Being a Project Manager is all about maintaining a consistent grasp on the every-day occurrences within the workplace, and accounting for every eventuality when working on a project. Each and every project that WDL take on is unique, and so there are a number of pitfalls that can plague the day-to-day.
It’s vital to any project’s success that everybody involved understands what’s required, including all goals and deliverables. It’s equally as imperative that the client is fully on board, and is willing to provide information and communicate effectively whenever required or requested by the project manager. A healthy, working relationship is key to ensuring that we deliver the best work we can.
It’s important that everything is outlined at the beginning of a project, in terms of the project itself and the way things are to be run from a project management perspective. Making it clear what level of involvement will be necessary from team members as well as clients from the very beginning should, in theory, alleviate the problem of poor or non-existent communication. It should also avoid the need for difficult conversations as a result of assumptions being made, both internally and by the client; assumptions can sometimes lead to disappointment.
From a project manager’s perspective, it is incredibly frustrating when the communication throughout a project is not up to scratch, and team members are not accountable for their shortfalls. Deadlines fall behind, a lot of time is spent chasing the necessary people and reordering internal schedules to accommodate the delays. This time is better spent elsewhere during a project’s duration and really could be avoided if everybody worked together sensibly.
Client input during a project is encouraged and appreciated when delivered in the correct way. It’s understandable that clients want to input at certain points through the duration of the project, they want to put their stamp on the project and really make it their own. However, it’s also important that trust is instilled in the client before a project even begins, so they know, that the project is under control. Clients should be able to trust and have faith that their project is in capable hands, listening to advice and suggestions from their chosen web agency as the project progresses. This is two-sided however, the chosen web agency must present confidence and extensive knowledge about a project whilst communicating with the client and discussing their business needs in terms of a new site in order to gain their trust. It can be frustrating when a client does not listen or appreciate recommendations or guidance as they are investing in a service given by a team of professionals but at the end of the day, ‘the client is always right’.
When it comes to client feedback on a particular piece of work, something to remember and relate to is the target audience for a particular business as they’re not necessarily going to have the same interests and preferences as the business owner. By all means, web agencies will strive to deliver something that the client is happy with but most will challenge their client when faced with comments about the aesthetics due to personal preference. It’s all about compromise in instances like this. Which leads us onto…
Whilst the ‘customer always knows best’ ethos will bleed into most client-facing positions, managing a project is largely about managing expectations, particularly when it comes to deadlines and resource deprivation. It is imperative that during our initial kick-off meeting with a client, deadlines are put into place that the clients are not only happy with, but that are also achievable from a production perspective. The last thing that we want to do is have to repeatedly put pressure on production staff to churn out a project, particularly as we pride ourselves on providing incredibly high standards of work. Achieving a successful balance between producing that high standard, whilst keeping an acceptable turnaround is an incredibly important step in the project management process.
It’s also important to inform clients well in advance if resources and additional information are going to be required in order to complete projects. For example content, or the information necessary in order to create effective written content, is something that may sometimes be a struggle to tie down, but without it, the project may get held up and other tasks may have to be delayed. Managing the expectations of the client and helping them to understand the importance of this information early on is the only way to prevent potential delay at a later stage.
Ultimately, whilst there are a number of hurdles to overcome within the project management process, an effective planning process and consistent organisation will help overcome the primary issues sooner rather than later.
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