The project management (formerly traffic manager) role is critical in most agencies today. But…how do you justify the expense? Easy. They should be 90% billable!
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Hey everybody. Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute this week actually coming to you from home in Denver, Colorado. You know, we've been with several peer groups over the last couple weeks, and one of the recurring topics has been about project managers. When do we need one? Are they billable? Are they not billable? So I just wanna clear up a little bit about that role. So, project managers, which back in my day were called a traffic manager or a production manager. Those are the folks who are really making sure that every project for every client is delivered on time and on budget. They are the person who's looking at the 30,000 foot level, and they're looking at all of the moving parts and pieces of the work that you're trying to get through the agency, and they're seeing where there are delays, where a client might have moved a deadline and they're shuffling people and roles as they need to inside and sometimes outside of the agency with freelancers to try and make sure that you deliver everything on time and on budget for clients. A project manager is not an entry level person, shouldn't be a stepping stone to another role. This is a very important role and the person that you put in that role should aspire to be just a better and better project manager over time. They're absolutely billable. Everything they do is touching a client, project or an issue and so the way to do that, the way to handle that would be to simply make sure that you're putting some time on every job for that project manager when you open the job. So, many agencies will have a sliding scale if a project is going to be from zero to let's say $3,000, we might put an hour of the project manager's time. If the project is $3000 to $7,000, we might put two hours and so on. You'll know what's right for your agency, but every job is going to be touched by that project manager, and the easiest way to track that time is not for the project manager to keep daily time sheets because they may be touching hundreds of jobs in any one given day. But it is just putting their time against every job on the day that it gets opened. But super billable, super important. If you are 10 people or less, it might be a little bit of a luxury, but if you are more than 10 or 12 or 15 people, it's an absolute necessity today. All right, I'll see you next week.