What do you do?
My role is a Project Manager, so essentially I am a glorified middle man or so most people think. Now I know we’ve all heard the classic phrase “cut out the middle man” but what happens if the people on either side don’t speak the same language? How did you think that conversation would go?
So my whole job is to scope out what the client wants, be it a new website or a new approach to their social media etc. I then have to figure out who is needed in order to complete that job and how much time they need. And if that is all doable within the budget given.
My journey into project management starts in the pandemic, as most stories seem to start these days.
So I had just quit my retail job a week before they announced lockdown; with not knowing where I wanted to go next with my career the lockdown put any prospects of finding a new job on halt or so I thought. With no job, I was forced to apply for UC.
Whilst providing financial support, they would also send work and course opportunities. You Make It was one of the courses that caught my eye. You Make It is a women’s empowerment programme which connects like-minded women together for network and support opportunities. Each of the women is this programme were connected with a mentor who was to help them progress their professional career, be it help them with their CV or help them to find work.
My mentor Ahsan (shoutout) had over a decade of experience in the events industry; having expressed an interest in events and getting into it professionally, he was the perfect match for me!
After a few months of working together, Ahsan came to me with a 100 hour placement role at …. Bravand. On an initial glance through, I was hesitant. I had no experience, I had no idea what a digital web agency did or how I would be of use to them.
I did some research and applying my small list experience I had for the job, I went for the interview. I can still remember my interview today, it was honest and chatty much like a lot of the talks Jilly and I have now. I was truthful about my lack of knowledge in this field but expressed my willingness to learn. And by my surprise I got the placement!
The start of my placement was spent testing sites, looking through the site and noting down what worked and what needed fixing. This gave me a feel for how much I could see myself in this industry and with some training I could do really well.
After my 100 hour placement, getting a proper feel of Bravand and what they do as a company, I decided that I wanted to be part of their journey. I asked for a permanent job and was accepted!
Why do you like this job?
I like this job because I am able to put my organisational skills to good use. I like figuring out what are all the things and people needed to get a job done and making a plan on how to do that.
But my favourite part of the job is working with my clients, figuring out what their requirements are and the best way to achieve them. When we get to go live with that site and show everyone what we’ve all been working really hard on, that’s the best feeling!
My work day
So each day starts with a PM standup, this is a 30 minute meeting with the internal team to talk about how yesterday went and what we are getting on with today.
The meeting is a good opportunity to discuss any issues you may have and get any help from the rest of the team. After this, I will check Slack and emails to see if there are any messages to respond to from either the team or clients.
I then get into the crux of my day, this could be attending meetings with the development team. In these meetings we will run through tickets created on Jira, these could be issues I’ve found with a website or new features a client would like to implement e.g. they want an Instagram feed on their website.
The rest of my day can be spent meeting with clients to discuss a range of things in progress, testing new features; my day varies depending on what’s currently in progress.
- Communication skills, this to me is the most important skill to have as being a PM. You may have the best budget management skills known to man but if you can’t communicate with your team or your client the whole project can crumble e.g. being honest on timelines and not overpromising
- Organisational and time management skills, these two skills to me are the two wheels that get the bike moving. Like mentioned, there are plenty of different aspects that are needed to complete a project from design, to development to testing. Being able to identify all these aspects and get a plan together on when each needs to be done by will dictate the success of the project.
- Writing skills, from writing emails to clients to creating technical scoping tickets for the development team, writing skills are super important. Also being able to adapt your writing style to meet the needs of each individual you are talking to can be super useful for comprehending.
- Some technical knowledge can be very useful. Being able to understand what each team does to some extent (doesn’t have to be the nitty gritty), software that they may use and how that all comes together to achieve what you need for your client can make the job much easier.
- Team work, this one is a no brainer across all jobs. With so many different people that make up a successful team it is important that you’re able to work cohesively. But also your role as a project manager is to make sure that your team is working well together. Ensuring that each side has what it needs from the other team to complete their job and that everyone is happy is very important!
If you want a soft launch into the world of Project Management, I would say The Apprentice. Though it may be exaggerated to make good tv, it shows you the fundamental parts of what good and mostly bad project management looks like.