Author Archives: Caroline Dau

Senior Producer at Verbal+Visual. I love long walks on the beach (literally) and to-do lists.

Managing Project Needs as Your Business Continues to Evolve

Constant Evolution — This is what makes software development both exhilarating and challenging. The same goes for clients running their businesses. As a client, you may be wondering how it is possible to define all of the needs for a website redesign at the start of a process that you know will take 3-6+ months; especially when the needs of your business are changing rapidly.

 

The Answer: Understand That the Process Is Iterative

RFPs and requirement documents are important when initially shopping around to find an agency or partner to work with on a website project, but it is vital to understand that these documents are not the “holy grail.” Finding a partner that understands the goals of your project is more important than making sure they have an answer for every line item. You should actually be skeptical if they seem to have all of the answers before doing any of the heavy lifting that goes into understanding your current processes and pain points.

Understand that these documents are meant to be a launching pad into conversations that will help shape the overall strategy for a project. What you are feel you “need” prior to the start of the project and what you ultimately launch with may be very different. Making decisions too early in the process can be detrimental.

Software development is iterative, meaning that at each step of the process you will need to test to validate decisions and be comfortable changing course if necessary. You can’t map out the entire course of the project on day one, instead think of it as one of those “Choose Your Adventure” books where you make educated decisions based on the information you have in front of you at that moment. You may need to pivot, but you are making more informed decisions along the way. It is also more fun this way!

 

Focus On the Goals, Not the Features

What is important when starting any project, but specifically a software development project, is outlining goals.These goals will be the North Star that you turn to when decisions are being made, so you need to ensure they are solid.

Clients sometimes make the mistake of setting very general and subjective goals. For example, “the website needs to be better,” is not an acceptable goal. There is no way to validate, and everyone may have a different idea of what “better” really means. Instead, set more specific, clear goals for a project.

One example is: “The goal for this project is to increase conversion rates on the site by 10% within 3 months post launch”. This is clear and results can be measured and analyzed to ultimately determine if the goal has been met or not.

 

Optimize for Even Greater Success!

As you start to consider the life-cycle of a website redesign, you may think that once the new website is launched the work is done. This is a mistake, and ultimately a missed opportunity.

Getting from point A (the start of the project) to point B (launch day) is a major accomplishment and should be celebrated, but the opportunities that lie after launch day are great. An optimization phase post-launch is the best way to validate decisions that were made throughout the course of the initial project, and to optimize and make necessary changes to improve overall success.

Evolution is vital to keep your business growing, so don’t be afraid to jump into a project with clear goals and an open mind.

 

Uncorking Solutions: Creating a Custom Compliance Integration for Shopify

The wine eCommerce business is a tricky one due to the many laws and regulations surrounding the product category. When our client approached us to integrate compliance software into an existing eCommerce solution to create both a seamless shopping experience for users, and an automated process for the business itself, we knew there would be a variety of challenges that a bottle of wine alone could not solve.

The first order of business was to discuss the requirements for the project. What are the non-negotiables?

 

Requirements

For any eCommerce project it is important to lay out what the requirements are for completing this project. It may be items related to the technology used or may be related to features. Whatever it is, requirements are essential to help both the client and the agency understand what the baseline is for a successful project.

Below is a list of some of the requirements we were dealing with for this particular project:

  • ShipCompliant was the compliance software we were were integrating with.
    • ShipCompliant is a leader in the wine, beer and spirits industry for compliance software. ShipCompliant offers a variety of tools that take the burden of age verification, address checks, tax reporting, and fulfillment management, to name a few, off of a company’s plate. Uproot Wines, our client, already worked with ShipCompliant, and wanted to continue using the software.
  • This was not to be a generic or traditional wine eCommerce site.
    • For Uproot Wines, it was vital to present themselves as a cutting-edge company that happens to sell wine, as opposed to the other way around. Based on this requirement we had to eliminate the option of using two of the content management systems that had pre-existing integrations with ShipCompliant, VineSpring and Vin65. These platforms are very limited in the amount of customization that can be done to the overall experience. We did not want our limitations from these systems dictate the decisions we made from a design perspective. Out of this mindset,  the need grew for a custom solution.
  • A SaaS solution was desirable.
    • The Uproot team had limited resources to keep the website up and running, so it was important to use a solution that made for easy updates and order management. We looked into a number of SaaS eCommerce platforms, as described below, to help determine the right fit.

With the requirements laid out we were off and running completing research to determine the right eCommerce fit.

