The title project manager seems to create some confusion for folks, especially when it comes to understanding the difference between a PM and an AM. Here’s the scoop.

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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, this week, coming to you from the beautiful Bahamas. So, we just wrapped up a peer group meeting, and one of the conversations where we spent a lot of time was the difference between an account manager and a project manager; not only what they do that’s different but sort of how they look different: how they show up different to the office, how they show up different in terms of skill sets. And I’ll tell you this, one of the takeaways, I think, for all of us was this: Number one, project managers in today’s complex, super sophisticated, highly deliverable but also rapid deliverable environment are pretty much a critical component to most agencies if your agency is over 15 people. If you’re under 15 people, you can probably get by without a project manager, but what it means is you’re going to be tasking your account people with a wider variety of things that they have to do; and a lot of them, much more detail-oriented deliverables asset kinds of things, as opposed to taking care of the client, learning the client’s business, helping the client grow their business sort of thing. So, a project manager in the ideal setting, they are somebody who’s super detail-oriented, they are very focused on getting things done on time and on budget, and what they really do is they take care of the agency. They step back and they look at all of the work that every everybody’s got to get done and they move all of those puzzle pieces around to make sure that as clients don’t honor deadlines or change the rules or ask for something different or internal resources get snug, that they are making sure that the work gets done on time and on budget because they are shifting the work around amongst your team members, maybe they’re recognizing that it’s time to call a freelancer in, but they’re a critical part of your agency’s ability to get work done. So, if you’re over 15 people and you don’t have any project managers in the house, it may be something you want to consider. All right? I’ll see you next week!

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