Digital Project Manager Resolutions for 2017

More video chat, fewer tools, and DPM community involvement are a few of my resolutions for 2017.

It’s that time of year when we look forward and set goals for how we want the next year (and ourselves) to be better.

When thinking about work resolutions, I had two goals: realistic and attainable. The biggest pitfall to most news year’s resolutions (or at least mine) are that they’re usually too lofty, and it’s easy to give up entirely after the first week.

I’ve come up with three simple, yet impactful, resolutions I hope to make habit in 2017 as a DPM:

Default to Video Chat over Conference Calls

At Viget we’re spread out across three offices in the DC Metro, Durham, and Boulder. With distributed teams, we’re used to designing and building great things across states and time zones. Cross-office office work has bred Slack experts, ScreenHero pros, and Google Hangouts power users.

As efficient as our remote communication has become, nothing can replace in-person time. But that’s not always possible; so, what’s the next best thing? Seeing their face on screen!

Viget HQ connects with other offices in a Google Hangout.

We’re big fans of Google Hangouts at Viget, and they’ve quickly become our default for most internal meetings (thank you, Chromebox).

In 2017, I want to take this a step further and use Hangouts regularly for client meetings.

It’s tempting (and sometimes less awkward) to default to the phone for client calls, especially if it’s just a quick chat.

Despite risking minor technical blips or fumbling with headphones to jump on a Hangout, it’s remarkably seamless once you (and your clients) get the hang of it. It’s reasonable for all remote communication (not just internal) to default to Hangouts over phone and become second nature.

A face on the screen is always exponentially better than any conference call. It helps build rapport with clients, makes tough conversations more human, and even sets us up to easily collaborate if we want to screenshare on the fly.

Consolidate and Optimize Tools

I started out thinking this resolution would be to try out new project planning or communication tools.

When taking inventory of tools I used in the past year, I quickly realized this resolution should be the opposite: simplify my tool set, by optimizing and consolidating what I’m already using:

  • Basecamp

  • Slack

  • Email

  • Google Hangouts

  • GoToMeeting

  • Join.me

  • Trello

  • GitHub Issues

  • Waffle.io

  • Unfuddle

  • Google Keep

  • Harvest

  • Dropbox

  • Google Drive

  • Google Calendar

  • Google Sites

  • Google Forms

  • TypeForm

  • 1Password

  • BrowserStack

Up first, I’m challenging myself to be more intentional around communication tools. How can I be more deliberate about whether I should use email, Slack, or Basecamp? It’s easy and quick to Slack ALL the things, but there’s certainly still a place for both email and Basecamp to help keep a project organized.

I’d also love to say goodbye to the tools that do the same thing as other ones I’m already using. My list includes multiple tools for video conferencing, task management, and file storage. Time to pare down that list.

Soak Up (and Contribute to) the DPM Community

A strong DPM community has (finally) been cultivated over the last few years.

Locally, a crew of us have been attending AM/PM, and I’ve also wanted to check out the next DC-DPM. Attending DPM Summit and keeping my eye on Louder Than Ten articles are also ways I’ve (tried) to stay in the loop on the DPM community lately.

But there’s so much more! What meetups, blogs, podcasts, and all-star DPMs should I be following? This year, I’m looking forward to soaking up more that the DPM community has to offer, and also contributing to it more, specifically on the Viget blogs.

A few Viget PMs caught taking a selfie outside an AM/PM meetup in DC.

Above all else, I’m looking forward to 2017 being a year of creating meaningful work with great clients and colleagues, and hopefully becoming a video-conferencing, fewer-tool-using, community-contributing DPM along the way.

Cheers to a prosperous 2017!

Amanda Ruehlen

Amanda manages digital projects from our Falls Church, VA, HQ for clients such as Bethesda Softworks, POLITICO, PUMA, and The Nature Conservancy.

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