If you work with a large agency on a website project, there’s probably a devoted project manager. Project managers are great for coordinating work between clients and consultants, setting expectations for projects, keeping both sides of a project up-to-date, and managing decision-making processes.
The best consultants do the same:
Maintaining forward momentum on a project is one of the best services you can offer clients. #freelancelife
— Mark Root-Wiley (@MRWweb) August 14, 2014
However, even the best project manager can’t guarantee that a project will run smoothly if your organization can’t quickly and clearly communicate and make decisions. NTEN, a membership organization of nonprofit technology staff and consultants that I belong to, has a great article on how to make your tech projects run smoothly.
Their first tip is to appoint a “project manager” for your side of the project. That’s something I require of all organizations that work with me. There needs to be a single point person who can collect feedback, answer questions, and speak for the organization:
Identify a project manager in your organization – one person who will “own” the project and be responsible for communicating directly with the vendor, and keeping things moving. Make sure they have the time and resources they need to do a good job, because they’ll be key to keeping track of all the moving parts. [emphasis added]
As the article notes, it’s important that your internal project manager is given adequate time to do this new temporary job that may be rather time-intensive at times. If that means off-loading some of their normal responsibilities for a time, do it.
What are other ways you or your organization compensate for projects that don’t have a devoted project manager? If you’re a consultant, what other tips do you offer your clients?