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Project Management: More than Meets the Eye

Written by Alex Rodger on 22 Dec 15
Project Management: More than Meets the Eye

There’s more to Project Management than just being an exceptional organiser. We caught up with our Senior Project Manager, Alex, to find out more about the challenges delivering some of the biggest projects at 4MAT

To me, Project Management (PM) is all about managing expectations and getting things done. Of course, there are numerous elements to this role, but it all boils down to the delicate balance of managing multiple projects, communicating with your clients, and at the end of the day, getting stuff done!

Project Management: the Process

Project Management at 4MAT starts with a sale. When a deal comes in, we’ll meet with someone from the Client Development Team and they’ll hand the project over to us. 

This involves discussing everything that we know about the client, so that we can begin to understand what the end product will look like, and what is and isn’t included in the project scope. 
Next comes the introductory call, where we introduce ourselves to the client and answer any questions that they’ve got, while talking them through the next steps.

Following this, we’ll do the official kick-off meeting with the client’s stakeholders.

This is where we really nail down the brief and discuss the key elements of the project. This covers deliverables, time frames and the scope of the project, along with the critical project success factors of deadlines and sign offs.

We’ll typically take the design brief, at the same time as this kick-off, and follow up with any actions that arise out of this session.

The next step is booking in time with the Creative and Development Team, to ensure that we have enough resources to deliver every stage of the project ahead of deadline.

From there, it’s all systems go, but our job in the PM team is really only getting started. We can expect regular client communications, organisation of different departments and troubleshooting for the duration of the project.

What makes 4MAT Project Management different?

Our team aren’t just expert organisers. We’re tech-savvy and trained in using DV4 - 4MAT’s core product - which helps us to quickly identify and resolve issues without needing to escalate them. 

That’s one of the things that sets 4MAT apart.We have a fantastic level of autonomy while being surrounded by incredibly skilled and hard-working people across Marketing, Sales, Development and Design, which gives us a real edge!

This hands-on approach means that everyone in the PM team understands website testing and DV4. We don’t all start out with this expert knowledge, but the business is quick to equip us with the necessary skills and tools to bring us up to speed. 

One example of this is the PRINCE2 qualification, which all our Project Managers have. If we take on new hires who don’t have this certification, 4MAT will put them through the programme.

We’re also really eager to improve efficiency, starting with identifying where resources are being used and how we could be using them better in the future.

We use a piece of software called  Accelo to plan out resources and budgets, which allows us to keep a really close eye on how we’re using our time, which is essential in Project Management.

Highlights and Challenges

The biggest challenge of Project Management is balancing all the different elements of a project and ensuring that, not only everything gets done, but that it gets done ahead of time according to our own (and our clients’) high expectations.

We need to ensure that all elements of the business work cohesively together to deliver our end goals, which is why it’s important to have a good understanding of what everyone does and how everything works. 

It’s also vital to balance time and energy across different projects and clients. This means that you need to be constantly aware of all particulars, especially budgets. 

As for the highlights, there are plenty! We deliver websites that are genuinely awesome and it’s a great experience, to not only add value for clients, but also see the positive results of their new websites first-hand. 

At 4MAT we’re given the opportunity to work on big brands and a broad scope of clients. There’s also scope for career progression, with four different job levels within the PM team. 

Whether you’re an Account Executive, Junior Project Manager, Project Manager or Senior Project Manager, you’re given plenty of autonomy and the chance to really take ownership of projects and clients. 

Do you have what it takes?

The key attribute of a good Project Manager is the ability to maintain exceptional organisational skills while maintaining a calm and collected exterior. The role has a high element of pressure, at times, so it’s essential to remain pragmatic and focused. You must like dealing with people and you have to be a bit of an agile thinker. 

This means that our Project Managers and Account Executives often have to approach client requests creatively – meaning that when something isn’t possible, we can offer alternative solutions.

For more information on Project Management at 4MAT, check out our team profiles here and to discover exactly what happens, check out "A Day in the Life of a Project Manager."
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