The Value of a Project Manager

Who’s paying attention to the details on your team?

Wendy Ruyle 8.8.2023


We’ve all been there. The horrible project—over budget, off schedule, dysfunctional team, no focus, the list goes on. Whatever the story, I’d bet you were missing one key thing.

Quality project management

When a marketing communications project is truly “managed” by a talented project manager, things just always seem to go better. It’s something we incorporate into every project at 5 by 5 Design, big or small. Why? Because project management follows a few basic rules of good business.

Set expectations

When everyone knows what to expect, they know what to do. Good project managers live by this rule. They use tools like meeting agendas and recaps, detailed schedules that identify the who/what/when of a project, and budget recaps that keep people focused and accountable.

If you want a project where everyone is working as a cohesive team toward a singular goal, you need to communicate what that goal is, what the process is to achieve it, and who’s responsible for each step along the way. Good tools and clear communications result in a team that works in harmony.

There are many tools out there to help you communicate with team members—Asana, Wrike,, Trello—the list goes on and on. Which tool you use is less important than the fact you and your team actually use it. Everyone needs to be trained and rewarded for using the process you’ve agreed to use.

Pay attention to the details

A good project manager understands the strategy, and then applies it at a granular level. Back in the day of big ad agencies and paper proofs, whole departments were dedicated to managing the flow of a project. People in those departments were called traffic managers, because they moved projects (and paper) around from person to person.

Today’s project managers do more than just move paper. They monitor schedules, budgets, reviews, changes, approvals, and generally are always in the know about every detail of a job. Even if you don't have someone on your team that has the title of “project manager,” make sure someone is assigned the role of paying attention to all the details, from start to finish on every project.

Champion the project and the people

It might seem like an old adage, but managing how people feel about a project before, during, and after it’s finished, is a critical factor in how they will judge the project’s success.

From getting team buy-in on ideas to quality proofreading to supervising how a project gets delivered, project management is responsible for keeping things running smoothly. They wear the hat of the realist who sets obtainable deadlines and the cheerleader who encourages everyone on the team to give 110 percent. Good collaboration requires good people skills.

Projects big and small can benefit from having a talented project manager on your team. So next time you want a project to be successful, make sure you identify a team leader that has the skills to follow a process, will use practical tools to stay on top of details, and will guide your team and the project all the way to the end.

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