20 Things That Drive Digital Project Managers Crazy

Reading Rafael Mumme’s article, 20 Things That Drive Web Developers Crazy, had me giggling away like a child.

What I especially loved about Rafael’s article was that as well as being funny, it actually was a pretty accurate list that I bet so many web developers can relate to, and he was using this approach to raise awareness among visual designers about what makes digital projects go tits up from his perspective.

A screenshot of Rafael Mumme's article on .net magazine
Rafael Mumme: My kinda man

Although a different tactic, the desired result is similar to that which I will discuss in a new article I’m currently drafting, on resolving issues in digital project management teams – one major point being to always educate colleagues about why certain things they do cause issues on digital projects for others.

Of course, I just couldn’t help but jump on the bandwagon and immediately start drafting a list of the things that production teams do that really gets up Digital Project Manager’s noses.

So, before I finish off some articles that defend you… Visual designers, Front-end Specialists, UX teams and Digital Developers – please make sure you follow these guidelines if you want to get on the wrong side of your Digital Project Manager :)

  1. Make sure to only fill in your timesheets at the end of the week, it adds excitement to a digital project when on Friday morning we think we have 20% budget left but by the end of Friday we’re 5% over.
  2. When we chase you to make sure you’ve filled out your timesheet, remember to make the insightful point that while you’re doing this you’re not working. For bonus points ask how long you should add into your timesheets for the task of filling out your timesheets. As Digital Project Managers we sometimes forget that the only reason we find the time is because we’re not as busy as you.
  3. When we ask you to complete a task, please don’t let us know when you’ve completed it – let us chase you, we love being kept on our toes.
  4. Keep drumming it into us that no one uses Windows or Internet Explorer anymore. Despite the analytics saying different, if you keep saying it, preferably with a sneer, then one day we’ll realise we’re wrong and thank you.
  5. Don’t waste time reading our detailed functional specifications, scan read it and get the general idea of the features, then just get coding as soon as possible – neither the client nor us will mind.
  6. Try not to open your work e-mail client more than once a day. Our e-mails to you are rarely important. But so you can stay on top of your industry, please keep your personal e-mail , Tweetdeck and IM client open at all times – you never know when that game changing Tweet will be published.
  7. Please do not spend twenty minutes setting up any rules in your work e-mail client. Having an Inbox with 3000 auto-generated messages from 40 applications has efficiency value that we just don’t want to admit.
  8. When finishing off a feature don’t waste time testing it thoroughly, that’s what we’re here for and we rely on to fill our days.
  9. When it comes to the boring part of a digital project like content entry or browser testing, make sure to lower the quality level of your work – it highlights to us that you’re above it and that we should hire a junior to do this kind of work.
  10. No matter what, never ever test a website or web application on staging or production servers after deploying – if it worked on your local development environment it will definitely work on staging and production with no issues.
  11. If asked to make a change halfway through development of a template or feature, always assume this is due to Digital Project Manager incompetence rather than client-lead.
  12. Keep pushing to go ‘lean’ and ‘agile’. Digital Project Managers are old fashioned and always want to plan in detail despite the fact it’s incredibly boring and has no value. The real secret is to just start coding and see how it goes from there.
  13. If you find yourself with nothing to do, don’t come and tell us. Instead, make use of the time by watching a few videos on YouTube or reading that blog you like so much.
  14. To help us keep our feet on the floor, please look at us with disgust and complain to someone on your table that we are useless because we don’t know web development like you – we know we really should be experts in all digital fields and are simply too lazy to learn.
  15. When we give you more work please take the time to look horrified. Digital Project Managers often get so far up the senior management’s asses they start to believe it’s more work that keeps us all in jobs.
  16. When at lunch in the office and you’re sitting on a beanbag playing Xbox, don’t forget to mention how much better it probably is to work at another place where you don’t have to put up with the hardships you do at your current place.
  17. Never give up stating how constant interruptions break your flow. The trouble with Digital Project Managers is they just don’t realise that it depends on what kind of interruption it is. Work-based interruptions from managers are disruptive, Twitter disruptions are not – it’s obvious when you think about it.
  18. When replying to e-mails that a Digital Project Manager has CCd two other people, on, don’t hit Reply All. This is tantamount to you being in a meeting and is a waste of your time.
  19. Absolutely never agree to “just code it dirty”. You know as well as I do that all Digital Project Managers care about is their precious schedule and budget, and if they’re asking you to bypass best practice it’s probably for no other reason than because they don’t care about standards and isn’t a commercial decision.
  20. When anything goes wrong on a project, always blame the Digital Project Manager just like Sir Alan does – this earns you big respect points amongst your peers.

As I said, my next few articles are all about defending you guys, so go easy on me :) actually don’t, blast me to hell and back in the comments, it’ll be fun.