Imagine being the CEO or chair of a large corporation. You’d never dream of signing off on an initiative that flushes 12% of your profits down the drain!
Yet a lack of effective project management is accomplishing nearly the same thing across all industries: The Project Management Institute finds that 11.4% of resources invested in projects are wasted by projects failing to deliver expected results.
Project management (or, in many cases, more effective project management) is the leading solution to solving this waste: Operating more efficiently with fewer errors and bottlenecks will reduce waste and increase output.
In the context of web development, the term for this discipline is website project management. Today’s post will cover what this important role does, its key roles and responsibilities, and the skills and qualifications organizations should look for when searching for a website project manager.
What does a website project manager do?
A website project manager plans, organizes, and manages the workflow of any type of web project. Projects can range from a simple landing page to an entire site buildout or migration. The website project manager takes the requirements and deliverables of a project and breaks them down into discrete pieces of work (tasks and subtasks). Then the PM organizes and schedules those tasks and subtasks before assigning them to workers.
In other words, this role takes all the standard responsibilities of a project manager and some of the more specialized elements a technical project manager would handle and applies them to the field of web development.
This role can be an on-site or remote position and (given the specialization and experience required) is usually full time rather than part time.
Key roles and responsibilities of a website project manager
The job responsibilities of a website project manager can be wide-ranging and typically include most or all of the following elements.
Organizes, guides, and updates project management software
Web development projects involve numerous parts and pieces, as well as multiple specialists working together toward a defined goal. Given the complex nature of web development, most website project managers will use project management software to keep track and make sense of the project and its many tasks and subtasks. While just one in four companies across all industries uses project management software, the likelihood of use increases with more complex and tech-centric projects.
Within that software, the website project manager is ultimately responsible for keeping the project organized, guiding team members as they work, and updating project information regularly.
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Communicates efficiently with team members
Keeping track of dozens of tasks and numerous team members is just as much art and science. And the art component often boils down to communication: Between project status reports, milestones, project timelines, and holding the line on project scope, there’s plenty for a web development project manager to communicate about.
Website project managers who can communicate clearly, kindly, and efficiently have a significant advantage over those who don’t.
Uses agile, kanban, waterfall, scrum, or critical path methodologies to plan projects
Most software and web development projects use an agile project managementmethodology to move quickly, pivot effortlessly, and keep moving forward.
Agile methods include agile itself, kanban, scrum, and several other variations of each. These break down work into shorter iterations or sprints and are highly flexible and adaptable to change.
Another option is waterfallmethodology, though this less flexible approach works best on those rare web development projects when goals and outcomes are firmly established and will not change. Critical path methodology is almost the opposite approach of agile. It maps out the longest series of sequential steps (the critical path) and maps the full project along that path.
While there’s a place for all these methods, most website project managers gravitate toward agile styles for most projects.
For more on agile methods and how Teamwork supports them, check out our detailed guide on everything you need to know about agile project management.
Sets the budget, scope, and timelines for projects
Traditional project managers are responsible for setting the budget, scope, and timeline for their projects. This functions more or less exactly the same in web projects.
Delegates tasks and assignments to team members
No project manager can ever complete a project alone, even one with great programming skills. Delegating work to the various team members is a key project management responsibility.
This may be a more collaborative process at the start of each sprint in shorter and more agile projects involving team members with overlapping skill sets. Even there, the project manager provides guidance and keeps an eye on overall workloads and allocations, ensuring the work is spread around optimally.
Works with team members to resolve internal and external issues
In any web project, issues are inevitable. These can be internal (involving two or more team members) or external (involving issues between your team and outside vendors — or between your project and another that it must interact with).
The best website project managers, then, are skilled negotiators and problem solvers. A dose of creative, outside-the-box thinking doesn’t hurt, either.
Writes status reports for current projects
One goal of project management is to keep the operators focused on their work, not on administrative details. Project managers take care of status reports and updates related to a project.
Giving this responsibility to the project manager frees up your developers to do what they do, free of distraction. What’s more, assigning these tasks to a data- and project-minded person generates better and more accurate results.
Skills and requirements needed to be a successful website project manager
Just as the roles and responsibilities involved in website project management cover a wide range, so do the skills and requirements that lead to success. Ideal candidates for this role should possess or work toward these project management skills and attributes.
Bachelor's degree in computer science
This position doesn’t manage just any projects — it manages technical projects centering on website development. The tasks and processes involved here include terminology and concepts that the average person likely won’t know or understand. For this reason, a college degree in computer science or another computer-related field is often expected.
At least 2 years of web project management experience
If you can, pursue candidates who already have some experience in the field. Perhaps this came as a project assistant or as a team member in another role who later transitioned into project management. Another option is reskilling an experienced project manager by providing training in the skills necessary for web design and development.
In-depth leadership and collaboration skills
Project managers are problem-solvers who frequently communicate with stakeholders up and down the ladder. Doing this well requires strong collaboration, leadership, and communication skills.
A deep understanding of programming languages
Because website project managers work on a variety of technical development projects, these professionals typically have more technical knowledge than a standard PM would need. A project manager that can’t tell the difference between CSS, Bootstrap, HTML, and an API just isn’t going to be able to understand enough about the project to manage it.
Website project managers may not need to be as skilled as the specialists on the project, but they must be able to understand and speak the language of web development (and speak it well).
Become a better website project manager with Teamwork
Managing projects can be a challenge in any context. Doing so with web development teams using complex tools and skills tends to add another layer of difficulty.
Along with the right experience and skills, a successful website project manager needs the right set of tools.
A well-crafted project design platform that caters to the needs of development teams is essential. So is choosing a platform that supports both agile and non-agile project managementmethodologies — you never know when you may need to pivot, so you don’t want to get locked into a tool that only works one way.
Teamwork is the ideal solution: It’s built to work well for agile and traditional development teams, and it’s easy to set up and start using. Track all your project data — no matter how you project manage — and get a better handle on the tasks and workflows that lead to a successful project.
Ready to take the next step? Sign up for free today!