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Project Management for Beginners: The Basics

What is Project Management?

Project management is everywhere! Whether you’re building a new home or planning a wedding, project management techniques are being used in one way or another. A project is something that you do to solve a particular problem or achieve a specific goal.

So what does a project manager do? Project management tasks include the entire process of scoping, planning, managing, and implementing these projects.

As a new client-facing account manager, I underestimated the number of curveballs that would be thrown in my direction. I understood that as an account manager, I am the connection between the agency and our clients. It’s my goal to oversee the agency-client relationship, determine client needs, and most importantly, provide valuable deliverables that meet client goals.

Where account management skills utilize important externally facing techniques, project management skills keep the wheels on the track internally. This can often seem like a chaotic process, but a few basic project management tips can go a long way in helping you to keep those balls in the air.

Achieving Goals

It’s the project manager’s job to stay on track, meet deadlines, and achieve goals. In order to do this, it’s important to understand what the goals of the project should be and what techniques will be used to get there. As an account manager,  it’s important to create plans in terms of dates and deadlines. However, project managers can take this a step further. Project management often concentrates on project resources, allocation of supplies, and the fine lines connecting all parts of a project internally.

Keeping Things Simple

Projects come in a variety of sizes. Whether you’re a team of two working for a small non-profit or an expert working with Agile at a Big Four law firm, it always helps to keep things as simple as possible. The project management techniques that you use can vary across the board, but keeping the steps clear along the way will help the entire team reach the finish line. Overcomplication can often lead to mistakes and multiple rounds of revisions in order to get things just right.

Understanding Team Roles

As the project manager, it’s your responsibility to keep the machine rolling. It is a project management best practice to first make sure you understand each person’s position within the project at hand. Depending on the size of the project, there can be many different people with many different assignments that all need to be completed to move forward. Understanding that an analyst and a designer are responsible for two entirely different aspects of the project will help you gain a better grasp of the overall project and assist with keeping everything on track.

Wearing Multiple Hats

We all understand that resource limitations are a real issue! Sometimes it’s our job as account managers to wear multiple hats in order to achieve client goals. Combining the skills of both an account manager and a project manager is a great tip for beginners. It’s a great way to solidify and consolidate the external and internal aspects of a project. This hybridization can be done in three steps.

  • Understanding client goals and desires
  • Knowing the capabilities of your team
  • Working with everyone involved until goals are met

Combining the skills of both an account manager and project manager will help your entire project meet client goals.

Interested in learning more about becoming a new account manager? Check out 5 Things I Learned as a New SEO Account Manager.