Here at roboboogie, we firmly believe that every project needs a dedicated project manager. From start to finish, the PM is responsible for making sure all projects are completed to roboboogie standards, and that each contributor has exactly what they need to succeed. Jesi Wu is our own master of Project Management, and this week we’re picking her brain to see just what makes her tick.
How do you describe what you do?
Simply put, I get shit done. I am the bridge between the client and my internal team. I bring teams together to make beautiful things happen (while in scope, on time, and under budget).
While crushing to-do tasks and project milestones, I strive to provide the best possible customer service to any client interaction and aid in building strong personal relationships (sometimes even friendships) alongside an account manager with our clients and project stakeholders.
What is a belief people have regarding the industry that you might not agree with?
“Get the right people and you won’t need project managers.”
Every time I hear something along those lines, I cringe. In my opinion, it’s crucial for all projects to have a dedicated project manager. If you choose to not have one, your project will be at risk. Someone will have to assume the “manager” role, and it might as well be someone who has the passion, training, and time for it. Projects NEED a “neutral party” to manage the day-to-day havoc, so other project contributors can focus on fun parts.
What is a skill set that you use every day, but never thought you would have to?
Empathy. I feel like I’ve become a better person because of this. My job involves me having to connect with many different types of people. It’s impossible to know everything that’s going on in your colleagues’ or clients’ personal lives, and sometimes these factors can affect project tasks or scope. Through empathetic listening, I’m able to create a better understanding of the other person’s perspective, as well as create better awareness within myself. Applying this skill set to my daily interactions with my project teams has helped my relationships grow stronger and overall has helped me gain respect and trust with these individuals. This relationship allows me to have a firm hand on the project.
How do you approach solving problems?
When I feel a problem arising, I first take a deep breath or meditate (I’ve been loving the Headspace app). When I force myself to pause and breathe, rather than react prematurely, I can save myself from behaving emotionally and striking out in a way that might make things worse or cause unnecessary stress to my team members.
Once I have reflected on the situation, I will create an open line for communication so everyone can have their say. As a natural mediator, I like to solve problems by being transparent, proactive and positive. One team, one dream...
What is your advice for turning a strategic idea into reality?
As a PM, a lot of people talk to me about potential ideas for new projects and tests. This is one of my favorite parts of the job. I love watching/listening to people voice their passions and seeing their creative juices flowing. It’s my job to turn those passions into a reality.
I’ve got three bits of advice for you:
- Ask a million (or a few) questions! In doing so, you will become an expert in their idea. Live and breathe it.
- Involve the right people for execution. In return, it will help avoid potential blockers.
- Be realistic. Listen to your team, give them sensible deadlines and a practical view on what can/can’t be achieved within your current resources.
What advice do you have for brands who are interested in getting into experimentation and iterative design from a project management perspective ?
Establish a process for sharing wins internally. Wins are meant to be shared. Publish your team’s ability to achieve business goals for your term based on iterative testing. It’s a great way to show the true value of experimentation to your higher-ups while helping them make some serious dough.
Thanks Jesi for giving us an inside look at the world of Project Management and what it takes to excel in that vital role. Stay tuned next month for another interview with a roboboogie pro.