In the world of digital, I am not a cheerleader for a gantt chart as the be-all tool for managing work backs and milestones. They tend to work well with a waterfall-only approach and can sometimes set the tone for limited flexibility. What tends to work well, is to produce an epic gantt chart for Kick Off (so Client primes can share with their Stakeholders, and get initial sign off), then create weekly timeline check-ins with the Client prime.
For most of my projects, I am the Client contact for that particular project, and the high level Client strategy piece is the role of the agency’s account team or big cheese. I have experience in chairing weekly status meetings, working luncheons and white-boarding sessions. I tend to take uber-detailed notes, and on some projects I’ve had to juggle 27+ calendars! I’m flexible to work with or without an account person on a project.
Estimating is like a chicken-and-egg scenario – you can’t always put numbers against a project that has no specifics, yet the Client wants a cost before committing – ugh! A good compromise is for a detailed proposal to be created that gives a range of costs based on the most current. Proposals are great for highlighting ‘unknowns’ and asking more questions. Proposals that are well-written will then turn into SOW (Scope of Work) documents, that Client needs to sign off on, as part of the ‘green-lighting’ of the project.
Weekly resourcing meetings with the internal team is a chance for the larger group to be privy to all the projects on the roster. It helps to forecast the resources available and flag possible schedule bottlenecks of work that somehow needs to get done. Time tracking is essential to keep projects within scope, and the biggest offenders tend to be developers – sorry, but it’s true. At my full time agency gig a few years back, one special developer needed help in this area, so I entered in his time (ssshhh – don’t tell anyone).
Sometimes I am the tester, other times I oversee a third party vendor conduct the QA – this varies dependent on the size of the project. Clients will also have a process for testing which needs to be dovetailed into the overall development process. I take three approaches to QA and testing – the first is to check directly against what is listed in the SOW and/or tech spec/document, the second is to check against the approved IA and wireframes, and the third is a freeform look at the end result.
I’ve been called type-A before, but I know I have a balance to that side of my brain. Sometimes things MUST get done in a certain way or by a certain time. Other scenarios lend to flexibility and going-with-the-flow. Communication is also key – timely responses to emails, and being crystal clear about next steps and expectations with both the Client and internal team and important factors. Also, if a project shifts partway through, or a glitch needs to be highlighted, then honesty is the best policy.
Some of the things in my toolbox are: Basecamp, DoneDone, Dropbox, Evernote, Excel, Freshbooks, Google docs, Google hangout, Harvest, HTML & CSS, Jira, Mantis, Merlin, Omnigraffle, Photoshop, Podio, Skype, Slack, Team Gantt, TeuxDeux, We Transfer, Word, WordPress, and Wunderlist.
- Telecommunications: Shaw, TELUS, Bell, MTS, Wireless Wave, Tbooth
- Food & Beverage: Molson, A&W, Sobeys, Hy’s Steakhouse & Bar
- Utility & Resources: BC Hydro, Spectra Energy
- Professional Services: Deloitte
- Financial & Insurance: BCAA, Coast Capital Savings, Money Mart
- Transportation: Uber
- Retail: Mr. Lube, Avigilon, lululemon, Earth’s Own, Botanica
- Entertainment and Tourism: Science World, BC Tourism, CBC, Discovery Network, Playland
- Healthcare & Non-profit: BCCHF, AFABC, Offsetters
- 123 w
- Content Strategy Inc.
- Dare Digital
- kumu agency
- Rethink Communications
- Switch United
- Responsive websites
- Mobile apps
- Rich Media
- Augmented Reality
- Content curation
- Digital Marketing
- Digital Strategy
- Campaign work
- Social Media
- Facebook Contests
- Email Blasts