Project Management 101: A Chat With Natalie
If there’s one thing that we hold true here at Black Tie Digital Marketing, it’s that every person matters. Whether it’s our employees or clients, everyone has an important role in the big scheme of things. We know that to allow businesses to dream bigger, we must begin by understanding who is dreaming and what their dream is about.
There’s no denying that project management is one of the most important and hectic jobs out there, which is probably why it’s the key in making sure that everyone’s expectations are met. This week we wanted to sit down and chat with our stellar Project Manager, Natalie Dente, to better understand how she does her job. Not only that, but we also discovered her three tips for project management success that you can utilize in your business.
BTDM: Hi Natalie! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down with me today. What’s on your plate right now?
Natalie Dente: Well, I’m never working on just one project! We have so much going on and as a project manager you need to be able to manage a lot of assignments at once. You have to be flexible and ready to adapt. Today for example, I’ve been coordinating internal schedules to accommodate design projects, technical issues with websites, and as managing our clients’ needs and expectations. Every day is a balancing act.
Oh man, that sounds like a lot, but nothing you can’t handle, right? Can you tell me a little about what a project manager is?
Of course. A project manager is someone who ensures that projects are taken care of using resources as efficiently as possible. In my case I not only have to make sure projects are conceptualized, delegated, and completed in a timely fashion and that reflect our high standards, but I also provide customer service and control costs for both the client and Black Tie.
Why is your role here at Black Tie Digital Marketing so important?
Scott likes to say that I’m the glue the holds everything together. With everyone else in the agency specializing in their own departments, they’re all super focused: Amy and the graphics team, Brittany and the content team, Steve and the developers and adwords team and Joe. It’s my job to put all those pieces together into one cohesive project. I motivate, communicate, and problem solve with the client and our team at the same time. I have to act in the interest of both parties to make sure projects are completed to not just the clients expectations, but our high standards as well.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
To make the two worlds come together can be a challenge, because a client’s vision may not be the same as what we create. Because there’s no way to get into someone’s head, translating a client’s vision into a reality with the tools and team we’ve built can be difficult at times. By maintaining open lines of communication I’m able to manage expectations and take the right steps to ensure everyone is happy with the end product.
What are your top three tips to being an effective project manager?
- Understand the project and the clients needs – If you don’t understand the whole project from the early stages you won’t be able to carry it out in an efficient manner. Misunderstanding is a time waster and costly for both the company and the client. Understanding the project and client’s expectations are key before you start any project, no matter how big or small.
- Create measureable and attainable goals – The end goal is what you work toward, but mini measurable and attainable goals help projects stay on track.
- Keep lines of communication open! So much of what you do as a project manager relies heavily on your ability to communicate. It’s good to have an excellent relationship with your team, because at the end of the day it’s the team you need to motivate and keep on track. Every project is so much easier if they know they can come to you with problems or concerns. Using transparency in communication is also important for both the team and your clients. It enables you to set realistic expectations and allows you to be wholly honest with your client, which builds a stronger relationship built on trust.
As a creative agency, a lot of focus is on our creative work, of course. But without a project manager, getting things done efficiently would be a lot more difficult. I love this role because I’m a natural organizer and planner. I love to set plans in motion and make sure everything fits and flows. Seeing a project come into fruition and pleasing clients with the end result is an amazing feeling. I’m so happy to be doing the “behind-the-scenes” work that many people don’t think about, because it’s such an important aspect of running a healthy business.