A Day in the Life of a Web Project Manager

Posted by admin on October 29, 2013

I once heard a story about a former emergency room nurse, who said the stress of being a web project manager, was more than being an ER nurse.  Here is what she had to say about the differences.

First, as an ER nurse, you rarely see patients over a span of more than a few hours.  Most work is reactionary, and at the end of your shift, your job is passed off to someone else.

As a web project manager, your clients work with you for weeks, months, and even years.  Some projects may never actually end, with ongoing maintenance that occupies your everyday.  This nurse said she would often wonder what happened to some patients after her shift, but she never worried about them as she woke up in the morning to get ready for work as a project manager.  The constant deadlines, struggle with scope and budget, was nothing she ever had to deal with in the ER.  It was on to the next patient, no looking back.

I wanted to write a little about what a project manager does all day.  I don't think I've ever experienced the exact same day twice, and I'd bet no other project manager has.

Morning:

I typically arrive at the office around 7am, I have East coast clients, and being in California, the 9am (noon) start time, just doesn't work well.  I typically check my email for any red flags that may have come up overnight, and handle those right away.

I load up Google Analytics at least a few times a week just to make sure tracking is in place.  I have alerts set on my accounts, but it's always good to do a gut check.  it's also nice to see if we have any wins that we may want to capitalize on (something in the news affecting my client positively).

By this time, I try to do a lap around the office, check to see if there is any news that I should know about, anyone out of office I had tasked out to.  Usually a good time to make sure we're all working on something.

By this time, I probably have 20-30 emails that need response.  Some are simply questions that need to be answered for a task to be completed, or a design to be reviewed.  Usually simple 5 minute tasks, but this will take me easily to lunch time.

If I have any calls, I'll prep for them by reviewing the latest tasks in Basecamp, reviewing the timeline, and putting together an agenda for the call.

After Lunch:

OK - so food, then back to work.

My afternoon is not so different from the morning.  My West coast client calls are usually after lunch time, and I'll spend some time with the delivery team making sure we're on track with all the deliverables.  

Inevitably there will be a domain that expired, or a server that needs a reboot, and I'll make sure to get the priority on those tasks.

Closing out the day, I'll review my tracked time for accuracy, and make sure that my team completed the tasks they needed.  If we are early/late, I'll revise our schedule and update the client.

My phone rings wrong numbers more often than clients calling in.  I get anywhere between 50 and 100 emails in a day, and am on conference calls or meetings for nearly 6 of my 8 hours.  I live by my project plans, budgets and burndown reports.  

I don't find the job to be overly stressful as I communicate well with developers and marketers alike.  This helps me keep the peace between the two, and really accomplish what needs to be done without the animosity that can arise between the two.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my day... please - write about your day and let me know - I'd love to know what it's like!

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