As large numbers of organizations are going digital these days, there is a huge demand for digital project managers. They need a huge number of project managers who are well trained and skilled to deliver projects.
As a general rule, Project Management is both an art and science to plan, initiate, manage, execute, and deliver projects on time. The digital project management also means the same. The only difference is that it works on digital aspects.
Any project which involves a digital part like an app, website, social media, software, a digital campaign, etc. is known as a digital project. It can be partially digital like delivering a website while running its offline marketing campaign or completely digital (like social media or SEO).
Hence, a digital project manager is a professional who is responsible to ensure the smooth running of a digital project. The Digital Project Manager can work with contractors, clients, stakeholders in house and a project team, and ensure that the project meets their specific goals within budget and the stipulated timeframe.
Simply speaking, a digital project manager has many responsibilities. He or she has to work as a communicator, business analyst, a manager, a leader, a people’s person, and a strategist. Sometimes, they also do technical or creative roles. They plan, assign tasks, look for improvement areas, and track employees’ performance. In short, their work is based on people.
From the first morning email they send to the last task they delegate at the end of the day, a digital project manager also serves as a leader. By considering the strengths and weaknesses of their team, digital project managers motivate them through tough times and help them reach their desired goals.
By considering those roles and responsibilities, a digital project manager must have the following skills to make any project successful –
1. UI/UX design and User Experience
One of the most required skills needed is the knowledge of UI/UX design and User experience. Let’s put it into details, UX design is having a technical know-how of user experience design, while UI design stands for user interface design. These two skills are used closed together in any IT platform. As a project manager you need these skills to help you perform your duties. There roles of UI and UX are different despite being very integral to one another. Both of them involves different distinct processes hence it’s important that you know how to use both as a project manager.
Content is the king and always will be. Having a content writing and editing skill can make you a valuable asset for your company. No matter how many members you have added in your team, time is limited. Whether you are writing a blog for your company, a brief for your design team, or sending email to a client, you must have sound writing skills.
You should also have great editing skills. In case you have designers who are not good at writing, you should be able to edit the words written by a developer or designer and make it something more readable and appealing.
3. Knowledge of CMS
Some of the most common content management systems that developers use are Drupal, WordPress, and ExpressionEngine. If you have used one, chances are that you won’t have any problem in using others. All you need to know the concept behind the content management systems. Some contents come in the form of templates, while some can be edited. Using CMS to create, edit and publish the content can be a very helpful skill to become a great digital project manager. You can save a lot of long hours for a developer by adding images, copying and editing all the important contents in a CMS.
4. HTML and CSS
If you have been working online, you have already worked on HTML. Both HTML and CSS are front-end programming languages. It is very vital to write and edit HTML for a digital project manager as they can save time for themselves and help developers or designers.
The more you learn, the more you will be capable to help your team. Even simple tasks like being able to embed YouTube videos, adding text, making a simple format for the web, and images can make a great difference to the developers. HTML has been used widely by all the top sites on the web.
5. File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
FTP or File Transfer Protocol is known to be the best way to connect to the local file systems and web servers. Every project manager has the basic knowledge to use Dropbox but having the proper knowledge to use FTP can help you stand out. You can use any free FTP program to pick up and deliver assets.
6. Information Architecture
Digital project managers are not supposed to be experts in usability or spending days in wire-framing of user experiences. But it would be great if you know how to classify and audit information. It is a well-appreciated skill in a digital project manager. Since your team is expected to design and develop all the time instead of managing information, you must be able to structure and categorize information logically. As a project manager, you are responsible to ensure every team member can do their job well. Even simple tools like a POP can help you along the process.
7. Google Analytics
Data is the future of project management. So, every project manager should have the proper skills to collect and interpret the data. You should be able to learn Google Analytics, which is the key to getting started. Google Analytics is a well-known and industry-leading platform which is well-documented and intuitive.
It is very easy to install the analytics code on your website. You can make it possible with the easy setup guide by Google. If you can set Google Analytics with your website, keep in mind it doesn’t mean you don’t know to report. You can even learn to use the whole platform by Google with their free online course. You can also get Analytics certification after gathering all such information. Having a professional certification can add much weight to your profile then you can expect.
8. Social Media Marketing
As a digital project manager, you should also master the skill of using various social media platforms for publishing your content. In this day and age, everyone wants a social media presence, be it Twitter profile and Facebook page or covering the entire part of the social world.
As a digital project manager, you should know the ins and outs of all the platforms like what you can get from different platforms and their content limitations. A lot of tools are now available for social media, such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite, as well as enterprise level software. It would be of great help if you have hands-on experience with these tools. An impactful project manager should have proper knowledge on which tools they should use for what.
