The Inaugural Digital Project Management Summit

The Inaugural Digital Project Management Summit

Earlier this month, The Bureau of Digital Affairs held the very first Digital Project Management Conference, giving me the opportunity to meet other digital Project Managers like myself. It also gave me the chance, of course, to bring home some new tricks and tips to better do my job – Project Manager at Porter Novelli, where I work on a bevy of projects for the Platforms team –  and help the teams whose projects I help manage.

Our chosen field is young and our community still developing. We have a lot to teach and learn from each other, and more importantly bring these lessons and tools back to our teams and our clients.

You may be thinking to yourself “But Jen, I’m not a Project Manager. Why should I keep reading about this?”  To an extent, we are all tasked with some form of project management on a daily basis. Whether you are agency or client-side, we all have to manage and exceed expectations, deliver on-time and on-budget, motivate our teams and cultivate quality. So I say, formal PM or not, we have something to teach each other!

Digital Project Management Summit 2013

  • What: DPM2013 (#DPM2013)
  • Where: Philly’s own WHYY Studios (Public Broadcasting Radio Station)
  • Why: To Share, Learn, and be an overall better Project Manager
  • How: Through a series of keynote discussions, open forums, lightning talks, and a whole lot of schmoozing

I attended talks. I took copious hand-cramping amounts of notes. I learned a LOT. I related to folks. Most importantly, I took it home with me to share. Below are some of the overarching lessons that I gleaned from these folks and I challenge you to think about and integrate them into your processes:

  • Ask Questions – Keep asking why until you get to the crux of what is needed.
  • Be Patient – Reiterate process, follow-up, be a resource to your team and your client
  • Set Expectations – Relationships are two-way streets, reciprocation is key
  • Establish Roles – We are oftentimes teams of specialists. So trust your team and don’t expect to have all of the answers
  • Project Management is like air quality – if you can see it, it’s probably killing you
  • PM’s need to have emotional intelligence and be strategic thinkers, motivators, likeable, and brave
  • Be a Cheerleader – things get really stressful, so don’t forget
  • Don’t Ignore Difficult Conversations – Just do it . Stay open and honest
  • Follow-Up, Follow-Up, Follow-Up
  • Do not make your process your client’s problem – As opposed to the path that delivers the best possible outcome
  • Bring Snacks – Have Fun!
  • Being a client is REALLY hard! – Many Clients DON’T have dedicated time for projects. So be empathetic
  • Educate Your Clients – When you step into the room with a client, you are a visitor from the future. It is up to you to explain IN-DETAIL everything that they are to expect
  • Always do the right thing – And everything will work out in the end…keep doing the right thing until you get there.
  • ALWAYS GET CLIENT FEEDBACK – really listen, learn, and change.

This summit was a game-changer for me. It corroborated why I love to do what I do, how we can make projects better and clients happier, and will eventually lead to some more industry standardization in the future.