Project Management

Digital PMs: A World of Opportunities

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By Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina

Project managers come in all kinds of flavors. During my 15 years in the biz, I've been lucky to use all kinds of methodologies and frameworks to deliver a variety of projects. These last few years, I’ve mainly been a digital project manager.

But just within the digital world, there are many different kinds of project managers. Here's a brief overview of a few. There are nuances to every role, of course; these are broad-stroke descriptions.

Tech PM: This designation used to include all things digital before digital splintered off. Now a tech PM usually works in the IT/infrastructure realm.

These PMs are the keepers of the critical backend of your business—email, broadcast pipelines, data storage, cloud systems, security, software integrations, etc. They’re leading large enterprise-wide initiatives to enable organizations to adopt new tools and processes.

OTT device and app PM: PMs in this area often work on products related to "over the top" (OTT) video platforms. AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire Stick are all OTT devices. So are gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation.

PMs in this area may manage development of the device itself, but more often they are leading app development initiatives that focus on getting video/music content to customers.

Mobile app PM: Direct to your phone or tablet: no muss, no fuss. PMs in this area often strictly focus on delivery of apps (and their requisite updates) for various handheld smart devices.

The reason why this isn't rolled into OTT is because mobile devices and OTT devices are very different beasts! An app may look and even act the same on both OTT and mobile devices, but the backend of both are quite different. There are thousands and thousands of apps in the world. You could make your career as a brilliant PM just in this area alone.

Web/mobile/livestreaming PM: PMs in this area lead projects in the dotcom space at organizations like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Twitch.tv, etc. There is often crossover from mobile app to web/mobile because most businesses have app offerings, but this PM isn't strictly app-focused. He or she is leading teams to develop engaging desktop experiences while simultaneously being focused on how that desktop experience translates to a mobile device outside of an app.

That's why using Twitter in a web browser on your laptop looks almost exactly like it does in a browser on your phone. Want to add in more complexity? These PMs understand how livestreaming (and soon VR) affects their organization and work with teams to figure out how to leverage both for their customers.

Web/mobile ecommerce PM: Just a few days ago, I bought my groceries online. I'm sure it will become the main way I shop for food! An offshoot of the web/mobile PM, the ecommerce PM is an expert in helping teams deliver all manner of web shopping portals.

Big box retailers with online presences, independent artist Etsy-type sites, auction sites, Paypal and subscription services are all where these PMs live. This PM has to understand the nuances of payment types (both domestic and international), billing and recurring charges, payment funnels and how customers move through them, customer accounting and requirements for handling extremely sensitive data.

From gaming to video-on-demand SMEs, there’s a world of opportunities out there for digital project managers—and they’re changing all the time. What other common digital PM roles do you know of?

 

Posted by Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina on: July 11, 2016 03:46 PM | Permalink

Comments (12)

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Interesting choices for digital sub-categories. Does it line up with the job market?

<-- Tech PM here

@Stephane - I'd say in the US job market, mainly in metropolitan areas (as that's were my roles have been from) the digital PM distinction is very strong. App development I'd say is the most specific one; a broad tech/digital PM skills set isn't usually enough in that area. Understanding the nuances of mobile app dev is very key.

@Stephanie *high five* ! What kind of tech projects are you leading / have you lead?

@Stephane - I'd actually not be surprised to see very soon "Livestream PM" branching away from dotcom. That area is hot hot hot right now, esp with the advent of FB Live.

And if Pokemon Go is any indication, another future subset (other than Pokemon PM Trainer hehehe!) would be augmented reality / virtual reality PMs - because the backend tech in those areas is really niche.

It is very interesting article. I think I have to choice my job as Digital Project Manager in the future.

Lol. Taralyn, thanks for putting this together.

I'm a tech PM. I do a lot of enterprise-wide implementation of business solutions.

@Junji - I think the trend will be that Digital PM will continue to splinter into ever more nuanced spaces especially augmented reality, virtual reality and live streaming. If you have interest and skills in those areas, you'll definitely have many options!

@Ezekiel - do you work for one company or after implementation you hand off care and feeding and move on? I have many peers who are tech PMs and are sustained sole by their enterprise projects and others who hop around but the hoppers are very few!

@Taralyn, I work for a company. Due to my Business analysis background, after we close a project, I still provide expert knowledge on solution evaluation and requirement analysis as a subject matter expert. So my work is always there in the enterprise.

Tech management its key for the sucess of current projects

Computer and IT management with latest recent technologies have provided a greater benefits to all projects related to project management

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