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Since joining Volcanic a year ago I’ve project-managed 60 websites - both recruitment websites and job boards. Given that the average project manager in the technology space delivers two projects a year, by my reckoning 60 websites amounts to 30 years’ work! Here are ten pieces of advice that I’ve learnt along the way…
1 - Don’t forget the basics
Key personality traits of a project manager include:
And you’ll need a pretty thick skin as things won’t always go to plan.
2 - Volcanic is pretty awesome to work for…
Working at Volcanic, there is never a dull moment. If you want a vibrant, fun and slightly crazy work-family look no further. From the table tennis to the beer fridge we always find time to have a little downtime.
3 - Knowing your product is vital
Strong product knowledge is key to being a good project manager in any field. Without knowing your product inside out, you won’t be able to deliver good customer service. No one can expect you to be an expert in every field - especially if you work for a fast growing and constantly innovating company like Volcanic, where change is our watchword - but a strong understanding is always a winner.
4 - Your client isn’t always right
Your client may hold the purse strings, but that doesn’t mean that they are always right. Don’t be afraid to say no - as long as you can justify your answer. If you come up with better options, people will value your opinion a lot more. It’s not always about playing the nice guy and agreeing to everything - which in the long run may actually damage a relationship!
5 - Customer relationships are vital
Never underestimate the power of a good customer relationship. A good relationship will let you relay difficult messaging and be allowed a second chance if plans should change. The key to building this is to ensure there are no surprises and that you are open from the start. Nothing will annoy a client more than being left in the dark.
6 - You don’t need to know everything
It's impossible to know everything, so don’t be afraid to tell your client you'll get back to them. You would rather be 100% right than guess a wrong answer which could lead you into difficulties further down the line. Ensure that you capture all the information requested and send out minutes to your client so everything is transparent.
7 - Development
No matter what age you are or stage you are in your career there is always room for improvement. You constantly pick things up along the way and being open to feedback will go a long way.
8 - This job isn’t easy
There is no such thing as an easy project, so don’t think otherwise. If you expect a 9-5, Monday to Friday job, then quit while you are ahead - you are going to have to put in the hours. It helps to be surrounded by a good and supportive team, lots of caffeine and positive people.
9 - Positivity
There is always a silver lining and an opportunity to look on the bright side. You can always find a solution to any issue, so develop staying power and never give up at the first hurdle. Ensure your team and clients understand the planning, creativity and expertise that have been put into a project and never let anyone undervalue you or your company.
10 - No day is the same
As a project manager, you should never expect every day to be the same. If you plan for all eventualities then you’ve done your best to iron out any bumps along the way. No matter how good your plan, there is always going to be something that doesn’t go quite your way. Try to ensure you foresee the unexpected and have a resolution in place.
And finally - enjoy it! Take every opportunity as a learning point. You’ll look back in a year and realise how far you’ve come - and that it’s all been well worth it.
Contact us to learn more about Volcanic’s leading websites and job boards, or if you’d like to join our team.