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Becoming a Digital Project Manager - What Skills Do You Need to Succeed?

Project Management 5 min read

Digital project management is a unique brand of project management where tiny budgets, unbelievable deadlines, and crazy clients are the norm. In conventional project management, clients set reasonable expectations and assign sufficient budgets, so you have room to function.

On the digital front, things aren’t that simple and straightforward. Clients often have no clue how digital spaces to work and they make tall claims that can make you scratch your head. They can ask you to build a clone of a multibillion app like Uber in under $500 or claim that a relative’s nephew created a website in 2 days for free.

Everything from processes, budgets, and deadlines tend to be extremely challenging in digital projects, and not in a good way. A digital project manager has to bring order to this chaos and organize everything.

In today’s digital organizations, digital project managers play an extremely important role in helping businesses stay on top of rapid changes. They help companies power through digital transformation and help deliver digital projects on time.

In this article, we will discuss what skills you need to master to become digital project managers.

What is a Digital Project Manager?

Digital project managers are masters of initiating, planning, executing, managing, and implementing digital projects. In other words, these managers specialize in delivering projects with a digital component, such as developing apps, online campaigns, a website, social media, or software.

The project can be partially digital like an offline marketing campaign supported by a website. Similarly, it can be completely digital such as a project for creating a website, optimizing design and SEO, and creating a content marketing plan.

The person at the center of all main activities is the digital project manager. As a DPM, you must work collectively with clients, several stakeholders, outside contractors, and manage your project team to deliver stated goals under your budget and in a timely manner.

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Photographer: Austin Distel | Source: Unsplash

What Is a Digital Project Manager Responsible for?

A digital project manager has to wear many hats. At one point, you might be a business analyst and a scrupulous manager. In other times, you might have to hone your communication skills, become a leader, and a strategist all rolled into one.

If your companies isn’t big enough, you might have to fill in as the account manager and chip in with a little technical and creative work, as well. That said, ultimately, as a project manager, your core responsibility is “people management”.

From the first email you send in the morning to the final task you assign for the day, you have apply your people management skills to the fullest. You not only must plan and delegate tasks, but you also have to track performance and create opportunities for improvement.

Similarly, the digital project manager also has to be a sturdy leader. You must understand weaknesses and strengths of your team members, motivate them through difficult times, and push them to their full potential.

In other words, everything you do in a digital project depends a lot on how well you manage people in rough circumstances. Aside from all these requirements, a digital project manager has to serve multiple roles and responsibilities, most of which include:

1. Defining a project's scope

2. Planning the activities necessary to achieve goals

3. Develop schedules after estimating budget and workload

4. Analyzing project risks

5. Managing changes in project's scope

6. Maintaining, managing, and delegating resources efficiently

7. Helping clients meet their organizational and financial goals

8. Delivering the quality of standards your client expects

What Are Some Essential Digital Project Manager Skills?

Because digital project managers have to helm in a myriad of responsibilities, it’s essential to maintain a diverse set of skills. Obviously, the main requirements of a project can vary from business to business and role to role. Digital project managers still need to master domain-specific skills while working on their general project management knowledge.

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Photographer: John Schnobrich | Source: Unsplash

You must master basic skills like learning how to use email marketing, project management and related tools effectively. Similarly, you must also have a strong grip on the core concepts of project management, both in theory and in practice.

General Digital Project Manager Skills

In most cases, the following digital project management skills are sufficient to serve a general-purpose role:

· Learning project management methodologies such as PMBOK, Agile, Scrum, etc.

· Create practical, yet efficient work schedules and delegate tasks effectively

· Sharpen negotiation skills and deal with stakeholders to get favorable resources and deadlines

· Improve people skills and learn how to build relationships with stakeholders

· Ace time management

· Develop business know-how so you have a deeper understanding of every project and can ascertain a business' short and long-term financial goals

· Learn foundational account management skills while studying how to create proposals and quotes

· Hone analytical skills to assess and evaluate projects

· Develop strong collaboration skills to multitask effectively

· Work on leadership skills so you can work with multiple people simultaneously

Technical Digital Project Manager Skills

Technical skills can vary depending on your industry, but mainly, digital project managers have to work on the following technical skills:

· Knowledge of project management software

· Knowledge of content management systems (CMS)

· Writing skills, especially as they relate to content creation

· Basic technical skills such as HTML/CSS

· Strong Excel skills and ability to work with databases

· Powerpoint and presentation skills

· Basic digital marketing skills such as SEO, social media,  and analytics

You may also need several other technical skills depending on how advanced solutions your company uses. Creating a harmonious balance between your people management, time management and planning, as well as technical knowledge can help you excel as a project manager.

By 2027, businesses will may 87.7 million project management roles vacant worldwide. In the US alone, there will be 8.8 million positions available in the following ten years. Considering project management-oriented professionals are expected to earn 82% higher than non-project management professionals, investing in project management now will be a promising career choice.

For full-time working professionals, attending an online PMP certification training course is the best way to familiarize yourself with basic project management concepts. An online PMP training course can assist you in working workaround strict deadlines and set the foundation for a fulfilling career as a digital project manager.

Project Management