Why do I need a Project Manager?

Why do I need a Project Manager? This is a question that we’re often asked by prospective clients here in the dotmailer Custom Technical Solutions (CTS) team.

If you read my colleague’s post around the theme of bridging the gap between marketers and developers, you’ll understand a little more about what we do.

In this blog, I’ll attempt to answer the question about why a Project Manager is a key component of every large tech project, and give a brief overview of what a Project Manager (PM) does here in the CTS team. In essence, the Project Manager ensures a client’s Custom Technical Solution is delivered on time, on budget and, most importantly, to the requirements of the scope.

The step-by-step process of a typical CTS project

The PM will usually be involved throughout the scoping process of a project, so he/she has awareness of what the project will encompass but also when it’s likely to be signed off and arrive in the development queue. Very often, a client would like to know whether a desired go-live date is feasible or what a rough timescale for a project would be, before scoping and order sign-off.

Once the scope has been signed off, the scope will then need to be turned into a developer brief and the testing environment for the project will need to be created. Tom, who works in the dotdigital CTS team, last week published a blog post on how to produce a good developer brief. The PM takes control of the project at this stage and will start to bring the necessary people into the development as required. They’ll act as the point of contact along with a client’s Account Manager, and will interact with the client, business analyst and other internal departments within dotdigital to keep the project on track.

Once the developer brief has been produced and staging environment set up, the PM will liaise with the developer and determine the length of time required for development and internal testing.  Once this development time has been determined, the project can then be scheduled in the development queue. At this stage an estimated timeline for the project can be ascertained and communicated to the client. This will always include the project start date and an estimated date of when we’ll be able to provide the client with the staging environment to review the development.

The PM will then liaise directly with the CTS developer on daily basis during the development process, making the PM the go-to person if a client or Account Manager has any queries. The PM will hand back the project to a client to review. And if after testing the product meets all the requirements, the PM will agree a live deploy date with the client.

When the project has gone live, that’s not the end of the road for the PM. They’ll then be involved in providing support to the client for an agreed number of weeks. This includes making sure that all relevant stakeholders in the project are happy and agreeing an official project sign-off with the client.  During this time the PM will also ensure that project documentation is produced and available internally to support staff. It’s therefore the PM’s responsibility to ensure a smooth handover.

To sum it all up

As I hope you can see, the Project Manager has a very hands-on role during the lifespan of a Custom Technical Solutions project.  The main goal of the PM is to ensure an efficient and smooth-running project from start to finish.

Want to chat to someone in the team to see how we can help you? Check out our Custom Technical Solutions page to find out more.

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