Technology

How To Excel as a Project Manager in a Digital Agency?

We interviewed Josipa, our project manager, about her role and the skills she thinks any successful PM needs. Check out her blog!

Blank is a digital agency that offers a wide range of services in any phase of the software development process. Josipa Glavinić is our project manager who started her career as a QA and her main responsibilities are ensuring that all processes are properly established and monitoring the product during its entire life cycle, from defining requirements to coding until release.

We chatted with her to ask her about her responsibilities and advice to anyone interested in pivoting their role to project management at a software development agency.

A short intro about her roles

First, we talked about Josipa’s roles and responsibilities. As we’ve already mentioned, she hasn’t always been a project manager so we asked her a few questions about her QA roots to give you a wider picture of her skillset and how these roles complement one another. Then, we moved on to talk about project management and the required skillset for that role.

You started as a QA, what is QA?

Josipa: The QA stands for Quality Assurance. It is a process that ensures that a product or service meets the required quality standards and specifications. QA is a part of software development that focuses on testing the software application to identify and fix any defects, bugs, or errors that may affect its performance, functionality, and security.

What skills does a QA need?

Josipa: One of the most essential skills is attention to detail. QA must pay great attention to detail and identify even the smallest errors or defects in the product or service. Another important skill is communication. As QA, I am always in touch with the developers and other team members. Some other skills that are required are organizational and interpersonal skills to effectively manage the QA process.

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What is project management?

Josipa: Project management is the method of planning, organizing, and overseeing the execution of a project from start to finish, to achieve specific goals within a set timeframe and budget. It involves defining the project scope, identifying the required resources, creating a project schedule, assigning tasks to team members, monitoring progress, and managing risks and changes that may arise during the project.

What skills does a PM need?

Josipa: Project managers require a variety of skills. Some of them are leadership, organization, risk management, communication, and problem-solving... Overall, successful project managers need to be able to balance a variety of different skills and competencies and be able to work effectively with a wide range of stakeholders to deliver successful projects.

Working at a digital agency

While everyone has their career path and your experience depends on the company you’re working for, it’s safe to say that hearing someone’s perspective and how their work days look like will help you form expectations and build a realistic picture of the workplace.

For instance, Blank works as an agency but we have a few of our internal products, so the team gets the best of both worlds. To give you more insight, we asked Josipa to share her experience with you!

Do you remember the first few weeks at Blank? How did you settle into your role?

Josipa: I started working here about a year ago, so that’s not so far behind me. While this was not my first time working as a QA, starting a new job in a new environment is always a challenge that pushes me out of my comfort zone. However, the team made the experience a pleasant one by being welcoming and eager to help. First few weeks Marko was my mentor and he helped me to onboard and answer all my questions.

What does your day look like?

Josipa: First thing in the morning, I make myself a cup of coffee and have a quick chat with my colleagues. My day starts with checking all new messages on our main communication apps, which are Slack and e-mail. After that, I always check Jira, a project management tool where we keep track of all the tasks and progress. Jira helps me to organize myself for the day so I can easily track all the work that has to be done.

As my job is divided between two roles, every day is unique, depending on the amount of work required for each role. In the last few months, I worked as a PM on the EverySign project. We had daily meetings to track progress and ensure everything was according to plan. As part of my job, I also communicated with clients to ensure we met all their requirements.

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As a QA, I report bugs that I find on the project and verify whether they have been fixed. I need to check the functionalities of the app and the design, which is implemented in Figma, a design tool. Depending on the project's size, we either write test cases, which are the steps we follow for testing, or we conduct exploratory testing, where we test everything that comes to mind.

What projects are you working on?

Josipa: Currently I am working as a PM on the EverySign project. The idea of this project is an online signature tool that enables people to sign documents wherever and whenever they are. Additionally, I am also working as a QA on Endemic, an NFT marketplace that provides NFT artists with the ability to sell their art (NFTs). Furthermore, I am working on an external project called Beaconsmind, which uses beacons to detect target audiences for location-based marketing.

What’s your team like?

Josipa: The QA and PM roles require a lot of communication with the team, from discussing bugs on the app to conveying the client's vision to the team. On every project, I work closely with the development and design team. For example, while we are working on implementing a new website for the EverySign app, I mainly communicate with the designers to ensure that we are on the right path in terms of the client's vision. As a QA, I communicate with the developers to verify bugs and discuss the edge cases of the app.

How busy are you?

Josipa: As mentioned earlier, being divided into two roles means that there is always work to be done.

During the initial phase of the project, the PM role requires a lot of effort, especially during the planning phase when we define the scope, time, and budget for the project.

As a QA, there is a lot of work to be done from the middle to the end of the project, when the project has some functionalities that can be tested until it goes live. The last few days before the release are always the most dynamic, requiring thorough checks to ensure that everything is functioning as intended.

Communication is essential in both roles, and I have many meetings, from daily meetings with the team to meetings with clients.

Motivation and advice

Of course, to finish off the conversation, we talked with Josipa about her motivation, what pushes her professionally, and what she likes the most about her job. She also gave valuable advice to anyone who’s just stepping into her role as a project manager on software development projects.

What motivates you?

Josipa: What motivates me the most is contributing to the creation of a perfect product. Working on a project for several months, identifying flaws and mistakes, communicating and visualizing ideas, and ultimately seeing the final product as a complete project is very satisfying to me.

What do you like most about your job?

Josipa: I find it rewarding to continuously improve my processes and skills as a QA and PM. The opportunity to learn and grow professionally is important to me, and these roles offer many development opportunities. I also enjoy the challenge of working in a dynamic and fast-paced environment, where no two days are the same. There's always something new to learn or a new problem to solve, which keeps me engaged and motivated.

What advice would you give someone starting your role?

Josipa: Starting a new role is always terrifying, but it is worth taking a chance. QA and PM roles can be challenging, but also rewarding. By being proactive, staying organized, and building relationships with the team, you can be successful in these roles and make valuable contributions to your organization.

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Join the Blank team

Would you like to join a young, ambitious team at a growing digital agency? You can check our Careers page to seek out open positions or send us an open application. We’re looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂

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