I have been a project manager for 10 months, and this is what I learned.

Written by 5ivecanons Staff

Great project management for an even greater company (that’s us) can look a lot like this:

Coffee. Laughter. Emails. Meetings. Gratitude. Coffee. Update PM tools. Time Management. Budgeting. Funny Tik Tok Videos. Coffee. Repeat.

Project management when you’re fresh AF at this new company that is so immersed in projects that you get thrown into the fiery depths of creative agency life on day 1 looks more like this:

Luckily, the feeling of that gif doesn’t last forever and the pride and gratitude of being a PM for a great team takes over very quickly. But that’s not to say that there aren’t hundreds of trials and tribulations along the way.

With every mistake came a valuable lesson. And with every repeated mistake, came a sticky note reminder, front and center on my desktop, to never ever make that mistake a third time.

We’re all human and we all make mistakes whether we like it or not. But in my quest to be as non-human as possible and never make a single mistake again, here’s my list of everything I’ve learned as a new PM.

Some of these became sticky notes. Others became instant stomach aches that assured me they would never happen again. Regardless, they’ve all turned into wisdom that maybe this blog post will pass along to others in the same realm of work.

  • NEVER EVER EVER assume anything
  • Organize your shit
  • Take your fucking time
  • QA everything. Twice. Three times? And then have someone else QA
  • Re-read all received and about-to-be-sent emails
  • Check budget every damn week for every client
  • Project briefs need to be crystal fucking clear
  • Be confident when communicating with clients
  • Transparency goes a long way
  • If you think the client is going to say something, you’re probably right. Address it/fix it ahead of time
  • Check your production team’s bandwidth before asking for a task
  • Make sure all your ducks are in a row before assigning any task
  • Don’t delay responding to emails
  • Make a daily to-do list
  • Google it first if it’s Google-able
  • Phone calls go further than emails
  • And most importantly..
  • I literally work with the most incredible humans on the planet and COULD NOT ask for a better team and work / life balance.

The takeaway? Well, there are a few:

No matter how novice you are to something, if it means a lot to you, all the mistakes you make along the way can always make you better.
When you have a kickass team behind you, they’ll make sure you grow and enjoy the learning process along the way.
Be transparent and keep your word.

Regardless of your background, career status, caffeine tolerance, or ability to multitask, everyone can always benefit from a nice reminder every now and then.