Describing what a digital project manager does is a bit like trying to explain what makes a business run — where do you even start? At the end of the day, digital project managers are tasked with ensuring their projects are delivered on time and without too many roadblocks.
With 59% of project managers running between 2 and 5 projects at a time, it can be tough keeping up to speed on both work, skills, and tools needed to succeed. On top of that, digital platforms and capabilities are constantly evolving at a dizzying pace, so knowing which platforms and skills to focus on can be difficult to keep tabs on.
As a Project Manager, I’ve learned it’s important to not only lead various stakeholders toward the same goal, but to ensure you’re using the latest technology as vehicles to get there.
So, without any further ado, here are my go-to skills and complementary tools you’ll need to harness the power of technology and help my teams reach our goals.
Skill One: Exercise Your Creative Skills with Social Media
Platform to master: TikTok
Now, this one might seem like a wild card right off the bat, but hear me out. In addition to the fact that there’s a growing community of professionals positioning themselves as thought leaders on the channel, it’s also an excellent case study for sharpening digital project management skills.
First, it requires you to get organized. Do you need different camera angles? Multiple takes? An outfit change? There are a lot of steps that go into a quality TikTok video. Get organized by creating a storyboard and mapping out all your shots so you can edit in one go.
Second, to be a great PM is to be a great communicator—both in writing and live. Going face to camera on TikTok is pretty similar to unmuting yourself on Zoom to tell a compact and compelling story about what you’re doing, why, and how your work is progressing. Flex that extrovert muscle and learn to tell concise stories that keep followers engaged.
Finally, as a digital project manager, you already bring your attention to detail to hear a tiny comment in a project meet and bring it back into the conversation days or even weeks later. On TikTok, this kind of social listening on the platform is a must, as it gives you insight into who’s picking up what trends and new techniques you can use to wow your viewers.
Pro tip: This is also an opportunity to grow creatively and build your personal brand!
Skill Two: Stay Detail-oriented but Big-picture Focused
Platform to master: monday.com
You know the saying about missing the trees for the forest and the forest for the trees. Developing that zoom in and then zoom out skill is a must for any digital project manager, especially one looking to move up in their role.
The reason for this disparity all boils down to one thing — we all have preferences in how we see information. To keep your project binoculars in focus, having a visual project management tool that lets you visual your work your way can help.
With monday.com Work OS, you can manage a unique workspace for large scale projects so that nothing gets lost in the mix, as well as nifty boards to manage any sort of project workflow.
Make a high level board to keep tabs on the big picture. For example, for our annual user conference, Elevate, we made a high level board to help stakeholders see who’s accountable for what element of the event, their timeline, and overall status for each aspect of the event.
If you’re got details to manage, monday.com’s project management software makes it just as easy to create unique boards for each micro team’s work relating to the project.
Going back to Elevate, for example, we made tons of boards to project manage (and master) every element of the event. Like an email board mapping out the content, design, and ops for all event communications and a speaker opportunities board showing a waterfall workflow from speaking candidates, opportunities, to the final lineup with their presentations.
As a digital project manager, you’re likely working with a number of stakeholders who are likely in the weeds of more than just your project. So it’s super important to be respectful of their time while still getting your message across effectively.
That’s where clear, concise, and visual communication comes in. Use a tool like Google Slides or Prezi at weekly or daily meetings to review goals, progress, roadblocks, and action items.
While you might not be a designer or feel you have time to make everything look perfect, here are some simple steps to get the job done.
Brainstorm: Try to think through template slides you know you’ll use repeatedly — be it for iteration meetings or sprint retrospectives.
Plan: build your slides’ layouts and add your brand colors for a cohesive look and feel.
Optimize: Send them off to a designer at your company who wouldn’t mind spending 10 minutes tightening them up.
Reuse: Quickly edit your slides week to week feeling confident that you’ve got all the essential info already for you to present in style.
Pro tip: Send the slide deck out to the team after each meeting so they can easily reference it later.
Skill 4: Speak in the Same Language as Developers
Platform to master: Trick question, none!
Being a coder of any sort is generally not on a digital project manager job description. That being said, having a solid understanding of R&D terminology will be key. What’s a framework? When would someone use React over Angular? Is infrastructure and the cloud the same thing?
If you want to work closely with developers, understand their needs, and spot where you may need to bring on more R&D team members to get a project done — speaking their lingo is a great place to start.
Pro tip: Check out this video on the A-Z of computer science terminology. It can help you lay the groundwork for how to talk the talk with engineers who don’t have time to “translate” their vernacular. When they see you’ve made the effort, you’ll get serious credit in their book.
Skill 5: Collect Feedback Well and Collect Feedback Often
Platform to master: Typeform
No matter what project management methodologies you use, feedback is the key ingredient that makes team building more successful—it’s a way to
check in and get a pulse on the group
help team members feel heard
mitigate risks within the team
Having digital products like quick surveys can make it easy to collect and analyze that feedback to help you ensure everyone stays on track.
While there are a lot of survey platforms out there, a simple Typeform form can usually do the trick. Keep your surveys short to ensure that people are able to fill them out in less than a minute. You can always do a pulse check-in week-to-week, and add a more comprehensive feedback form for your project retros.
Pro tip: Allow respondents to either add their name or stay anonymous if they prefer.
Skill 6: Visualize Data for Stakeholders
Platform to master: Power BI
Getting a project from A to Z is a huge part of what you do as a digital project manager, but it’s all a means to an end. Ensuring and showing the impact of your project is the game changer in demonstrating to stakeholders that your core team’s hard work achieved business success.
You might be able to show some percentages on a slide, but what’s more helpful to leadership is data visualization. By giving visual context, you can really show your contribution and get buyin for future projects.
Platforms like Power BI make it easy to crunch the numbers and visualize your data as funnels, maps, Gantt charts, timelines, and more.
Pro tip: Use brand colors in these visualizations to create a cohesive look to your data and create an emotional association for your audience.
Skill 7: Communicate Asynchronously
Platform to master: Loom
We all know that feeling when you have an important update or announcement but it feels hard to put it into written words. Video messaging can be a great way to beat that just by turning on your camera and talking it out.
It also is an easy time management trick; showing your team that you respect their time by letting them watch your video when they’re free.
Use a tool like Loom to record yourself, your screen if you have something to show, or both! It’s free, super easy to set up, and you’ll even get notified when team members watch your videos so you know they’re being seen.
Pro tip: Loom, and screen recording tools like it, can be great for training. Use it to create reusable resources to help quickly onboard new team or project members without having to set up one-on-one meetings every time. Also, empowering team members to create these training videos can also be a great way to instill a sense of ownership.
There you have it! Now you have your short list for 7 skills and platforms to master in 2022 to help you be the most effective digital project manager. While you might already use some of these tools, explore the ones you haven’t yet tried and give them a go!
HubSpot now offers an integration with monday.com. With the help of the monday.com integration, you can have all your leads, contacts, and companies managed in monday.com. Make sure your entire company is collaborating, managing, building, and growing from one single hub using this quick and easy integration!
Originally published Dec 14, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated December 14 2021