9. SEO Skills
Search engines have always been and are the ruler of online searches. Another great skill of a successful digital project manager is increasing their site ranking in search engines. Search Engine Optimization is the process to create and connect attractive content to boost rankings and relevance in search engines.
Being a digital project manager, you need to be able to know how content, coding and page linking work together to improve positions in search results. It can help any project you have at hand. If it is not being focused, developers and designers often overlook it. If you want to get started with SEO, you can learn how to optimize your website through several great tools.
10. Learn to use PowerPoint/Keynote
In order to market your project, you should be able to tell attractive stories in an organized way. The great thing you can do is to design a presentation deck in an easily understandable way. You can learn this art from several online tools that are full of starting templates.
In order to make your company and team stand out, you must be able to deliver the concise, convincing and relatable story. Great presentation skills can make you a leader from a manager behind the scenes. Even a mediocre PowerPoint file can look promising with great presentation skills. Nobody cares how well a slide looked if they get influenced by the person who is going to present that information.
12. Speaking Appropriate Language
Though it may seem obvious to know, speaking the right technology and marketing lingo can be very helpful for you to be the part of a conversation. For example, having proper knowledge of jQuery and how it can improve the overall look of the page can deepen the conversation and engagement. This way, you can earn more respect from both your team and clients.
13. Photo Editing
You can find a lot of user-friendly online editing sites and tools for resizing and cropping images and changing colors. Simply making mastheads and image changes can significantly improve your editing skills. Sometimes, it helps improve the morale of a designer.
14. Attention to Detail
As a digital project manager, you should keep an eye on every detail of the project. Many campaigns fail because of silly mistakes like adding links which no longer work, spelling mistakes, or even flaws in user journeys. These mistakes go unnoticed just because a team overlooks them.
15. De-clutter your space
Organizing things properly sometimes pay off internally, especially when the timeline of a project is strict. Even simple tasks take more time just because of poor workflow management and improper file naming. When organizing the work, sometimes creative team and designers make a mistake and overlook the bigger picture. As a project manager, you should come forward and ensure that everything is perfect.
16. Knowing Formal Project Management Approaches
There are different ways to approach projects from the view of a lifecycle and they are still the matters of debate. As a project manager, you should have proper knowledge of Scrum, Waterfall, and Agile approaches. The project varies from complexity and needs. You should understand various ways to manage the assignment to lead the team, clients, and agency leadership. You should learn to use various project management tools to improve your value of being a project manager.
17. Partnerships and Vendor Relationships
Sometimes bandwidth issues and skill problems make it difficult to manage everything at the same place. So, you should be able to seek and qualify the vendors in your organization. Even better, you should have a group of people and be able to manage freelancers and external vendors, which is an art in itself.
18. Staying updated with Latest Tools and Technologies
It is very important for a project manager to understand what is possible and what not. In this age of digital era, a digital project manager should be efficient enough on all aspects of technology, be it SaaS platforms or APIs. It is okay if you don’t know about technology at first. You can learn about it from your tech team. They can be your mentor and friends and they should have no problem in sharing their knowledge.
An efficient project manager knows how to work with their team and control risk and how to negotiate with clients to control changes in scope and limited deadlines. Time is running and deadlines are short. So, a project manager must know how to deal with vendors to negotiate rates.
20. Managing Finances
Running a business is not all about making attractive designs and perfect codes. It is also about money that can be brought from those great codes and designs. As a project manager, you should be able to control the profit margins and the impact of time on the end result. It goes well with management on a daily basis.
21. Ability to stick to the budget
It is another great skill of an efficient digital project manager. Timely delivery of a project which meets all the requirements is one thing, but doing so by exceeding the budget which was assigned to the project is unacceptable. A digital project manager should also keep an eye to the costs on each stage of the project to stick to the budget. You should monitor the costs every day or week, and every month to make sure they won’t exceed your limit. This way, you can take the right action on time.
22. Positive Attitude
Last but not least; positive thinking plays a vital role in making a project successful. Digital Project Managers are the bridge that fills the gap between projects and teams. If everything goes as per the plan, people may give credit to other team members, but you will be the first to be blamed if things go worse. No matter what happens along the way, keep calm and patience all the time.
Digital Project Management is a very challenging yet rewarding position. But it also helps you create a digital footprint in a company. There are many companies which focus on solutions which are too expensive or on large-scale that takes so long to deploy. So, you should work on solutions that can fit a specific purpose.