Project Management in Today’s Modern Workplace

Scheffey colleagues looking at a computer screen
A lot of people ask me what I do as a Project Manager at a marketing agency, especially since I didn’t have any marketing experience prior to working at Scheffey. The truth is, I have my hands in just about everything, and I’m proud to say that I help keep everything moving as efficiently as possible. I don’t necessarily need to know all of the details about marketing (although I have learned plenty in the 4 years that I’ve been here), but you’d better believe that I am extremely organized and obsessed with the details. That’s where it starts.

If your company doesn’t have a Project Manager or someone overseeing the various tasks and deadlines, I highly recommend you find that person. Even if you have a small team, designate one person who has the capacity to add these important roles to his or her work schedule. Trust me, it will be worth it. As the modern workplace evolves, it’s important to add this to the top of your business goals for 2020.

If this is something new for your business, or if you just need a refresher, I’ve compiled a list of a few important tips for your Project Manager. In all honesty, this just skims the surface, but my hope is that it gets you thinking in a more process-like manner that can benefit you and your team for your future success.

1. Stay Positive to Encourage Your Team

This seems obvious, but I can’t overstate the importance of staying positive…which is why it’s #1 on my list. Staying positive and encouraging teammates helps them with the success of their workday. For more insight on why I think this is so important, read my blog Positive Energy in the Workplace: Why It Really Matters.

It’s also imperative that you create a positive relationship with your coworkers so they can easily approach you with questions, concerns, and suggestions. You need to be the reliable, go-to person to keep things running smoothly. Keeping communication open and honest is the best place to start. However, there is a fine line between doing too much and not enough to help team members’ confidence and productivity. It’s important to define that line early on. As a Project Manager with an “open-door policy,” you’re going to be interrupted a lot. Have a process in place to efficiently multitask and stay on track.

2. Get to Know Your Coworkers’ Personalities and Work Preferences

No matter your company’s size, you will have a wide range of personalities amongst your peers. Here at Scheffey, we have creative minds, analytical minds, and everything in between. Every personality works differently, and it’s important to learn how each person works to effectively manage the projects that come their way.

For example, creative minds might be offended if you give them TOO much direction on something because they may feel limited. Alternatively, very literal people will need as much information as possible for them to do their task. In time, it’s important to learn these personalities and be able to adapt accordingly. When in doubt, have a conversation with your teammates to see how they prefer to work, and come up with a plan on what’s best for your team.

Getting to know your teammates and encouraging collaboration will incidentally create better communication. Better communication results in higher efficiency.

3. Get a Project Management Software and Get Everyone On Board. Immediately.

The key to managing an efficient task-oriented team is having a Project Management Software that the ENTIRE team uses. Gone are the days of instructive post-it notes being passed around the office. For an agency like ours that has many different clients and tasks every day, a more professional system is a necessity for our productivity. Do the research and find which one is best for your needs.

Using a Project Management Software can be intimidating at first, and it will likely be a big adjustment for most people. But, once everyone is on board and working together, they will quickly see the benefit. As the Project Manager, it’s important to be the process guru and to encourage everyone to embrace the new system.

A Project Management Software can help you with the following:

• Project Kickoff – Having details together in one place and setting a comprehensive schedule is a time-saving win for everyone.
• Project Updates – Easily check in for project updates and statuses. As a Project Manager, you should always know where a project stands, and it should be easy to find the answer when you need it.
• Communication – Keep a log of internal communication that can easily be referenced in the future.
• Scheduling – Keep track of important deadlines and project milestones with delegated tasks. There is no guessing on expectations when the schedule is set and can be seen by everyone. This allows you to hold teammates accountable for what is on their plate.
• Improve Remote Working – In today’s busy world, there are going to be days when people need to work from home. Having software that encourages collaboration allows teammates to work effectively without feeling detached from the rest of the team.

4. Learn from Mistakes and Build New Processes Around Them

We are only human, and as much as I would love to say that we never make mistakes here at Scheffey, well that’s just not realistic. We certainly do everything we can to avoid them and we have processes in place to catch errors before they become an issue. But, when they do happen, it’s important to identify them, discuss them as a team, and learn from them. This is the perfect opportunity to put a new process in place. Come up with a plan to address the issue, present it to the team, and stick with it. Easier said than done, I know. But it’s important to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the new process and tweak as needed.

5. Evaluate the Project: Before, During, and After

It’s important to gather all of the details before a project starts. You don’t want anything delaying a project that could have been identified earlier. During a project, it’s important to continually evaluate the success, timeline, budget, and any other factor that could play a role in the final outcome. You don’t want any surprises at the end of a project. For large, complex projects, I highly recommend scheduling a debrief meeting with the entire team. This is a great opportunity to review successes, challenges, and have a candid discussion that could benefit future projects. Take detailed notes that can be referenced in the future. Each project should be a valuable learning tool for future successes.

Here at Scheffey, having a specific person overseeing all project details has proven to be very helpful in the success of our business and ultimately in our relationships with clients. Interested in learning how Scheffey can help your business? Read about our wide range of services and contact us today to get the conversation started.