digital project manager

The digital project manager: when the project meets the web

What is the Digital Project Manager? It is quickly explained!

Nowadays, our routine goes in parallel with the digital world, we are connected 24 hours a day and – almost – anything is possible thanks to the Internet.

The work itself is largely digital.

For these reasons, the figure of the digital project manager is born, a specialist who knows the online business and knows the modern tools for managing online projects.

A digital project manager is not so different from a traditional project manager.

Even a digital project manager, in fact, manages tasks related to projects, such as the planning of the project, the communication with stakeholders, the management of the team and, of course, the delivery of projects within the deadline and without exceeding the given budget.

The difference is that they work in the digital space.

digital project manager

A digital space that is growing day by day and that offers ever more performing instruments.

One might think of the digital project manager as an exclusive figure for high-tech and software companies, but this is not the case.

Digital impregnates our lives, we are increasingly connected and this hyper-connectivity and hypertechnology becomes more “normal” every day.

Almost all commercial companies now have an online presence, that they try to improve and take care of.

Many people are beginning to understand that the presence on the web is no less important than a physical presence, like a branch of the company or the company itself.

This is the work space in which the digital project manager moves: a space of innovation, but no longer futuristic.

His figure is every day more requested by the market and its importance in a company that faces the web or intends to improve its online presence is increasingly essential.

Any company that pushes sales through its website, through search engine optimization, newsletters, social media marketing and copywriting may want to seek the help of a digital project manager.

The digital project manager: What does he exactly do?

The projects of a digital project manager work similarly to any other project, but we can find subtle differences.

Digital project management usually follows these five steps:

  1. Discovery: the idea generation stage, in which new concepts or new technologies are explored, solutions are identified and risks assessed;
  2. Project planning;
  3. Production: work in concrete;
  4. Distribution: that is, the work of evaluating and analyzing the product of the project, for example, a social media marketing campaign;
  5. Maintenance: the digital project rarely has a definitive ending, but remains open for corrections and re-elaborations throughout its life. For example, a social media marketing campaign, while active, can be directed to another target audience, can be modified in the image, etc. depending on the results of the data analysis.

The digital project manager will assess the risks, plan the work and coordinate the tasks, direct the team and maintain the project “on time”.

He is also involved in the business development process that will go hand in hand with the brand and business development on the web.

In addition to managing the team and the project, these new digital managers have to deal directly or indirectly with customers and their needs.

Indeed, their relationship with the customer could have more influence than that of the sales team.

In fact, they will collect the “humor” of the customers, perceive their desires and direct the company management towards choices that could prove decisive for the business development.

What are the tools and skills required to be a good Digital Project Manager?

The set of skills and competences required for a digital project manager will be slightly different than those of the traditional project manager.

We can list the following:

  • CMS – Content Management System: software that allows the management of web content, without the need to use the webmaster. These changes can be made directly by the digital project manager, thus freeing developers who can concentrate on more complicated tasks;
  • Information Architecture: structure and categorization of information, content and digital processes;
  • Analytics: digital project managers need to know how to analyze and use data collected from tools such as Google Analytics. The data obtained are in fact fundamental for understanding and correcting the performance of the website;
  • HTML: this competence allows the digital project manager to perform some programming jobs personally, allowing developers to concentrate on more complex tasks;
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): being able to position your website in the first results of Google and search engines in general is crucial for online success. The digital project manager must know all the SEO tools that allow to promote the site in the best possible way;
  • Social media: these are used by a company mainly to drive traffic to their site and to improve brand awareness and online reputation. Knowing platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is therefore essential for a digital project manager.

Job Description

Digital project managers are responsible for managing digital projects, which may include, for example, the launching of websites, online tools, applications for mobile devices, social media advertising campaigns and more.

They are experts in technology and innovation, with a deep knowledge of how technology works in order to achieve business objectives.

Digital project managers are methodical, have excellent time management and communication skills, both personal and online, and effectively manage projects respecting the requirements of quality, time and budget.

