I recently went to Philadelphia to a Digital Project Managers Conference. While the conference was great, this is not necessarily a review of it, but rather some insight into me, Design Extensions, and what makes us great.
First off I think we are great. I think you ought to think so as well. We are a small little business, but we’ve been around for almost 18 years. Our little business will be able to vote next year! On top of that we provide great products and our revenue grows every year. These are all great things for a business to have, but what makes us different is the work culture of the people who make up this little business.
At the conference there was much talk about roles, responsibilities, and titles. Many people I met at the conference seemed perturbed by the project manager moniker, thinking that it didn’t really encompass who they are, or what all they do. I can see that as a problem for a large corporation, or big company with cubicles, and hierarchy, managers, assistants… quarterly budget reports and the like. For me, and Design Extensions, it’s not really a problem.
First off there are things that need to get done. I know how to do them; so I do, and the wheels turn. The other guys I work with: Chris, Trey, Travis, Jay and our new guy Tyler; all seem to operate with the same mentality. We don’t generally have any issues like “it’s his job”, or “you are supposed to xyz”. Maybe it’s cause we are small, but I like to think it’s because we are all focused, and we know what we know, and we do what we do.
This means that while my business card might say project manager, for a lot of Design Projects, I’m not even touching them. Our “Creative Director” Trey is handling communication with clients, the design, and delivering proofs, setting up a meeting if necessary, etc. Travis as a “Senior Developer” is knee-deep in getting some code to work, but he’s also able to relay information back to clients and get feedback on functionality and the look of their websites and databases.
Not to be left out, Jay is busy meeting with prospective clients, setting budgets an turnarounds, but is still available if I can’t figure out some little bit of code that doesn’t make sense. Tyler’s new but he’s rapidly catching on to the “get shit done” attitude we have around here, and is switching roles between ordering business cards for one client, setting up emails for another, and posting to-do lists for me for a different site. That leaves Chris.
Chris and I have developed a great working relationship lately where I manage internal work/communication/tasks, and turn it around to him, and he deals with clients, gathers content, and keeps the ball rolling on the front end. It’s a system that is not without bumps, but so far it’s working great. There have been numerous projects lately where I get to play “man behind the curtain” Wizard of OZ style and build, develop, design a website from the ground up using content Chris has gathered and created with clients, and they have no idea I was even a part of the process. Other jobs, where the needs are more technical, I do still meet with clients, as it just makes more sense.
This post may have wandered a bit, and I’m not really sure what the original intent was, but I do know this: Project Manager is not who I am, it’s just what’s on my business card. When something needs to be done, I get it done, or I get it to who can do it, same as the rest of the guys around here. That’s what makes Design Extensions a great company. Our focus and drive to get the work done. Plus they let me make blog posts like this that barely make sense.