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The Secrets of a Successful Project Manager

The Secrets of a ...

For our third part in our series exploring the role of project management, we spoke to PM extraordinaire, Melissa J (now part of the great team at Seattle's UpTop.)

Read on to find out the secrets to her success!


What are your favorite PM tools and why?

Trello. It allows me to collaboratively track project tasks, assignments, and due dates. It’s easy to use and scannable. The mobile app is easy to use as well.

Evernote. I love that it automatically syncs notes across my devices. The mobile app is easy to use and I love the feature that allows you to take photos with your phone and add those right into the notes.

Google Docs. It offers an easy to use set of tools that allows for document collaboration across multiple teams. Also, it’s almost effortless to access your documents on mobile devices.

What do you think the top 3 traits of a successful PM are?

Patience, a sense of humor, and being a good listener.

What resources do you use to continue learning and becoming a better PM?

The online classes Aquent offers! Also attending local Meetups and following the American Marketing Association webcasts.

What piece of advice do you have for newbies moving into PM roles?

Ask a lot of questions. As a project manager, a lot of times it’s your job to help define what project success looks like and help the entire team understand at a high-level what it will take to get there.

What is your favorite project you've managed and why?

I had the opportunity to work with a great team of people designing and developing a new desktop and mobile website for one of the largest art museums in the U.S. There was a lot of information that had to be organized and image management was an integral part of the solution that was developed. I really enjoyed working on this project because it was a great fit for the technology we chose and because I think art museums are awesome.

What is the most challenging part of being a PM?

Keeping track of all the details across multiple projects.

How many projects have you juggled at once?

Seven, which was really difficult. I prefer not to manage more than 3-4 projects at a time.

What is the biggest misconception about project management?

That it’s not billable work. PMs are essential because most of the time clients don’t have the time to take on all the project management tasks in addition to their own full-time, day-to-day responsibilities.

What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up?

A comedian or any job where I got to make people laugh!

Our thanks to Melissa for letting us in on her secrets!

Are you looking to get into project management?

See if you can survive our Project Manager Challenge game!

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