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  • Andrew Nesbitt

    You know in the book he wasn’t eaten ;)

  • Probably the most important paragraph in this article:

    “if you’re not following a structured process for taking new client requests and producing quotes then you’re immediately running big risks of over selling, under quoting and / or missing critical requirements”

    Becoming the client’s friend is a two edged sword, it might help you later in your (future) career, but it can wreak havoc upon the current project. Being both the Account Manager and the Project Manager, the client will know (not feel) that you have the authority to make things happen for him (you know, like changes).

    It is important for Project Managers to learn how to say no, or else they’ll perish, and so will the project.

  • Great post. Looking forward to Part 2.

    We attempt to separate the two roles at our agency. We have both AMs and PMs but ultimately there are lot of cross over tasks.

    I don’t always have direct client contact on projects, which is a frustration in itself, but then again, i don’ have to spend 20% of my day in Outlook either. Phew

  • Ed Richardson

    Hi Sam,

    Great post and I agree entirely.

    It put this down to the evolution process that the digital industries are going through at the moment, due to their relatively young age.

    Account Managers are traditionally synonymous with advertising agencies, Project Managers with technology delivery (and other types of delivery obviously).

    With Digital Media bringing the two together it was inevitable that we are going to encounter cross overs with our responsibilities in our roles, particularly when working in smaller agencies.

    I personally like the component of my work, but I also like the technical component of scheduling work with development and design teams.

    I think the big break in Account Management from Project Management is not the telephone calls and catch-ups, but rather the high level strategic on-line planning and traffic management. Something I’m really starting to enjoy recently, gaining an oversight on a particular clients total on-line presence over multiple sites and ensuring their visitors are getting to where they expect to get to, and then complete the task the client wants them to complete.

    I think there will continue to be a few years of vagueness in this area of web development as everyone finds their true stomping ground and then it will settle down a little.

    Look forward to reading the next instalment.

    Cheers!

  • Michael Dlugosch

    To-the-point observation of “time thieves”, Sam.

    The paradox which we are facing when trying to draw a proper line between PM and AM results from the contradictory angles we need to take: while PM’s ultima ratio is “delivery” (on time, on budget, on resources), the AM’s perspective is characterized by “continuity” (getting follow-up projects into a coherent strategic approach).

    This puts an interesting pressure on Project Managers who need to deal with Account Management tasks: they need to make this contradiction operational by putting it together with a twist:
    The end of a project doesn’t mark anything but freeing the means for the beginning of a new one. Scarcity revisited!

  • @PM Hut, good point about the client knowing rather than feeling the Web Project Manager has the authority to action their work…

    @Cola, thanks so much! I think you nailed it when you say you save time not having to live in Outlook, although I think the Web Project Manager should always have contact with the client, even if Account Managers are assigned to the client – but the boundaries should be clear, PM for current project, AM for anything else…

    @Ed, cheers, as you say, the cross over in smaller companies is inevitable, and there’s no doubting that having variety in your job is great – I guess it’s just a case where a small company has to grow and decide to draw a line between AM and PM to allow the PM to focus on delivery without being distracted.

    @Michael, you’re right, I often have to switch between sales / relationship and hard-nosed project delivery personalities several times during the day, the expereince gained is great, but it does have effects on project delivery effectiveness!

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