A lot of organizations don’t think they need a digital project manager, but the value shouldn’t be overlooked — especially if your organization doesn’t have strong in-house web & IT resources.
If you’re embarking on a new digital project, then consider these benefits of a digital project manager before deciding to tackle the project on your own.
An experienced digital project manager can help you discover (and reconcile) the explicit requirements (what you know you want) and implicit requirements (what has to be there, but isn’t known to you). For example, a project requestor might know they want a capability like cloud storage, but not realize it needs to meet internal security standards or be compatible with an ERP system. Without someone to surface and clarify these sub-requirements, you can expend a lot of energy looking at solutions that would never be acceptable or hit unexpected roadblocks as you move your project forward.
You’ve probably heard of scope creep and know that it can lead to budget overruns, delays, and other problems. But how do you avoid it? Your digital project manager will be able to assess requested changes and collaborate with stakeholders to determine if something is actually creep or a truly necessary change. Managing those changes while keeping the project on track is one of the most important capabilities a project manager brings to the table.
Another benefit of a project manager is the ability to optimize the project scope. During project initiation, a large list of requirements may be outlined but not everything will make sense based on budget, time, or another context (closing of the fiscal year, IT’s roadmap, system updates). The digital project manager can work to figure out what makes sense and whether certain requirements or work needs to be placed in a later phase, removed entirely, or merged into another project.
When you’re working on a multi-disciplinary project (pretty much any digital project), you need to be able to translate requests, issues and edits from non-digital language (e.g sales vernacular, HR regulations, brand values) to creative (e.g typography, UX models) to engineering or IT (SSL certificates, APIs, security roles) and back again in order to get to solutions. You can reduce iterations and communication problems by having someone on your team that can speak to all the different disciplines in their own language.
Projects need to be documented from initiation through closing. Being able present project charters, briefs, SOWs, RFPs, proposals and other documents at the beginning speeds up initiation while progress reports and presentations ensure that stakeholders know what’s happening throughout. Last, proper documentation of issues and their resolutions means that project phases can be closed efficiently.
A digital project manager understands the relationship between to time, cost and scope. This means they can help you develop and maintain a project schedule that balances human resources, budget, risk and quality without jeopardizing deadlines or project goals. This doesn’t mean delays or problems won’t happen, but you’ll be better able to adapt and find solutions because your project manager knows how to navigate the critical path and dependencies of your project.
In many organizations, people get assigned as a project manager on top of their other duties. This means they have to squeeze in time for project management while still getting their “real” job done. The consequence is that either the project gets less attention than it needs or someone’s main responsibilities get neglected. Either way, you end up with some work not being done as well as it should.
A digital project manager can give their full attention to a project or project portfolio. This reduces the strain on other team members and the organization as a whole. Team members and other stakeholders get to contribute in the way that best suits their skills and responsibilities, yet the project keeps getting the oversight it needs.
Have you used a digital project manager? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the comments.