A day in a life of a Project Manager
We stalked Josie to find out what life is like for her at Tangent. Here is some insight into the good and not so glamourous parts of being part of this fun and fast digital agency.
What does an average Monday look like for you?
Mondays are normally manically busy, catching up with clients and planning out the week to come. Making sure that everyone's aware of deadlines that are going to be due in the following week and that everything is prepared for it.
How do you beat the Monday morning blues?
10 minutes reading and drinking coffee before I leave the house, relaxing before battling my way onto the Victoria line!
How did you get into this field of work?
A little by accident, I used to work in recruitment and recruited for some PM roles…they sounded interesting and I knew recruitment wasn't for me long term. A lot of the skills that you need as a PM (time-management, multi-tasking, communication) are also something that is relevant in recruitment so that led me down this path.
How do you manage expectations and opinions?
With honesty. Building up a relationship with your clients where they trust that you are making the right choices for them but being honest and upfront when something isn't working according to plan and changes need to be made. I have found that as long as you manage expectations early on, then the outcome tends to be more positive for both the agency and the client.
What are your go-to work tools?
My notepad and post-it note combo for my various to do lists and for developers to draw me pictures of APIs.
Why is diversity important to a team?
Different people from different backgrounds bring different skills and ideas to the table. It makes our team stronger to be so diverse.
How do you get things done without ruffling feathers?
Not sure that it is possible to get things done right without ruffling any feathers but as a general rule I have a pretty good relationship with all of my colleagues where we support each other. If we need to share resources to get things done then we help each other out.
What are the key ingredients to being good at what you do?
Patience: Which is something that I am working on. My line manager is a brilliant example for me in this!
Understanding: Trying to understand everyone's role and their point of view. Knowing that you are not a manager of people but a manager of projects, you need to work with your team trusting that they know what they are doing and want to succeed.
Organisation: Sometimes project management is a little like plate spinning - lots of things happening at once and you need to keep on top of all of them.
Communication: Varying your communication style to suit the person that you are talking to, whether they are clients or internal colleagues, the way to get the best from people is to communicate effectively.
Who is your role model and why
Alba Lopez: Alba is my line manager and has been great at introducing me to the world of project management, teaching me how to use a range of different project management software but also how best to work with my team and my clients. She has helped me develop my knowledge and confidence in knowing that I am doing my job well. She has become one of my close friends and has great judgement professionally but she is definitely wrong about who will die in our Game of Thrones sweepstake :)
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you at Tangent?
Accidentally turning up to the Christmas party in matching fancy dress with two of my colleagues.
What’s the silliest sick or leave excuse someone has given you?
I need to go home and wait for a parcel, Amazon just called me…I have never met anyone before or since this who has received a phone call from Amazon!
What advice would you give someone considering this career path?
Research the role. Project management can be applied in many different fields/environments. Construction project management and digital project management are two very different things, you need to be interested in the end product that you are creating.
If you choose digital project management…prepare to be overwhelmed. The digital world is a wonderfully confusing mess of acronyms and seemingly made up words. A year ago, I had no idea what I had walked myself into and now I know far more than I ever intended to about the magical worlds of APIs, Java and databases.
Work on your stress management techniques and make sure that a fast-paced environment suits you. We work in a very fluid industry, where plans need to be able to change overnight (even if you have spent months working on that plan!).
Be prepared to challenge yourself every day there's lots to learn and lots to do all the time, it is never dull but can be overwhelming if you don't take a step back.
Don't take failure personally - regardless if you plan things down to the very finest detail, digital is a very fickle friend.
However, if you choose digital you will be at the forefront of developing technologies and be able to take pride in the visual work that you produce.
You will work with some of the best people from all walks of life.