Why I need a project manager

There comes a time in a small business’ growth that the owner’s management tasks take over the technical ones. When I started out about 80% of my time was spent building websites. As my business has grown I’ve had to deal with more support, administration, marketing, and project management. This has left less time for ‘doing the work’ (i.e. the billable stuff), but that’s just the way it goes.

The problem is that the jobs I’m having to deal with more and more, are the things that I’m not all that good at. I love designing and building websites. I also love talking to clients and helping them out when they need it. I even enjoy the marketing and sales side of things.

Why I need a manager

There are three business personalities; entrepreneurs, managers, and technicians. Between me and my team we have two of those covered. What we don’t have, and what I’m not built to be, is a manager.

There are things that I know I should be doing on a daily and weekly basis, that I’m just not getting done. I’m not good at routine. There are four main areas where I think I really need help: scheduling, planning, sales, and communication.

Scheduling

My biggest issue of all is scheduling. I find it really difficult to keep track of various projects, deadlines, budgets, etc. I’ve tried various tools to help, but the time commitment of keeping everything up-to-date has been too much. I’ve found that web development is almost too fluid to make these tools effective.

Planning

The next biggest issue, and it’s related to scheduling, is planning. Up until now I’ve been too reactive. I often let my inbox dictate my day’s work. I’d love to have a plan for the next day/week/month.

Sales

Better planning and scheduling would also help with sales. When a new prospect asks if I can get a job done by next month, I often struggle to know what our current workload actually is.

Communication

Finally, there’s communication. I want to be more responsive to my clients. In the future I’d like to be giving clients daily and weekly updates with progress, deadlines, and budget expectations.

Do freelance web project managers exist?

I did a quick Google search for ‘freelance web project manager’ and didn’t get a lot back. Does this magical person exist?

What I was thinking was having someone come in (not physically) for an hour or two a day to keep things ticking over. Would that work?

I’d love to hear from you

Are you also suffering from this? Are you a freelance project manager who can help? I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at keith@keithdevon.com, tweet me @keithdevon or reply in the comments.

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3 Responses to “Why I need a project manager”

  1. Rob Record

    Me too! I need a project manager. I think they do exist.. I live next door to a freelance project manager; but she’s extremely busy – I guess there’s a great demand for people like her!

    Reply
  2. Liz

    Hi Keith,
    You might remember I replied to your Twitter post last week to introduce myself to you.

    I am based in London, am self employed and work remotely or onsite for various digital, design and marketing agencies to manage the delivery of responsive websites, software, iOS and Android apps, video production and print. I am currently managing digital projects for ArtFund, Cambridge University Press and LBC working with different teams to deliver their product on time and within budget.

    As a project manager I provide my clients with a professional service by doing the following:

    – Client facing, build collaborative working relationships
    – Ensure virtual teams works together fluidly
    – Define briefs & technical specs
    – Identify/resolve issues and bottlenecks
    – UX testing for websites and apps
    – Produce regular status reports
    – Deliver projects on time.

    While working on projects I use various cloud based software such as Basecamp, Podio, Zoho and Slack, and I’m experienced in making content changes on CMS such as SilverStripe, WordPress and SquareSpace.

    I believe communication is key to be a good project manager and seeing as I’m a born organiser, I love planning and scheduling and whilst I do not claim to predict the future, I do my best to anticipate what needs to happen next.

    I’ve supplied a url to my LinkedIn profile which showcases examples of the projects I’ve delivered, and I would be happy to send you my CV if you’d like more information.

    Thanks, Liz

    Reply
  3. louie

    be interesting to hear how you get on. I’m not at the stage of taking on people but do find I’m starting to suffer from some of the same problems.

    I have heard of people using virtual assistants with good success. This is the one of heard of http://www.virtualstafffinder.com/

    Reply

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