Do You Really Need A Project Manager? - Plug & Play
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by Gabrielle Richardson

At Plug and Play, we typically charge 15% of the total project fees for a dedicated project manager to oversee your project. When prospective clients see this on a proposal document they often say that they are happy to liaise with each member of the team as and when they need to and don’t need the extra resource. We are regularly asked: ‘Is Project Management Worth It?’ As Operations Manager at Plug and Play, I obviously think it is.

project management

Unifying Stakeholders

Even the smallest, simplest website has a lot of moving parts. There’s the website structure, the way it looks, the way it works, what it says and how it performs. That means that at the minimum, a designer, a developer, a digital marketing expert and most importantly, you, are involved in getting the website live.

On larger projects there will likely be more than one designer, a specialist frontend developer, a backend developer, a devops engineer, a QA test analyst and a digital marketing expert. Each of these people focuses on their own section of the project and although they all want the website to be the best it possibly can be, without someone considering the whole picture, pieces of the puzzle can get missed.

Designers are focused on creating beautiful design and developers are interested in clever, exciting code. A Project Manager, however, is interested in delivering a website that meets your goals and expectations on time and on budget. Having someone who doesn’t lose sight of this throughout the project is invaluable.

A Project Manager is aware of what everyone involved in the project is doing, and when. The design team aren’t necessarily aware of what the development team has planned for tomorrow because they are busy creating innovative new designs. With one person overseeing what everybody involved in the project is doing and when they are doing it, missed deadlines are less likely.

Keeping you informed

Everybody involved in the project knows how their part of the project is progressing. The Project Manager knows where each part of the project is and what needs to happen next to ensure progress. They are also available at the end of the phone to answer your questions, talk through your thoughts and keep you updated on progress. Whilst they can

Believe it or not, the biggest blocker to getting a website complete is you. Our process is very much a collaborative one: we believe that whilst we know what works best in web and digital you are always going to know more than us about your business, your clients and your industry.

We collaborate with you at the start of the project and have regular touch points throughout the project to gain your insight and feedback. This requires a fair amount of time spend from your side: attending meetings, reviewing progress and providing feedback and sign off. A Project Manager oversees this process: making sure we’ve got the next meeting or call booked in, chasing you for feedback and ensuring that everyone is doing what they should be. We use a tool called Basecamp to keep track of project discussions, files and tasks and Smartsheet for creating project plans.

Experience

How often do you redesign your website? For most of our clients, it’s once every few years, but many people we work with have never been involved in a web build project. Our Project Managers have worked on website projects of all shapes and sizes and understand why the process we follow works. They will guide you through what’s happening next, when and why. Drawing on experience from previous projects: both good experiences and bad means that with every website we do, we get better.

Managing Change and Risk

Change is inevitable on website projects. As we delve into requirements and start working through concepts for new site structure, designs and functionality it always raises ideas and questions about “what the website could do.” Designers and developers know what they are delivering for their part of the project, but often don’t know the intricacies of how the pieces fit together. A Project Manager has a clear understanding of the scope of work and will incorporate change requests into the team’s workflow; keeping you informed as to how this affects budget and time frames.

Risk is an ever present factor on web build projects because technology and requirements move very quickly. A Project Manager will work with the team, determining where the risks are and how to mitigate against them; whether it’s by tackling them first, involving another member of the team with experience in that area or by closely monitoring workflow to check how how it’s progressing.

Get in touch today to find out more about project budgets, time frames and how we can ensure your new website build runs as smoothly as possible.

  • Gabrielle Richardson

    Gabrielle Richardson

    Operations Manager