Project managers in any industry should be good leaders, good communicators and well organized. What makes the interactive industry different is the nature of the product. Interactive projects can involve Web development, communications or marketing and video game production. If you are interested in managing interactive projects, get some experience working in the field. Any project manager should have enough experience to recognize and address the kind of risks that are industry- or product-specific.
An interactive project manager must be able to lead a diverse group of talent, including technical team members and nontechnical business group members. She needs to effectively navigate her internal organization, knowing whom to contact and following company processes to make things happen. As a leader, she is counted upon to take or initiate the actions needed to remove obstacles to her team’s success. Strong leadership characteristics include behaving ethically in all situations combined with the ability to motivate, influence and anticipate what might be coming around the corner.
One of the most important tasks of a project manager is to keep people informed. The project manager must constantly receive and distribute information, reaching team members, customers, sponsors, vendors and other internal departments. Knowing what to communicate, and when, is part of every project manager’s process. But communicating effectively takes skill. The interactive project manager needs to know the language of the project in addition to that of its stakeholders and adjust the language of the message to the intended audience. While developers look for technical terminology, business colleagues don’t.
The project manager must successfully lead team members through milestones to achieve the goals of the project. While some activities will occur in sequence, others may need to happen in parallel. Organizational skills help her to engage the right resources at the appropriate time and keep plans in order and up to date. The many tasks involved in an interactive project flow from design to development, testing and launch, and every task has to be coordinated.
The project manager submits status reports and gives presentations to stakeholders. The documents associated with these activities should be designed to clearly and concisely provide the needed information to support decisions and address problems. When changes to the project plan have to be introduced, it is up to the project manager to communicate the details and get feedback from team members to determine how tasks, milestones, resources and the project schedule will be impacted. Adjustments must be made to support the changes without jeopardizing the project’s overall success.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.