Project Management

3 Questions to Ask Your Project Manager

Who is your main point of contact for your website development project? If you guessed the Project Manager, you are correct!

Once your project is ready to kick off, you will be introduced to your project team, which includes a dedicated Project Manager. The Project Manager will be communicating introductions, status updates, deliverables, requirements, and more. Communication is very important during a website project. The ultimate goal is for the Project Manager to ensure the client is fully aware of the project life cycle, timeline and status. The Project Manager will be asking various questions throughout the project discovery, development, QA and launch phase, but there are three key questions that you should always ask your Project Manager.

“How will we be communicating throughout the project?”

Typically, a Project Manager will plan how communications will take place between the project team and client well in advance of the project kick-off. Whether it’s via email, Slack, or a weekly status call, there is a primary way communication is delivered. At the initial kick-off call, you should ask the Project Manager to provide information on how communications will be managed. This will give you the opportunity to clarify the preferred communication method.

For instance, if the Project Manager outlines a plan to provide status updates every Wednesday via email, but you prefer a status call on Mondays, asking this question allows for the Project Manager to adjust the communication plan to accommodate your needs. Communication is extremely critical during the project. Both the client and project team must be aligned on communication to ensure that all of the client’s goals are met.

“What do you need from our team to help support the project?”

At various phases of a project, there are deliverables that are required from the client. Occasionally, clients will have a pretty good idea of things they need to provide (i.e., access to their current CMS), but every project is so different. Based on the scope of the project, there will absolutely be deliverables that the project team will need from the client.

Asking your Project Manager to provide you with a list of client deliverables to help support the project and providing those in a timely manner will help keep your project on time and on budget. In the early stages of a project, the Project Manager may ask for things like brand guidelines, database dump, login credentials, analytic embed codes, etc. When a site is closer to launching, the team will require hosting access.

Additionally, asking this question will help get the Project Manager thinking further about what might be helpful for the project aside from just deliverables. If you are a non-technical marketing lead assigned to manage the project, this question may give the Project Manager an opportunity to ask who will be the best technical point of contact for our Engineering team during the development phase.

It’s beneficial to build a relationship with the Project Manager and provide any support necessary. Support will ultimately benefit your project!

“What are the project milestones, and how will our team know if we are on track?”

This is a great question to ask your Project Manager once the Discovery phase is complete and a solid project development plan is outlined. The Project Manager will take the project development plan and set clear milestones for the development phase of the project, as well as the full project life cycle including QA and site launch.

These milestones will be clearly outlined in the project management tool, as well as the project timeline. You will have access to the project management tool which will make it easy to see where deliverables are in the development process and if they are on track. Occasionally, project timelines will shift because of scope, resources, etc. The Project Manager will update you along the project life cycle. This typically will happen via status update emails or weekly status calls.

Every update you receive should indicate if the project is on track or not. If not, you should have received details as to why, and an updated project timeline. Tools like Basecamp, Github, Trello or Jira are excellent in providing a clear picture of milestones and timing.

Conclusion

The role of a Project Manager is an essential one, and that person will be your main point of contact throughout your website development project. There are tons of questions that will come up throughout the project, but these three will help to establish a great relationship with your Project Manager and engineering team, making for a successful project!

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