Digital Project Managers: Liaisons of Organization, Even in the Cloud

    Project managers (PMs) often feel like the stepparent of an ongoing project. They help keep the process on track, ensure the budget is followed and get the project finished (hopefully) on time. Their jobs aren’t to create anything, though, so they feel like an outsider—not the owner of the product or a creator. What do they have to show for their work? But truly, without someone supervising all these aspects from the outside, many projects would veer off course, cost thousands more than they needed to, and never be finished on time. Project management provides a strict set of disciplines and the project manager is the one person who tries to keep each person on the team in line with Gantt charts, tasks and timelines.

    Digital project managers do the same thing, only their work seems even more nebulous. Keeping web-based and digital projects on track involves similar skills, but even the end-product isn’t able to be touched or felt. It’s all created online, in the cloud, and on the computer.

    When a company needs to hire a digital PM, they may consider repurposing a job description for a regular project manager. However, they may need to consider the additional needs the role requires. As a fairly new area of project management, digital PMs use the same types of skills and tools. They just need to have a deeper understanding of the difficulties associated with creating digital products. They deal often with programmers and developers and graphic artists. Their tools are mostly computer- or cloud-based, and tasks are performed online or on the network. Digital PMs must still possess management skills, superior communication capabilities (both in person and via email and other digital formats), and the ability to create rapport with clients and the team. 

    In our IT Downloads section, you can find a complete job description for a digital project manager. This document contains a description of the role, examples of tasks, and a list of requirements. According to the PDF, successful candidates for a digital PM role should have skills such as:

    • Bachelor’s degree
    • 5+ years of experience in web/digital/interactive project management
    • Experience with MS Project, At Task, or other PM software
    • Knowledge of the software development life cycle
    • Familiarity with content management systems

    The job description can be downloaded and used as is, but the hiring manager should probably add more company-specific details to help applicants better understand their role and what would be expected of them on the job.

    Kim Mays has been editing and writing about IT since 1999. She currently tackles the topics of small to midsize business technology and introducing new tools for IT. Follow Kim on Google+ or Twitter.

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