Project Manager

What is it like to be a Project Manager?

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Introduction

Scroll through the job listing pages of a professional networking platform (like Naukri or LinkedIn) and you will come across this coveted job description! The title of a Project manager has become a very popular designation to have and many people are vying for this respected role. The requirement of the Project Management job description is no doubt very interesting, but it is also one of the most challenging job functions companies have on record. There is a grave misconception around it; everybody thinks that they can become a Project Manager (PM), however, sadly that’s not the case.

At Lollypop Design Studio, Project Managers are one step ahead of the curve. They act like business owners and are responsible for the end-to-end execution of the projects we deliver. They handle the smooth functioning between different services like Design UX/UI), Research, FED and Usability Testing which are very subjective and speculative. To tackle these dynamic responsibilities on a day to day basis, we require our project managers to be agile and responsive at all times. They require a wide variety of skills to tackle people and technology at the same time.

In this blog, we will glance through a few important traits that Project Managers cannot do without:

Domain Expertise

Project Managers should be aware of all the aspects of the business here at Lollypop. For starters, there are 5 main domains here, namely Sales, Research, User Experience, User Interface, and Development. Our process flow ranges from knowledge gathering and data structuring to competitive analysis and eventual strategy based decision making. Project managers have to work with members of different teams to make sure that the work gets done on time. They also equip themselves with a certain amount of domain expertise so that they can troubleshoot and fix errors wherever necessary. In addition, at Lollypop, PMs stay updated with current affairs of the ever-evolving market to help the teams with our everyday tasks.

Clients are our best friends

Client Management is another key aspect of the project management role. Many times, we face a time crunch in design delivery or face obstacles in translating the designs/frameworks we develop to the end client. In these times, the PM steps in and takes the call,- whether to alter the design or to further persuade the client to see our value proposition better. Our PMs display exemplary soft skills to balance their understanding of the client requirements and the team’s vision. They have to be good negotiators and strong team players to step in and do a difficult job wherever needed. Project managers should have the ability to read the room and decide accordingly.

Manage diverse roles

Let's admit it – Our roles are very diverse. A day in a PM’s life at Lollypop Design Studio is unlike anyone else’s. Sometimes they have client meetings for hours on end, trying to get approval on designs. Other days they coordinate between different functional leads to generate seamless output. There are some very challenging days on the job where the client throws all the design plans out of the window and we have to start from scratch. On those days, they sit and brainstorm other variations of the design that the client may like. And hence, the cycle of planning, proposing and executing continues. Most PMs start their day with a stand-up meeting with the team, during which they gather inputs and updates from each team member for each of the ongoing projects. They lay out the plan for the day and ask them to complete them by the end of the day. No two projects are the same - especially when a client is involved.

Deliverables and Timelines

Design is subjective. Therefore, it’s not always possible to predict the problems that can arise. Project managers at Lollypop are involved in the project from the initial strategy days to build a robust framework of operation. Following this plan of action reduces lags and delays in the design process. At Lollypop, PMs are committed and skilled to manage multiple projects and take our commitments to the clients seriously. The deliverables are not exclusive, so we plan our projects well so that the timelines are managed expertly and efficiently.

Managing Business Risk

Risks are part and parcel of a Project Manager’s life. At Lollypop, we have a risk repository that contains historical data of all the risks from completed projects. This past data helps us analyze and identify potential risks and find ways to mitigate them. At the planning and strategy stage, PMs use these previously identified risks to make accurate projections for lags in timelines and redundancies for the future. Ensuring that the variables are handled in a separate and efficient manner is a must. Mitigating project-specific risk and keeping the projects on track is a key function of the PM’s role in our company.

Bridging gaps between clients and stakeholders

At far as the management is concerned, Project Managers are solely responsible for fulfilling a particular project. There is often a gap between the strategic plan in place for any given project and the daily agenda of the employees. It is the PM’s duty to ensure that every plan involved with the project should be aligned to the larger goal in place. As far as client interaction goes, the success of the projects depends on the well-tracked variables. This builds trust in our working partnership because the client knows that they can count on us for delivering value and giving them the best ROI for their design project.

Conclusion

Lollypop Design is a dynamic firm that provides us a platform to learn, execute, enhance our skills to the fullest. It gives opportunities and trust by granting us complete liberty to make decisions. The Project Manager’s role within our team is like that of a team leader, we manage many different people who perform very different tasks to make sure that the work is done to the best of our collective abilities and the client is delighted by our association. I feel empowered and satisfied here!

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