This involves drafting supporting documentation, such as risk analysis and plan and requirements specifications, to ensure that actual progress is in line with planned progress.

Digital project managers highlight risks and develop plans to tackle, stem and proactively solve these problems when and if they occur during the project life cycle.

In addition to risk management, they will also always be looking for business opportunities to explore in new potential projects.

Another task includes the creation of effective communication channels with the team and with stakeholders.

Gaining consensus on the project and ensuring that all the activities delegated to them are clear is one of their main objectives.

A digital project manager must also have great adaptability.

The digital space can present big changes every day and without warning and flexibility and a high spirit of adaptation are therefore fundamental.

Last but not least, the digital project manager must possess a technical and marketing language, but at the same time must understand and speak the language of the people of the web.

Speaking the right “language” will help the digital project manager better understand what online customers say, in order to contribute to the conversation and effectively communicate messages to others.

Are you a digital project manager? What are your digital projects?

Tell us about your experience.

Start managing your digital project.

Collaborative working environment: the Gandalf way to success

If you have to get inspiration about collaborative working, think big: Gandalf, CEO of The Fellowship of the Ring Startup, has been probably the best ever…

The Fellowship Collaborative Work System of the Ring

The Collaborative Working Environment entry on Wikipedia quotes the Michael Beyerlein definition of collaboration:

the collective work of two or more individuals where the work is undertaken with a sense of shared purpose and direction, that is attentive and responsive to the environment.

In The Fellowship of the Ring you have a couple of individuals with a great project in their mind.

Gandalf: a not so young hipster more interested in books and pipe-weed when he literally stumble on the next big thing.

Aragorn: the last heir of a company that has seen its better days more than 3 thousand years before.

Despite mistakes, with different skills and a great team they will make what will become the best case history ever in Middle Earth…

Starting up a start-up: do the right mix

The Fellowship of the Ring starts up at the Elrond’s Council. It’s like the start of a new project, a project that involves different “departments” (the Free Peoples of Middle Earth).

Sometimes it happens: the departments see themselves not as parts of a whole, but as… well: gangs.

This attitude can destroy a project. This attitude could also destroy a company.

You have the Elves. The IT guys. You have the Dwarves: administration. I’d say that Hobbits are the web marketing department: they had drinkabouts ages before the 3 Beards, they are definitely “social networkers”.

And then you have humans. Basically, the humans can be whatever they want. Probably they are the sales department, but they can be at ease with Elves, Hobbits and Dwarves.

The “departments” at Elrond’s start up meeting don’t like each other. The greatness of Gandalf as project manager is to understand that the project is doomed without a great team working and, even more important, to share that vision with the “departments”. It’s all about motivation. If you have motivation you have a good team, if you really have a team, it can manage crisis…

 

Crisis management: disruption and lack of knowledge

Disrupt* got turned into a misused and overused buzzword in the startups environment. Everything is probably fine if someone else is using it for you. But if you use it for yourself, it just seems that something has gone wrong and you are trying to tell that the “wrong” was on purpose…

Anyway: a good team can face disruption. And can you imagine something more disruptive than the fall of Gandalf at Khazad-dûm, or the death of Boromir and the breaking of the Fellowship?

Again, what matters is the team: the get the f*ing job done attitude. If Gandalf has been a great CEO / Team Manager, Aragorn is a great Co-Founder / CTO. He is where he is needed when he is needed . He is definitely disruptive when it is needed (the Paths of the Dead) and he has another quality that is so much needed in management: he doesn’t fight battles that he can’t win (leaving Frodo and Sam to their own… task).

The Frodo and Sam voyage to Mount Doom can tell us another important thing: something about knowledge sharing. Nowadays you don’t need to send a Great Eagle to get info. Nevertheless, if the team is not working in the right way, it can happen that you feel like Frodo and Sam after the destruction of the Ring: lost and clueless about the future.

You can have the best management tool, you can put lots of stuff in it, but team members are humans, and you have to stay human when you have to deal with them, even more if the team can meet only virtually: communication within the team is the key to make it work, not to find a scapegoat…