When I was a child, I wanted to be a Project Manager


When I was a child, I wanted to be a Project Manager!

I have never heard any child who would say: “When I grow up, I want to be a Project Manager”!
Why is that? Why do all children want to become a fireman, teacher, an astronaut, artist or someone else but not a Project Manager?

Perhaps, they do not even know what Project Managers do and sometimes it can be hard to define their responsibilities for Project Managers themselves!

This is why the 1st Thursday of November each year we celebrate the International Project Management Day (PMD) when we recognise and acknowledge Project Managers and celebrate every successful project. This year the PMD was celebrated on the 5th November and there were many project management events on this occassion since 2004.


But let’s start from the beginning. What is a “project”?

A project is basically everything and project management is about getting things done.According to Wikipedia: “a project is a collaborative enterprise, involving research or design, that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim”.

This means the team members collaboration and more importantly communication is extremely important if they want to achieve their common goal.

The worrying news delivers a study conducted by Spikes Cavell which shows that 57% of projects fail due to “breakdown in communications”.

This has proven that communication skills are the most important asset of every Project Manager who take responsibility over the project communication overall. Also, the more a company takes a responsibility for and values project management, the projects will have a better chance to succeed.


In advertising agencies the Project Manager roles and scope of responsibilities differ significantly and they are defined according to a needs-based analysis. The background of Project Managers is shaped by various factors as well. They become PMs because they take up the new roles by being transferred or promoted from the developers/designers or other positions within an agency or they are Project Managers who entered an agency as a Project Manager with a different level of communication and technical skills.

Nevertheless, the PMs goal is to deliver high-quality digital work and you can quickly notice how the Project Manager role is important when there is no Project Manager or there is a bad one. 🙂


Now we know how project management and good Project Managers are important for projects to succeed. However what advertising agencies tend to do nowadays is hiring not a Digital Project Manager but a Digital Producer. What is the difference then?

It’s simple. Project Managers deliver high-quality digital work “on time and on budget” whereas Digital Producers are more a part of a creative team and they measure their success by delivering high-quality creative work.

There is a lot of other differences which you can read in the ADWEEK article, however the differences are blurry and less visible, in my opinion, since there are more and more Agile Project Managers who take up on a role of coaches and tend to be flexible and adjustable to the fast-paced advertising environment.
Here are other responsibilities of a good Project Manager to give an overview and have a better understanding:

1. Plan, document, execute and finalise multiple client digital campaigns according to strict deadlines and within budget.

2. Areas of expertise: Project Management and Project Lifecycle.

3. Management skills comprise: People Management, Quality Management, Budget Management, Scope of Work Management, Time Management, Communication Management, Risk Management, Change Management, Stress Management, Client Management etc. What the Client Management looks like, you can find out here in this brilliant video showing both advertising agency and client side:


If you are a Project Management and you would like to master your skills see the top 10 rules of highly successful project management. After that the PMD will be proudly celebrated all over the world and perhaps some of the companies will realise how the project management is important and more of the children would like to be Project Managers in the future.

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