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Podcast hosted by Andrew Dymski & Gray MacKenzie

In this episode of Agency Journey, Brett Harned from Digital PM Consulting discusses project management for agencies.

After working for as a project manager at Happy Cog and building project management teams, Brett jumped into the world of consulting where he helps other agencies solve their PM problems.

Here are the main takeaways from the interview:

Formalize Your Processes

If you’ve been listening to the show for any length of time, you know the importance of processes.

The same applies to PM at your agency. It’s important to have the processes at your agency of the entire project formalized too, not just bits and pieces of how to deliver a specific service.

Doing this will help you map out a set client journey and audit breaking and tension points at your agency each step of the way.

You want to ensure that the project smoothly flows from the start from business development to on-boarding to delivery.

It’s essential also to formalize a process based on the type of agency you want to run.

This means analyzing your team's personalities, the kinds of clients you work with, the timelines you’re looking to hit, how your agency communicates, etc.

You want to know who’s accountable for what each step of the way of you can better manage your team. This also ensures that each team member knows what they’re responsible for and don’t get lost.

By formalizing your process, you balance the creativity to do what you do best with delivering results for clients.

Figure Out What Your PM Roles

After you’ve mapped out your processes for the agencies and projects and how you want them to run, the next step is defining your PMs role.

You have to determine what their role looks like and what's required.

Are they just scheduling or staffing for your agency to get a project done?

Are they in-depth and involved every step of the way?

Are they closely involved with a client or is that left to an account manager?

Are they involved in upsetting clients?

Many people at agencies don’t respect project managers, but often this can be due to the role not being defined. No PM will succeed if they're stuck in a position scrambling to figure out where exactly they fit in and what they should be doing.

Formalizing processes is vital if you want to hire PMs and keep them at your agency.

This also means giving the PM power to lead at your agency. This can be difficult for agency owners, but if you want a high-quality PM, that’s what’s required.

How to Hire a Project Manager

Like hiring for any role, finding a good project manager can be challenging.

The PM role is strategy and involves taking projects from Point A to Point B efficiently, effectively, on budget while also delivering results.

They need to be focused on the right goals, understand the path of projects, know what the best focus is for clients, and be able to have regular dialogues with clients and your team about what could be done better and implementing it, not just talking about it.

Here are the attributes looking for when hiring a project manager.

  • Good team fit
  • Likable
  • Curious
  • Good Level of Knowledge
  • Fast Learner
  • Independent
  • Invested in your agency and client success
  • Leader

Brett’s insights about project management are insightful for agencies who have long struggled to figure out how to efficiently manage projects at their agency.

Brett can be reached on his website or LinkedIn.

Resources Mentioned

Tristan Ruml

Tristan Ruml

I focus on ZenPilot's growth and marketing. I've worked with a variety of start-ups and businesses to achieve fast growth, increase their revenue, and become more profitable. When I'm not working on ZenPilot, I'm outside, traveling or reading.