Good question. It seems that in my inevitable evolution, which I began as a web designer, has morphed me into a project manager. I’m not talking about the resource planning, gantt chart wielding PMs that push year-long projects through numerous teams containing numerous people. I’ve become more of the small team coordinating, online tool using PM that gets web sites built with a small group of designers and developers.
Like I said, I didn’t start out this way. I entered my professional career as a web designer, fresh out of college with a degree in graphic design and an online portfolio. Naturally, I figured that if I was going to design the web sites I should be able to build them as well. After learning how to write server-side code, design and build databases, and do a few sys admin tricks, I was on my way to becoming a web developer.
Now i’m designing web sites and cranking out code and wondering where to go from here. Our project manager suggested I take on managing a few projects. And since we develop Intervals, an online project management tool built for web designers and developers like myself, it seemed like a pretty good idea.
The project management gig is easier than I thought it would be. I’m already detail-oriented and task-driven to begin with, so it was mostly a matter of including others in the fold of my day-to-day workflow. Of course, having all of my projects in one central location and co-managing them with a an online PM tool like Intervals made the transition smooth.
I was used to managing a team of one. Taking on the responsibility for a small team of designers and developers was scary at first, but once I established routine forms of communication things became easier. The same was true for clients. Projects were easier to keep under budget and launch on time when the client was in the loop.
What does a web designer, like me, know about project management? I know how to keep everyone up-to-date, how to keep communications open, and the importance of tracking everything. If I can be a project manager, so can you, with the right tools and a little effort.