31420  plate spinner
Published: 17 November 2014 When I first meet anyone and they get to the dreaded question “So what do you do for a job?” I take a deep breath and then utter the words “I am a digital project manager”. Most of the time it is answered with blank stares, some nodding of heads or, on rare occasions the question “Well what is a digital project manager? I thought a project manager was only needed on building site.” So do I wear a hard hat? No but sometimes I want to!  

My role is to make sure that the project runs on budget, is delivered on time and that everyone involved, especially the client is happy. Simple huh?  

Sometimes it is a breeze and the client knows exactly what they want, when they want it, there is a defined brief with no ambiguity and the project runs like a dream. The client signs off the specification on time, the design is what they envisaged, they approve it and before you know it the project is complete and it is smiles all round.  

Others are a different story. The client has an idea of what they want, but is not sure what it is. After the brief and specification is complete there are further objectives to be added or a new stakeholder who envisioned it in a different way. So it is back to the drawing board for an amended specification and once that is agreed the project needs to be re-quoted. This is where a change request is introduced which confirms the impact on the project, be it an increase or decrease to scope, budget or even resourcing. Once that is agreed it is back to the project and then we start to see how it can fit back into the schedule.  

To take what the client wants, translate it across into a technical spec, then to translate it back for the client is not always clear. I am however always learning and extending my knowledge while helping a client.

There are so many parts to a project that sometimes I feel like a plate spinner in a circus!  

But that is why I love my job. It is always a challenge to get a team of different people, with different skill sets, levels of understanding to work together and to get the finished product complete. Not to forget about all of the other work thrown at them from different places on a day to day basis.  

So what is a Digital Project Manager? It is the one person person who is ultimately responsible for all parts of a project, the one who is pulling their hair out in private while keeping a smile on their face when things seem to be going wrong.  Making sure projects get back on track with the least amount of affect to the client and that is why I sometimes need a hard hat!
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