DPM:UK 2015

DPM:UK 2015

February 12, 2015

Having worked for Tipsy & Tumbler as a Project Manager for the past nine months, the Digital Project Management Conference (DPM) was the perfect opportunity to gain valuable insight into how other companies manage their own projects in the industry.

On Wednesday 28th January, I made the journey up North to Manchester for my first experience of DPM:UK. Here's how it went…

A great example of Project Planning
I turned up to a room full of Project Managers and we were given an example project to plan. We had just fifteen minutes to put together an appropriate plan of action. A seemingly simple task revealed just how much variation there is amongst Project Managers; there was no streamlined, consistent process that everyone followed. It was surprising, as well as inspiring, to hear how each person in my group approached tasks such as this in their everyday profession.

Interestingly, most of our decisions in this task were based upon assumptions. The brief we were supplied with lacked detail, for example, the deadline was in a week, but the term ‘week’ is vague, causing me to question whether this was five days, seven days, and were weekends counted in this goal? Perhaps this was done by the workshop co-ordinators deliberately, to resemble a real client. Additionally, in this example, the client had provided all the required assets in the initial phase, which in my opinion is rather unrealistic. It is very rare that we receive all the assets and information we require from the very beginning of the project!

Moving forward, the key is to never make decisions based on assumptions. When given a brief from a client, every detail must be thought through and discussed thoroughly to ensure no stone is left unturned. Not only do we have to be realistic about the goals and deadlines, but we have to allow time for testing and pre-empt any issues which may arise in unforeseen circumstances. As a result, every member of the team, from developer to client, will be clear as to what the end goal is and also the steps of the process.

This will avoid any confusion or crossed wires later on in the process. As well as this, there really isn't a specific right or wrong way to manage projects; everybody adopts different processes depending on their team, the client and the type of project they are managing. The most important objective for any project is to have everyone, from your team to your client, on the same page from the outset.

Useful tools
Based upon my experience, Project Management tools are fundamental to the way we all function and collaborate as a team on a daily basis.

The following are just a selection of tools that I use on a regular basis:

  1. Basecamp, a web based intranet for the entire company and clients which allows you to manage projects, tasks and time, as well as team collaboration and reporting.
  2. OmniPlan 2 for mac. The intuitive interface makes projects easier to visualise, maintain and simplify projects.
  3. Flowdock, an instant messaging application making communication with my remote team and clients quick and easy.

In an ideal world, it is clear Project Managers want one tool that covers everything to a high standard; personally I am still yet to find a system which supplies this. In the meantime, I will be sticking to my current solution!

Overall, I really enjoyed collaborating with other Project Managers and Brett Harned did a fantastic job of sharing his experiences and advice.

Useful links
https://basecamp.com
https://www.flowdock.com
https://www.omnigroup.com/omniplan