It should go without saying that no digital agency can sustain itself without having a handle on each and every project that it’s running. Good project management is the backbone of agency success – without it, you can guarantee things are going to fall apart pretty fast. So it’s always been a top priority for us. But now we’ve made some exciting changes: enter our Project Management Office (PMO).
The traditional PMO tends to be found in big, complex organisations – think large government bodies, matrix structures – where rigidly defined processes and procedures are essential. And while we favour a more agile approach here at Organic, creating a PMO was nevertheless the ideal course of action for us as a small agency – and here’s why…
A formalised approach to Project Management
We’re in the midst of one of our busiest ever periods. Multiple plates are spinning away and we’ve expanded our Project Management department with the addition of Kate Allen as our Digital Project Manager. It therefore made perfect sense for us to formalise our approach to managing projects across the business, so we could clearly define the PM role, refine our processes, and easily scale up the department as and when needed.
All digital agencies will have certain core business objectives. It’s crucial, for instance, to ensure that billable hours are profitable, and our PMO plays a key role when it comes to providing our commercial team with project performance and cost information.
But it’s about much more than money. It comes down to the fact that the quality of our work matters to us. A lot. And a PMO reinforces the position of our PM department as an expert resource that’s there to uphold our commitment to quality, seeing each project through from a smooth on-boarding to successful, timely completion.
Making the distinction – Client Services vs. Project Management
There’s a tendency within many agencies to lump Client Services and Project Management together as the same thing. They really aren’t, which means this approach just doesn’t work and it’s something we always take pains to avoid. A Client Services department is (pardon us for stating the obvious) there to service clients. This team should be dedicated to keeping clients happy, handling and resolving queries, nurturing strong relationships.
What Client Services shouldn’t be doing is getting involved with managing projects to the extent that they can’t successfully service clients. It’s so important to draw a line of distinction between these two departments, and our PMO helps us to keep that line sharp.
What it means for our clients
One of the main goals behind our PMO is client satisfaction – and making sure that our Client Services department has the freedom and scope to do what it does best is just one factor that ensures this.
We’ve said it already, but quality work is the name of the game at Organic, and this means making sure we’re in the position where each and every project is properly set up, planned and carried out from start to finish. Our projects often involve lots of moving parts and multiple team members who are focused on the finer details of their respective roles – so having a dedicated PMO is a surefire way for us to safeguard quality assurance and ensure successful project delivery overall.
What it means for our people
It’s not all about our clients (but if you’re reading this and you do happen to be one of them, we’re sorry and we don’t mean it). We have wonderful, seriously talented people here at Organic – a team of experts who love what they do and are committed to delivering exceptional work.
However, delivering that work isn’t always easy and the agency environment is demanding. And while the individuals who work here love a challenge, it’s crucial that they feel supported as well. Our PMO has a big role to play here, ensuring fair task assignment, preventing overloading, and maintaining team morale. Because ultimately, we know that if our people aren’t happy, our clients won’t be either.