. Our developers can focus on the work that matters most to them and free them from the distractions of random requests, last minute updates, and tasks that can potentially send projects off track or spiraling out of control.

A good project manager isn’t just a champion for their own team; they’re a defender for the client’s team as well. They relay your needs. They bridge gaps. They help make strategic decisions that uphold the goals of the project.

So when you’re looking at project costs, understand that the work of managing the project is just as important as the design and development. Just as development depends on design for structure and guidance, both depend on project management to prioritize and communicate.

Great project management matters.

This is all to say: great project management matters.

Project managers deliver success. It’s their job. Regardless of project size, a project manager creates and enables motivated teams that align around a project's final goals. And that team ensures the right stuff is delivered, on-time and on-budget.

As you’re planning your meals for the next week, remember, this is project management. It’s what keeps the wheels on the bus and the sanity in your life. It’s not just for business. Project management is for life.

 

Resources on project management.

We’ve written at length, both here and beyond, on project management.

How Developer Cross-training Helps Projects Succeed

Nick Cobb

Cross-training developers results in increased productivity, more collaboration, and better results for client projects. 

October 24, 2023

Episode 24: Maintain and Improve (w/ David Hobbs) Off-site link

Corey and Deane discuss the people and rules that help run a website after launch. Then, David Hobbs, author of Website Product Management: Keeping Focused During Change, joins to talk about transferring a site from a project to a product — what that means to keep the site going after launch, where it most often fails, and how to streamline requests and set reasonable expectations for the future of the site.

October 17, 2023 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Episode 23: Plan for Post-Launch Operations (w/ Meghan Casey) Off-site link

Corey and Deane talk about the idea of a web operations framework. Then, Meghan Casey, content strategist and author of The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right, joins to talk about content governance and ongoing maintenance — how humans are nearly always the problem (but not the humans you might think), the things you can do to plan for post-launch content, and how to deromanticize the bit launch in favor of content maintenance.

September 20, 2023 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Check out more articles on the project management process.