02 Oct A View From My Chair: A Day in The Life of a (Remote) Project Manager
I’d say a typical day for me starts with an early morning run, getting the kids around for school (if you’re a parent, you know how smoothly that usually goes!), and dropping them off. Once I get home I enjoy a nice cup of coffee, or perhaps two depending on how the morning routine went. Next, I sit down and begin sifting through a long list of emails and prepping for the day ahead.
That’s when things run smoothly. Other days it’s a case of getting up, skipping the coffee pot to start my workday early, trying to squeeze in a quick 30 minute run, and diving straight into that cluttered email inbox. Then all of a sudden, I glance at the clock and realize I haven’t stood up in over three hours (my Apple watch forgot to remind me again!). Oops.
In theory, a standard workday is 8 am to 5pm, but we all know this is rarely the case in reality. Technology has made it so easy to stay connected, even when there are times we should really “go offline.” Trying to manage that work/life balance is a constant struggle. Yet it’s one of the things I feel Shamrock helps me do better.
Being in project management wasn’t something I originally set out to do. When I was younger, I knew that I wanted to help people and make a difference but wasn’t sure how this would play out. Time and growth in this profession has shown me my true potential and niche in life. I still get to help improve people’s lives, but it may be in a slightly different way than I’d originally set out to, accomplish. For me it’s all about the people I meet, the network I grow and, in some cases, lasting friendships that I develop with my coworkers and customers.
Working as part of a distributed (a fancy word for remote) team can increase complexity when managing projects and trying to be effective in my role. That’s why having tools in place to keep me connected and up-to-date can be so important. These include GoToMeeting, Google, and Slack, just to name a few. Every day is different and that’s what motivates and challenges me.
Communication is vital in this position, not only as a project manager but even more so as a remote employee. When you work for an fast-growing company that’s 100 percent remote, you can’t miss a beat. It’s also about establishing a process and being very fluid and agile when it comes to making adjustments. As company dynamics change, processes always need to be redefined and executed. Again, communication is of the utmost importance so everyone’s aware of what’s going on and who’s doing what – both internally and on the customer side.
How do I stay on top of things and keep the 40+ projects I manage straight? There are so many ways to organize projects, including scope, milestones and budget. Tools like Harvest and Forecast are essential to staying organized and on track. Still, there are days that it’s just nice to look up at your project board and get a glimpse of what you really do manage. Pretty old school, I know. But in my office I share my board with my kids, so that always brings a smile to my face to see what they come up with on their half.
Another must in staying organized and effective is documentation, documentation, and more documentation. Outlining agendas, notes, status updates, etc., is necessary for many reasons. Doing so allows you to stay connected and provide a history of where you are, where we need to be, and how to get there. In this line of work, customer success is the name of the game, so being flexible and passionate about what you do and who you serve is key.
So, back to my day in the life: emails, conference calls, follow-ups, documentation, process improvements – wash, rinse, repeat. What makes this job so great? Collaboration, teamwork, passion, and drive. We all have responsibilities and everyone at Shamrock is willing to step up and step in when someone is in a pinch. On some occasions this can feel like a thankless job, but when you receive that note from a customer thanking you for all you do or when you get that ping from a coworker telling you how much they appreciate you it makes it all worthwhile. Even on those days when my kids forget their homework, my morning run gets cut short, and no amount of coffee is cutting it!
By Megan Hild