 

Finding the Right eCommerce Solution

For any eCommerce project it is vital to pick the best technologies to lay the foundation for the platform. We knew right off the bat it was important to use a trusted SaaS solution, one that would require minimal dev. ops knowledge and could be easily maintained by the client in the future. As a younger company with limited resources, the platform needed to be both robust and easy to use.

After looking into a number of eCommerce options, we landed on Shopify Plus. Shopify is a well established eCommerce solution with a great community of users, and a wonderful support staff. When building a custom integration it makes a difference when you know you have access to a support team for the platform. This allows you to bounce strategic ideas off of them, and to ensure that you never go too far into a direction that simply won’t work. Shopify Plus is an enterprise version of the software that allows for the greatest flexibility and customization, so it would allow our team to tailor the checkout flow as desired.

Once we were sure Shopify Plus was the right decision, the build phase began.

 

Creating the Custom Integration

The custom integration between Shopify and ShipCompliant had been attempted in the past, according to the ShipCompliant team, but it had never been successful. This news did not frighten us, but instead motivated us to find a solution.

We had one developer dedicated to this custom integration, while a team of two additional developers worked on the remainder of the site.

Using the ShipCompliant API and Shopify’s embedded SDK, we were able to create a custom private Shopify app bridging the two services.

Here is a general sense of how this integration works:

  1. A user is ready to check out on the website. Prior to being able to successfully complete checkout, they must pass the first level of age verification built into the site. When a user places an order for the first time, they are asked to enter their birthday. If the entered birthday demonstrates they are under the legal drinking age (21 years old), they are unable to purchase via the site, and see an error message explaining to them why this is so. In addition, they must choose a shipping address within the states that Uproot is able to ship to. If a user chooses a state outside of the region that Uproot has licenses to ship to, they receive an on-screen prompt letting them know they are unable to get product shipped there.
  2. If a user does pass the age verification test they are able to complete their purchase.
  3. Once placed by a user on the frontend of the site, an order is fed into the admin dashboard of Shopify. Immediately that order triggers the compliance check, via the custom ShipCompliant API integration. If there are any issues with the order they will appear within the details for that order. Issues may arise if there is an age verification issue on the ShipCompliant level, a problem with the shipping address, or a number of other flags that ShipCompliant can throw. If that is the case, the Uproot staff can remedy this in a variety of ways, by updating the order information, or by reaching out to the customer to determine the best course of action.
  4. Uproot Wines specifically requested that credit card information be authorized automatically, but to be captured manually. The staff has the ability to go into the Shopify admin panel and manually capture any outstanding orders.
  5. The Uproot staff then has the ability to choose the fulfillment location they want to use for that specific order. With multiple fulfillment locations, the ShipCompliant integration allows Uproot to connect and send orders to all of the warehouses they work with all using a simple dropdown.
  6. At that point the order is sent to fulfillment and a confirmation is sent to the customer. The order information is fed into ShipCompliant for tax reporting purposes and the process is complete.

 

Challenges

There were a number of challenges that arose as we moved through this custom integration project. All of these challenges forced us to be creative to come up with workable strategies.

The two largest challenges we had to overcome included:

  • Working with API documentation that had not been updated. While ShipCompliant does offer an API, the documentation for that API was very limited, and rather outdated. We had to work very closely with the ShipCompliant team, and even prompted them to make some updates to their API based on our feedback to ensure everything worked smoothly.  
  • Custom tax rates – there are unique tax rates for not only every state, but every county and every city as it relates to liquor taxes! Shopify does not yet allow uploads of custom tax rates – due to that we had to manually enter all of the tax rates. This was a time consuming process, but one that needed to get done.

 

Putting it to Work

Uproot Wines launched just over a year ago, and the results have been tremendous. The integration has ensured that the business runs smoothly even with a small team. In just four months Uproot received a 100% ROI. There was a 25% increase in conversion rate and a 30% decrease in bounce rate with the launch of the new site. Even more exciting is the fact that we were able to tackle a custom integration that had never been done before.
Be sure to check out the site at drinkuproot.com!

Hosting Post-Mortem Meetings 101

While post-mortem meetings may sound horrifying thanks to their name, they are vital when it comes to continuously improving your team and process. The main goal of a post-mortem meeting is to analyze the successes and failures of a particular project, and more importantly, to come up with actionable items to insert into the team’s process to ensure future projects run more smoothly. For our team there are a few key steps in ensuring a post-mortem meeting is successful.

