Project managers are an essential part of the website design, development and maintenance process. Many new customers question the value that they bring to their project. I often hear clients say that they don’t want to be “nickel and dimed” with project management, or that they simply “don’t want to see project management on their bill”. Let’s look at what a project manager actually does. Then, we can assess their value and whether these expectations are accurate or realistic.
What is a project manager?
Project managers are your point person and advocate with the web development firm. They have the clearest understanding of your business, your project goals, and exactly what it will require from everyone in the firm to complete your project on time and within budget. Project management is typically only about 10% of your project. Without a project manager, though, significantly more time (and money) would be required for a successful project.
True or False: A lot of 5 to 10 minute project management entries on an invoice means you're being "nickeled and dimed."
False: Rather than overcharging you, what this actually indicates is that the project manager is only billing you for the time that they’ve spent keeping your project on track. This typically involves regular communication with you, the customer, and the various designers or developers. They may be notifying you of features available on a test site for your review, they may be helping you choose between various options or functionalities, and then they may be relaying decisions back to the developers for action.
True or False: I should just talk directly to the developers.
False: Chances are, there is a team working on your project. At a minimum, you have back-end development, front-end development, and a designer. Without that project manager you would have to call each developer individually. If your issues involved more than one person on the team, you would either need to make multiple phone calls to coordinate the impact of a change on each person’s area-- or you would be paying development time for the developers and designers to communicate with each other. Obviously, this is much less efficient for you-- and for the developers who are trying to build your site. With a project manager, you only have to communicate with one person in the organization, and you won’t be disrupting a developer or designer who are focused on your project.
True or False: Project management is crucial to your web project, not a devious plot to squeeze a little extra money out of you.
True! Your project manager is your point person and advocate. They make your life simpler, keep your project on track, and ultimately save you time and money.