What IS a Project Manager?

Project Manager. It’s such a generic term. Judging from the all the construction mailings I receive every day, that expression encompasses a lot more than guiding projects through an ad agency. We all have common goals of keeping a project on its timeline, on budget and flawless—however, for this post I can really only speak from my experience as an agency project manager.

Not long ago, there were many different titles such as production manager, traffic manager, producer, (the list goes on and on) that defined the roles much more narrowly. That’s not the case today. A Project Manager must wear a lot of hats, and perform many functions. That’s the exciting part. You just never know what assignment you’ll be called on to handle on that specific day. During my 29 years in this business, I’ve overseen a wide range and styles of projects. Anywhere from the production of annual location photo shoots—for up to ten weeks each year—to the printing and supervision of a client’s business cards. The details of each project are important and it’s key to have a cohesive team that realizes that.

The role of Project Manager is to be the integral part in developing a common goal in creating excellent work—allowing the client to reach their business goals. For one to be involved in the production side of an agency, you must be willing to play the part of the “man (or woman) behind the curtain”. Details are essential in making the project run smoothly with a positive result. Yet, so often in this business, “no news is good news”. An aptitude for numbers, an enthusiasm for the creative process and a tenacity to carry the finished product to delivery is essential for anyone performing the role. It can be fun, exciting and fulfilling. And it’s definitely a new adventure everyday.