Step 1: Create and distribute pre-meeting survey

Even prior to holding a post-mortem meeting, it is recommended that you allow the team to reflect on the project and gather its thoughts. This can be done in a variety of ways, but I like to send out a short survey asking some basic questions which can be answered using a 10 point scale (1 = I strongly agree / 10 = I strongly disagree).

Some of these questions include:

Questionnaire for prior to post-mortem meeting

I also ensure that there is an open question at the end where a team member can leave any opinions in his/her own words — be it positive or negative. Giving everyone the space to document their experience helps gather insightful feedback.

After collecting all of the questionnaire responses, I synthesize the information to help shape the agenda for the meeting. It is important that each team member feels that his/her voice has been heard, so constructing the agenda around the thoughts of the team has proved most productive for me.

Step 2: Prepare meeting agenda

Through the analysis of the team questionnaires, I create a meeting agenda. I have learned that it is vital to have an agenda at every meeting no matter how formal or informal that meeting should be. As a lean team, we try to keep meetings short and productive, and a concrete agenda allows us to move through line items quickly and efficiently without sacrificing meaningful conversation.

Agenda fo Post-Mortem Meeting

Step 3: Ensure meeting is held in welcoming and comfortable environment

Entering a meeting in which you know that discussions of failures and pain points will take center stage can be a bit stressful. You want to make sure the team feels comfortable and not defensive when the meeting begins. I find there are a number of ways to make sure that the environment is one that promotes open discussion:

  • Find an environment that is comfortable — be it a lounge or a conference room with great chairs. People should be able to feel somewhat relaxed.
  • Make sure everyone has water and has used the bathroom. Seems odd, but honestly if people are physically feeling great they tend to be more willing to participate. Participation is key in this type of meeting.
  • Send the calendar invite for 10 minute prior to when you plan on officially starting the meeting. This allows people to roll in a bit more casually and allows team members to discuss non-work related topics before jumping into the “serious” stuff. That being said, as soon as that official start time rolls around be sure to get started promptly and keep the conversation moving.
  • Cookies! They make everything better.

Step 4: Walk through meeting agenda — be sure to promote constructive critiques only!

Constructive is the key word here! To preface each post-mortem meeting, I make sure to remind team members that everything said in the meeting should be done with the intention to better the other team members. Luckily I have a very kind-hearted team, but it is easy to see how one of these meetings could spiral out of control into some catty/mean-girl behavaior. As the Senior Producer, I tend to serve as moderator in these meetings, so if there is any topic that seems to be moving in the wrong direction, I try to refocus everyone.

post-mortem-meeting-whiteboard

As we walk through the meeting agenda, there are lots of comments made, so it is important to take detailed notes. Often times I will scribble general notes on a white board, but will recruit another team member to take more specific notes that I type up and send to the team following the meeting.

Step 5: Call out actionable items and detail how these will be incorporated into current team process

One of the most important aspects of these meetings is to leave with a list of to-do’s that can be implemented instantly to improve the overall project lifecycle. This can be something small such as, “update strategy documents to include page numbers,” or a more overarching concept such as, “ensure developers sign off on strategy prior to sending to client for final approval.”

Either way each task should be assigned to one or more team members, so they can be held accountable at the next post-mortem.

Step 6: Celebrate the completion of the project!

At the close of each post-mortem meeting people should leave feeling accomplished. While there may have been bumps in the road, completing a project is something to be celebrated. Make sure to congratulate the team for the many successes and to motivate them to continue to get better at their individual job functions, and as a cohesive unit.

Each project is a learning experience and taking the time to reflect on that experience is not only important for the growth of the company, but also for each individual. Go forth and host some great post-mortem’s!

Meet My Long Distance Work Boyfriend

Work relationships have been commonplace for as long as the office-job has existed. Oh you  know what I’m talking about: that special someone who brightens your day and gives you a reason to wake up in the morning. A friend who lends moral support, makes you laugh, and provides guidance during the hours of 9am – 6pm, Monday through Friday.

 

I have a confession…I have a long-distance work boyfriend.

 

“What is a long distance work boyfriend?” you may ask. As a small digital agency working with a wide array digital platforms, Verbal+Visual will often bring on specialists to help with a specific project’s features and requirements. Using external freelancers allows the agency to stay lean while having access to the high level of talent and expertise necessary to work on a diverse array of complex projects. Recently we found ourselves in need of a Shopify specialist to help with custom integrations for an e-commerce site: cue my long-distance work boyfriend.

