Tactical Execution Manager, Project Scheduler, Delivery Lead, Project Quality Manager - for a multifaceted job, there are multiple titles out there for a Project Manager. At Access, our Digital Project Managers do all of the above and more to ensure our delivery teams execute work on time and to a high standard.
Assisting clients with support and maintenance retainers, through to complex multi-stakeholder projects - our Project Managers’ day to day is varied. So to chat through what they get up to and how they individually manage their squads, meet our PMs…
Project Manager, Jess, is up first. Managing Squad 3 and working with clients Avant Homes and Beechfield Brands, she opens up about how she got into project management…
What did you do before you joined the PM team at Access? I’ve worked at several digital agencies over the past 5-6 years, starting as an Account Exec and working my way to a Project Manager. I have a range of experience from working on portfolios of retainer clients to end-to-end builds and everything in-between.
What do you like about working at Access? I love how people-focused the agency is, everyone is really supportive and there’s a real sense that we’re in it together.
What’s your favourite tech/software that helps you with your role? Of all the tech/software we use I would say that Jira and Confluence help the most with my role. They help to keep everything tracked and transparent for everyone involved.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I’m a Mum of two so when I’m not working I’m focused on them and making memories as a family. When I get some time to myself you’ll find me reading, cooking or catching up on some TV.
What’s your advice for those looking to get into project management? Go into project management with an open mind, lead with honesty, be adaptable, communicate clearly and prepare yourself for no two days to be the same.
Looking after the Support and Maintenance team working on client retainers, Junior Project Manager, Louis, is “the glue that holds the team together”. He also supports clients WaterAid, Leonard Cheshire and RAF Benevolent Fund on their larger projects.
What did you do before you joined the PM team at Access? I’ve had several marketing and digital project management positions starting with an apprenticeship when I left school for a local government organisation to more recently a PM role at a small agency down in Kent.
What do you like about working at Access? There’s a close knit, family vibe here at Access despite there being over 40 of us now. I’ve nearly been at Access a year and have always felt welcomed and listened to despite working remotely from London. We look out for each other.
What’s your favourite tech/software that helps you with your role? For Mac users you actually can’t go wrong with the bog standard Apple Notes these days - especially since the new OS update. It’s quick, easy to use and easy to keep organised more importantly. As a PM I take so many notes throughout the day so it’s important to keep them all filed away in various folders organised by client, job or meeting to come back to when I need to.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I absolutely live for a brunch, so you’ll probably find me in a cafe on the weekend. Avo toast, oat flat white and I’ll have a poached egg on top if they’re offering. Wow that couldn’t be more Gen-Z could it?
What’s your advice for those looking to get into project management? Go for it! And when you do, don’t be afraid to ask questions, you aren’t expected to know everything on day one. Asking is how you learn and you might harm the project more if you don’t speak up.
Debbie is the next PM we talked to, and is our longest standing Project Manager. Working with clients Edrington and Iolla on Squad 1, self-professed ‘President of Priorities and Deadlines’ it’s all about organisation for Debbie.
What did you do before you joined the PM team at Access? I've always been agency side, working closely with clients which is a big part of my role now. I started out in event management before taking on more digital projects to establish myself as a Digital Project Manager. Along the way I've learnt and undertaken agile principles before becoming a certified Scrum Master.
What do you like about working at Access? The people - sounds cliche, but I work with a great bunch everyday who really look out for each other!
What’s your favourite tech/software that helps you with your role? Any of the communication tools we use across the agency. Staying in touch with the squad is so vital to all the work we have going on so I'd have to say Slack or Zoom. I prefer jumping on a quick chat with someone to get some proper airtime as it can give so much more than just a written message.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I enjoy playing golf when I can, although it's mostly been at the driving range rather than on a course recently.
What’s your advice for those looking to get into project management? Hone in on the important skills that project managers need: organisation, attention to detail, time management and the ability to get things done. Get as much real life experience as possible and undertake additional learning to understand Agile ways of working.
Newest to the team is Junior PM, Beth. Recently out of university, she is supporting some of our largest clients Edrington and Iolla across their digital platforms as she learns the Project Management profession.
What did you do before you joined the PM team at Access? Previously I worked as a Product Marketing Intern at Bosch on a placement year, and a few casual jobs (varying from a volunteer ambulance driver to a student ambassador) whilst at university. This is my first full-time job post graduation and my first exposure to project management.
What do you like about working at Access? The culture is so welcoming and positive, people are always willing to help each other out to learn and improve. I love how everyone works really hard but there’s always time to chill out and have some fun with weekly socials.
What’s your favourite tech/software that helps you with your role? Parabol is one of my new favourite tools. It’s a reflective planning tool which helps the team contemplate and look back once a project has ended and helps to facilitate what processes we can improve on in the future.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? I really like being active so I enjoy going to the gym, playing tennis, paddle boarding (when it’s not too cold!). Also watching sport on the weekends with my family, and going out with friends.
What’s your advice for those looking to get into project management? Everyone has their own take on the processes of project management so it’s about adapting some of the core principles and then finding what works for you and your team effectively.
So there we have it - the Access Project Management team!