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Maria Jackson

I’m one of the Project Managers at Coast Digital but I find it difficult to find the right words to explain my role to people! To be a PM you have to be organised, efficient, methodical, a people person, a mediator, be able to explain things clearly to clients and colleagues, have a great memory and above all be able to multi-task! To give you a flavour of my role, here’s a typical day for me….

8:45 am

The day gets started! I’m at my desk, with a big coffee and my To-Do list already done from the night before so I can remind myself of what needs to be done straight away and get cracking.

First thing I do in the morning is check my emails. I use my Inbox as a task list, deleting anything that’s not needed and filing away emails once I’ve responded or actioned them. I understand my system, but I appreciate that others might not – mine has developed over many years and works for me!

I also use colours to help me identify important senders quickly, for example, the internal Account Managers at Coast are in pink, clients that I’m currently working with are in red and those in florescent green are for clients that might need my immediate attention.

9:00 am

Time for our daily planning meeting to run through what’s in the schedule for the team today and to catch up on progress from yesterday.

Everyone attends the short meeting; it’s a great time to work out what people are working on, to find out whether the previous day went well and if they could have some availability today or to identify if they had a difficult day and need to bounce ideas off one another. We’re a team of 10, we all sit within reaching distance of each other so it’s very easy to turn to someone and ask for their opinion and advice on a problem or approach to a piece of work.

9:30 am

My first call of the day and it’s a weekly project catch-up call with one of my clients. We’ll run through the tasks that we touched on and completed in the previous week. Then we turn our attention to this week and what our focus should be on.

I’ll quickly draft an email after the call summarising any important points and send them an up to date version of their project plan, showing our progress.

10:15 am

Next, I’ll double check that all the designers and developers that are working on my projects have everything they need from me, whether that’s design feedback from a client or an update from someone else on the team. We use Trello internally, so I’ll sit with the team and run through the board with them, making sure that all the cards are understood and putting them into a priority order.

11:00 am

Back to my emails, responding to client’s questions and queries. I usually have around 3 projects on the go at any one time, all at various stages of the project cycle as well as managing the support desk for our retained clients, so I get a variety of emails!

I could be putting together a project update email, finalising a quote to a client, helping another client with a CMS issue, helping one of the Account Managers with text or image changes for their clients or setting up meetings internally for the team.

12:00 pm

I’m prepping for an upcoming kick off meeting with a new client. The meeting is taking place in a few days’ time so I’m familiarising myself with their original brief and requirements as well as talking to the Business Development Manager who’s met them already and anyone else that was on the pitch team.

1:00 pm

Lunch, finally!

2:00 pm

Now it’s time to sit down with the team and run through the designs they’ve created for another project. Everyone working on the project will get together and as a team we’ll make sure the designs have followed the wireframes and we’re sticking to the company brand guidelines as well as the look and feel the client wanted. It helps that all the team members are at the meeting, that way everyone sees the wireframes and designs and hears about the challenges we’re trying to solve for the client.

3:00 pm

Time for some content loading! I’m acting as an extra resource for the client, helping them to upload content to their new CMS ahead of their upcoming launch. This is a great opportunity for me to get a thorough understanding of their site, which will come in handy when they are a retained client. It’s also the perfect time to check the styling and margins for the content against the designs and make sure that everything is spot on.

4:30 pm

Another catch-up call with a client whose site will be launching next week, we’re running through all the small tasks that need to be done before launch and I’m checking that all the hosting arrangements have been completed and we’re ready to go.

They’re keen to launch and we don’t want anything to hold this up. We all come off the call with some action points, so I summarise these into an email and send it round to everyone involved so that we all know what needs to be done.

5:00 pm

I get a call from a retained client about an issue they’re having with their website, they’ve updated a document but the links across the site haven’t automatically updated like they should have. Myself and one of the developers start investigating to find the issue, it turns out there’s a problem with a plugin, so we fix the issue and let the client know – another happy customer!

5:30 pm

Time to make my To-Do list for tomorrow, I’ve done this at the end of the day for as long as I can remember. It helps me to catch all the tasks that popped up during the day and haven’t been completed or started yet and it helps me to switch my mind out of work mode ready for the evening ahead.

I‘ll also make sure my desk is clear before I leave as well, it’s true I am known to be very organised but I hate walking into the office in the morning to a messy, cluttered desk. I find it distracting and it doesn’t help to put me in a clear frame of mind for the day ahead. When my desk is tidy, it means I can focus better in the morning and be more productive.

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