TLDR: An agency-side project manager (PM) bridges the gaps between your organization and agency partners throughout a project. A PM ensures you’re on track to deliver the project on time, within budget and scope. During a project, an agency PM will help your organization plan deliverables and timelines, follow coherent processes, communicate effectively between teams, troubleshoot issues, and monitor and mitigate risks to the things you want to achieve.

Which projects benefit from project management? Projects like marketing automation platform (MAP) implementations and migrations are often heavy to plan and coordinate. Migrations and implementations involve bringing many different stakeholders together throughout the project to share updates, deliverables, and decisions against agreed timelines and scope—a particularly complex task in larger organizations.

How PMs help: It’s easy to underestimate the demands of aligning communications and actions between various accountable stakeholders in an agency-client relationship. As a result, organizations may decide not to involve an agency’s PM to steer the progress of a project. This decision adds a high level of risk for big projects like migration or implementation.


“Having an agency-side PM is essential to keep your internal teams and agency partners on the same page.”


Do you need an agency PM? Even if your organization has an internal PM assigned to the project, having an agency-side PM is essential to keep your internal teams and agency partners on the same page.

What’s in this article for you? In this Tough Talks Made Easy, we’ll help you navigate the intricate space of project management, particularly in the context of complicated projects. You’ll learn how:

➡️ To effectively communicate the value of agency-side project management to key stakeholders and decision-makers across departments.

➡️ PMs drive collaboration, alignment and risk mitigation.

➡️ PMs bridge the gap between your organization and the agency, ensuring timely input, decisions, and updates to prevent project delays.


The PM’s value 

At a high level, PMs ensure that your team and the agency are working towards the same goals to deliver a project on time and within the budget and scope.

PMs accomplish this by:

👉 Planning and setting up meetings between teams.

👉 Coordinating the delivery of action items.

👉 Raising awareness of risks and causes for delay.

👉 Pushing stakeholders to make timely decisions to keep the project moving as planned.


“Stakeholder alignment is the key area where PMs make a constructive impact.”


Stakeholder alignment is the key area where PMs make a constructive impact.

Migrations and implementations involve many different tasks and decisions. These projects also involve various teams in your organization — such as Marketing, Sales, IT, and Digital — each has responsibilities and decision-making power.

PMs track when input and decisions need to be received and connect these teams to provide timely and relevant updates. Without an agency-side PM to play this role, deliverables, and decisions can slip under the radar and delay project completion.


How PMs work

Involving a PM right from the beginning of a project maximizes your ability to succeed.

During the initial kickoff session, PMs create the spine of a project by constructing a plan for deliverables, responsibilities, and timelines. A clear understanding of these pieces is essential for stakeholders to deliver and communicate as needed to progress the project.


“PMs bridge the gaps between your organization and the agency throughout the project.”


PMs bridge the gaps between your organization and the agency throughout the project:

Agency-side PM responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that the agency has captured all the relevant discoveries.
  • Establishing who from your organization is required to participate.
  • Following up with stakeholders to ensure that input and decisions follow the agreed timelines.
  • Helping to identify, mitigate, and monitor delivery risks.

Through mediation, agency PMs help you achieve success.

Stakeholders from your workplace can go to the agency PM to discuss and address feedback on the project’s progression.

Should a colleague raise concerns about the project or develop new requirements, PMs work with agency teams to find solutions.

An agency-side PM will ask questions like:

  • Is your organization’s request in scope?
  • How can we make this work?
  • What impact will any changes have?
  • How can we address any risks?

Having a PM to ask these questions lets teams get organized, make improvements on the move, and solve potential issues as they arise.


Alleviating project management challenges

PMs experience some persistent challenges when project managing MAP migrations and implementations.

Timelines are often compromised when organizations lack the resources to participate and provide input as planned or juggle competing projects (e.g. a web launch) that are likely to interfere with the process.


“PMs proactively work to anticipate and minimize risks to project delivery.”


Unclear ownership of tasks and scope creep born from underestimating complexity can also cause disruption and delay. In these scenarios, PMs proactively work to anticipate and minimize risks to project delivery.

For example, an agency PM can help your organization involve the most relevant stakeholders and sensibly delegate tasks and responsibilities. PMs can also factor competing projects into the initial plan and continuously monitor the risk of interference.

Tips for working with an agency PM:

👉 Scope creep: Avoid strain from scope creep by taking time before the project begins to review the steps involved and decide where your organization needs the most support from the agency.

👉 Project delivery: Define clear goals and priorities to help the PM organize stakeholders and deliver the most pressing items and achievements.

👉 Identify stakeholders early: Identify the people within your organization who need to be involved and establish ownership and accountabilities for the project.


Steering projects to success

MAP migrations and implementations are complex undertakings, and the agency PM plays an indispensable role in guiding them to success.

From the start to the end of a project, agency PMs contribute effective planning, process management, risk mitigation, troubleshooting, and alignment between your teams and the agency to deliver results on time, within scope, and within budget.

For any further guidance with MAP migrations and implementations, Revenue Pulse is here to help.