Verity has been with the Blueleaf team for around 18 months, and what a difference she's made. Verity works on some of our biggest projects, so it's just as well she's one of the most organised people you're ever likely to meet. In this piece, Verity shares with 'Browse' how she fills her days.
Over to Verity...
06.15: I am a big, fluffy creature of habit, so today starts like any other school day. Get up, shower, breakfast, feed my five (yes, I did say five) chihuahuas their biscuits and gravy. My newest addition refuses to eat dry food without gravy and now the long-standing chihuahuas have jumped on the gravy train, so to speak.
07.10: The office is about a 15-minute drive from home, so I always pop into Waitrose for my free coffee to keep me warm on the journey this time of year. It’s a stark contrast from the busy Chester city centre to the greenery which surrounds the office in its country location. I still think we must be in the running for the most randomly-located Digital Agency...yet somehow we have managed to find a pool of great talent.
07:30: Coffee number two is the first task once I enter the office, the first coffee was to keep me warm, this is to get me ready for the day ahead. I respond to any emails or internal comms on 'Slack' (our internal comms application) received overnight and I go through any 'JIRA' tickets (our issue management system) assigned to me. Following this, I assess my to-do list and diary of meetings for the day. I quickly make a mental list of what is essential for today, what are the quick wins and what tasks if not done will impact someone else. This gives me the structure of the day, which always starts with quick wins and chases. Any of my clients will testify that I like to chase, chase again and then chase a bit more. I consider a task to be with me until it’s closed, so regardless of who needs to take action, I’ll drive the task until it's done. I also very much like to get people talking so usually have lots of calls over the day with clients, arranged over email.
08.30: Every morning, without fail, I look at what the Developers and Designers have on their schedule for my clients as well as what they had yesterday so I know what they should be working on today. I believe it’s really important to have regular face-to-face communication with the team, so brief all the studio team working with me each morning. I’ll ask the following:
- How did they get on with tasks from yesterday?
- Do they need to work on them again today?
- Do they know what they need to do today?
- Anything blocking them?
- Anything they need from me?
This is crucial in keeping work flowing and keeping me aware of the current status. It allows me to catch issues early and work with the studio team on mitigating them.
10:30: Today we have an estimating session; this happens twice weekly and as Project Managers, we get to pick the brains of our very talented Designers and Lead Front and Back End Developers, talking through new changes, breaking down work and agreeing estimates. We have a shiny new Tester, Angel, who now also gets involved with this collaborative process and ensures that the estimates we give are competitive and water-tight. I update JIRA with estimates and assign them to the client for approval.
11:30: It’s then back to emails. Project life moves quickly and even an hour away from my desk can result in a long list of important comms from clients. We aim to reply rapidly and drive down issues so regular monitoring of emails is essential for us to give a great service.
12:00: The day is broken up with the normal lunch break - I eat my healthy leftovers from the night before and then go for a quick stroll around the country lanes nearby for some fresh air.
12:30: I return to my desk to see that two change requests estimated on last week have been approved...yay. I jump straight into getting these planned. There is a lot of organising to do:
- Advise the client this will be scheduled in and a delivery to UAT provided shortly
- Discuss with Design and the Lead Developers who the work should be assigned to based on their skill set
- Plan this and provide resource requirements to our Traffic Manager, Sarah, who schedules this in
- Align a schedule of appropriate invoices with key milestones e.g. delivery to UAT & go live and provide these dates / figures to the finance team
- Produce a summary of the work required. A breakdown of budget is then shared with the team
- Provide delivery dates to the client
- Set up internal reporting on this work to track budget and delivery dates - quality of work management is just as important as quality of the tangible work we produce
A day in the life of a Project Manager is so varied, always something new to understand, a mass of constructive client and internal comms and a fair amount of office banter with a very, very entertaining and close-knit team means the day flies by.
16:30: It is home time already. I have the normal wrestle with what I should do before I leave and what can wait until tomorrow - it’s a balance, but I’ve learned that by properly managing expectations and consistently delivering what is promised through solid planning and contingency, I don’t need to cram everything into one day :)
17:30: After a quick strength session at the gym, I’m home, showered, in my pj’s, chilling out and ready to take on tomorrow!