 

For the record I refer to him as “boyfriend” as opposed to “husband” due to the fact that I had never worked with him prior, and needed to first make that meaningful connection.

 

There are some very key aspects to make any relationship a success: communication, trust, humor and mutual respect. As my work boyfriend and I began our journey together there were tools and technologies that helped us to foster these qualities, and stay grow close despite the long distance between New York City and India.

 

Communication | Skype

  • As anyone in an LDR know, the wonders of modern technology make it immensely easier to stay in constant communication with your partner. Skype was our tool of choice, and allowed us to communicate any time during my day, his night, or vice versa. Given the time difference we both had to be flexible on timing, as there were many an evening or weekend that I needed him right away.

 

Trust | Asana

  • Here at Verbal+Visual I rely on Asana as my primary project management tool for both our in-office staff, and outside contractors. I love Asana for its user-friendly platform that easily allows me to assign tasks and deadlines to anyone assigned to a specific project. Ensuring that my boyfriend understood my expectations was vital, and being able to monitor his progress from my end made it much easier to trust one another. I knew he would never lie to me.

 

Humor | Emojis

  • With tight deadlines and the unexpected bugs that inevitably arise during any development endeavor, it’s important to mix in some humor whenever possible to lighten the mood. Keeping our communication casual and throwing in emojis brought a smile to our faces no matter how stressful the situation around us. My boyfriend has a great sense of humor.

 

Respect

  • Respecting one another can be considered the foundation to all relationships in one’s life. In this particular relationship, establishing that respect for one another’s talents was a vital first step in building our partnership. There really is not one tool that can help foster respect, instead it comes from getting to know and understand a person and how they work. By mutually respecting one another’s job functions we were able to work together seamlessly.

 

The project my work boyfriend and I collaborated on ended a few months back, and it’s been a bittersweet journey returning to work without his wonderful work ethic and constant support.

 

So what did I learn from my work-relationship experience? Freelancers have a lot to live up to if they want to claim me as their work girlfriend!

Just Signed: Deadstock Inc.

The shoe-lover in me is excited to announce that we are working with the “brand new” brand Deadstock Inc. Deadstock was created for sneaker enthusiasts to obtain exclusive sneakers they may not have previously had access to. The world of sneakers has a lot to do with who you know! Deadstock Inc. wants to serve as the middle man between sneaker heads and the shoes they want most. Currently the brand is rolling out via Instagram and other social media outlets as a way to gain exposure.

The future of Deadstock includes selling branded merchandise, as well as exclusive sneakers via an eCommerce platform and a mobile sneaker truck. This sneaker truck will be outfitted as a fully functioning boutique. This unique “storefront” is what sets Deadstock Inc. apart and encompasses the fun, innovative and creative spirit of the brand.

We are looking forward to working with Deadstock Inc. to design and develop both the brand and eCommerce digital platforms.

Reasons We Love Deadstock Inc.

It is no secret that here at Verbal+Visual we work with brands that we love. Here are just a few things that draw us towards Deadstock Inc.:

  • The uniqueness of the retail concept
  • The strong integration of social into the brand identity and future shopping experience
  • The young, fresh vibe of the company
  • The tagline! “Be You. Be Brand New”

We are excited to “kick” off this project and see how far we can “run” with it.

Deadstock Inc.

Horrifying Scope Creep: How To Deal With This Demon

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought today would be an appropriate time to post a recap of some of the conversations I had with fellow Project Managers and Producers at the DPM Connect event I volunteered to help organize.

In true PM style we decided to add some structure to your “average” networking event. There was an overarching theme of “What Keeps You Up At Night,” with “Scope Creep”, “Nightmare Conversations”, and “Design Frankenstein” serving as topics discussed throughout the evening.

This post will focus on the insight that I gained during my time discussing scope creep, an issue that many Project Managers must face at some point.

Documentation is key

It is so important to keep organized documentation throughout the entire life cycle of a project. This definitely includes the original scoping phase in which a scope is discussed and agreed upon. Having a document with details on the scope can be a lifesaver when scope creep comes to play.

Clients may think that a new feature they mention after the project has began is included in the original scope when it is not. Having that detailed document to show them will help them understand what was signed off on, and what is a new request.

It was also discussed that there are times that a project is so close to completion, and while the client is reviewing they come back with a lot of changes they want made. Often times they are confused on why the product is the way it is. Being able to show that client all of the steps that were taken to get to the final product and the processes / conversations that occurred internally, as well as with the client team to get to that point at least shows them why the product is the way it is. At this point they are far more likely to be willing to discuss additional budget and timeline for those requested changes.

Create an opportunity

Scope creep does not have to be so horrifying! Use it as an opportunity to renegotiate. If a client has additional features they feel are important to solve the business goals of their company you should welcome additional requests. That being said the client must understand that additional requests likely means additional time needed and additional budget requirements.

scopecreep1Learn to say no

Often times as a Project Manager we are hardwired to be people pleasers. We always do our best to accommodate others. While these qualities are great a majority of the time, when it comes to scope creep they can be a problem. It is important to stop the creep as soon as it starts as not to allow it to continue to balloon out of control. When a feature comes up that was not a part of the original scope promptly let the client know that this feature was not originally discussed, and therefore the effects on the budget and timeline will need to be discussed. Referring to that in-depth documentation discussed above will allow you to show the client the limitations of the agreed upon scope, as opposed to just telling them.

Clients are not just being mean!

At the end of the day we are all here to help our clients achieve their business goals. Over the course of a long project (some can take years), it is understandable that the needs of a business will evolve and change. By understanding that the clients are only making requests based on what will benefit their business, you can better approach your scope discussions. Enter into a conversation about the best way to approach these changes in need and who knows what innovative ideas may occur! If you know a project will be a long one it may be beneficial to set break points where you can discuss the scope and adjust as need be.

For all of you that are dealing with some form of scope creep know that you are not alone. While it can seem like a daunting task to manage it is doable. Have you ever had to deal with this issue before? If so how did you handle it?

Also, I would like to extend a sincere thanks to all of the Project Managers who came out to the October DPM Connect event and took the time to share their experiences. It was a fabulous evening and I learned so much!

DPM Connect “What Keeps You Up At Night” Event Recap

Last night marked the second DPM Connect event which brought together a group of talented digital project managers and producers exciting to share stories, insights, and drinks! The theme of the event was “What Keeps You Up At Night” and included discussions on the topics of scope creep, design frankenstein and nightmare conversations. It was a great opportunity to not only get to know other PMs in the NYC area, but discuss experiences related to the position.

DPM Connect October EventI was lucky enough to partake in some amazing conversations that included debating the best practices in terms of handling projects that continue to grow and grow in scope, and the importance of utilizing the team and resources around you at all steps in a project’s lifespan. Our amazing sponsors Harvest, Float and GatherContent donated some amazing prizes that we were able to raffle off throughout the evening.

Look for future posts detailing some of the lessons I learned from this event!

As part of the volunteer team it was wonderful to see our efforts pay off with what was a great night. Thank you to everyone that came out and made the event a success. For more information about DPM Connect, future events, and how to get involved, be sure to check out the website at www.dpmconnect.com. 

 

Navigating Client Personality Types

I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of clients since I have started here at Verbal+Visual, and in doing so I have experienced a number of different personalities. When I sit down to think about all of my past client experiences I tend to notice some patterns emerge in terms of these personality types. After reading a number of blog posts and articles related to this topic, I have found that there seems to be certain personality types observed over and over again in this industry. Here are 5 of those client personality types I have observed:

1. The lost puppy

This client often times has an overall vision, but other than that very little idea on how to execute that vision.

Pros

A client that does not know what they are looking for allows those working on the project to get creative. Often times out of this creativity comes an exceptional product that the client never even dreamed of!

Cons

With a client like this you sometimes get the “I don’t know what I want, but I know I don’t want that” line. These types tend to not provide concrete feedback, which can lead to a project that feels like it is going in circles.

 

2. The “more is more” believer

This client thinks that there is no such thing as too much. They want to include all functionality and design elements they may have liked from other sites without thinking about the overall usability of the site. Steering this client to see the bigger picture and think about the why behind each of their requests is very important.

Pros

This client will not be afraid to try adding a new or cutting edge design / functionality piece to their project that a more conservative client may be wary of.

Cons 

They tend to not understand the importance of UX and honing in on the overall objectives of the site to make strategic decisions. If they see it on another site they expect that it can and should be included on their own.

 

3. The nitpicker

This client has a very distinct vision and every aspect of that vision needs to be done exactly to their specifications.

Pros

Doing exactly what someone asks for can be great if what they are asking for is really what is best for their business. If it is, it makes our job easy as we simply need to execute.

Cons

Perfectionists dwell on the smallest of details that really will not effect the overall outcome of a project. This can impede on the timeline, as a task that should only take 1 day can take multiple as the client fusses over every little aspect.

 

4. The always URGENT client

Clients who start every email with URGENT in the subject line tend to over-exaggerate problems, which can lead to a lot of worry for no reason. Recognizing this trait early on in a project will help to ease your nerves as you work with these clients.

Pros

These types are attentive and timely in communicating, as they are always wary that something will go wrong.

Cons

Countless times I have been panicked when I see the subject of an email from these clients, only to find that when I open the email it really is a non-issue. More often then not these clients expect you to drop everything to assist them with every little question or minor concern they may have – even when those issues are not time sensitive.

 

5. The perfect client

Believe what you want but this does exist! This does not technically mean that this client can do no wrong, but in reality the perfect client is one that is willing to both share ideas and listen when it comes to their project. This personality type is willing to engage in the process without limiting the creativity and excitement that comes with creating something new.

Each client has unique needs and it is important to establish a relationship during the first few calls or meetings you may have with a client to feel out what personality type you are dealing with. Understanding the person you are working with will help you establish a wonderful working relationship. Trying to navigate different personalities can be a challenge, but it is also what makes a Project Manager’s job so exciting.

 

Why Honesty Really Is The Best Policy

As a Project Manager you are constantly interfacing with clients, as well as internal staff. All Project Managers know that unfortunately, we can’t always be the bearers of good news. Every once in a while you are put in the situation where something is not going as planned. Maybe the project is a bit behind schedule, maybe a certain feature will require additional budget; whatever the case may be, these are the times when a Project Manager is faced with two options.

Option 1: Bend the truth. Use your creative genius to make up excuses, or try placing the blame on others. Under no circumstance should you reveal what the actual issue was. Go on hoping that the issue somehow does not get any bigger than it already is.

Option 2: Be honest. Tell the client or other party exactly what happened to lead to this perceived disappointment. Let them know the steps you plan on taking to move the project forward while being 100% transparent. 

I am here to tell you that from my experience Option 2 is always the way to go. Transparency is key when it comes to project management. Clients are human and at the end of the day they understand that life sometimes throws us curve balls. I have found that people tend to be much more willing to accept and understand set-backs if you are upfront and honest about those set-backs.

Now, this idea of honesty does not just apply in the project manager and client relationship either, it can be extended to all other parts of ones work life. You need to be comfortable approaching co-workers or your boss and telling them the truth, even if you know if may not be exactly what they want to hear. By being open and honest with those you work with, you will build a foundation of trust, one of the most important elements in any relationship.

I will spare you the lecture on how being honest is also fundamentally important in ones personal life and sum up with the following: there will be instances when you drop the ball, and that is okay considering, as previously mentioned, we are all human. It is my finding that people appreciate honestly, and actually admire those that are genuine. Bending the truth may seem a fitting solution in the moment, but in reality, lying typically ends up coming back to bite us in the butt. Let’s be honest (no pun intended), did the “my dog ate my homework” thing ever really work for you growing up? Well, it is highly unlikely to start working for you now. As much as I hate to admit it, it appears my parents were right when they said “honesty is the best policy.”

Project Management & Art of Improvisation: Insight Gained From DMP Connect’s Panel

I had the pleasure of attending the first ever Digital Project Management Connect event last night hosted by Barrel. Last night’s panel discussion topic was “Project Management and the Art of Improvisation.” Panel members, Kristin Ellington from Funny Garbage, Mark Krawczak, a freelance producer, Mea Cole Tefka from Huge, and Michael Romanowicz from Mr. UX, all discussed the importance of improv as it relates to managing projects. The different insights and experiences shared made for a very interesting and informative panel.

Kristin Ellington kicked off the evening with her keys to successful project management. These included:

  • Like people
  • Deep listening
  • Utilizing “yes, and”
  • How about we
  • Be honest

Other great points included Mark’s comments on the importance of going back to best practices even in the midst of chaos, and Mea’s relating improv comedy to project management.

One of my favorite comments of the night came form Michael: “Producers are the most important member of the team!” Well I will admit, perhaps I am a bit biased.

The evening was a great opportunity to meet other digital project managers and share stories. Looking forward to many DPM Connect events to come. If you are a project manager or producer looking to connect with others in the industry I highly recommend checking out DMP Connect’s website and signing up for email updates on upcoming events.