Spinning risk into gold

Issue 1 of 5: How healthy agencies handle risk and rein in scope creep

This is the first instalment of our mini-series on how empowered PMs turn scope creep and risk into gold.

Issue 1: How healthy agencies handle risk and rein in scope creep
Issue 2: Is your agency reactive or proactive?
Issue 3: How PMs spin risk into gold
Issue 4: Yanking off scope creep’s cloak of mystery
Issue 5: A note about the future (your PMs can see it)

Do your project leaders have the power to help drive your business?

Throughout my years training digital agencies, departments, and product studios, I’ve noticed a direct link between how happy and healthy a digital agency is and how they approach project management.

Sustainable orgs empower PMs (as well as account managers, strategists, and coordinators) to see beyond budget and scope and embrace them for the strategic, powerful thinkers that they are. They do this by:

  • Letting PMs in on the sales process
  • Training PMs how to leverage risk and rein in scope creep
  • Trusting PMs with financial metrics

But instead, agencies:

  • Limit PMs to the ‘golden triangle’
  • Limit PM access to financial data
  • Nominate PMs be the team therapist

Reactive firms that bleed cash and are in a constant frenzy to find new business and stay operational are far too common. Fact: you can break free from this hell hole of thin profit margins, sweat-inducing sales pressure, and high turnover rates if you reassess the way you treat the discipline of project management.

A promise (for a promise)

I promise you’ll have a more profitable agency when your PMs know how to spot risk and transform scope creep into opportunity. If you follow along for the next four weeks, I’ll show you how.

But here’s your promise to them: Agency owners and directors, you have to give PMs the tools, support, and training that will help them hone their skills. Listen to them when they spot red flags and risks early. Don’t let things get to a point where your PM comes back 35% over budget and says, “I told you this would happen months ago.” They need your trust and the freedom to change the system.

Project managers, there’s a part you play, too. Share your wisdom. Ask hard questions. Demand to be brought in at the right times, and share your business case for how your approach will help the company grow. Unfortunately, you may have to earn this trust because most agencies were built in a scrappy way by former designers, marketers, or engineers who may not know how to set PMs up to succeed. We’re here to help.

Projects are your agency’s lifeblood. Every project either contributes to revenue or eats it up. Good project managers run solid projects. Great project managers drive company health. They just need to be handed the reins.

Up next

Glue those eyes to your inbox. Next week we’ll be talking about how to tell if your agency is reactive or proactive and how that impacts your company’s overall health.

Get the word, bird

Our newsletter arrives as the crow flies.
Straight to your inbox, once in a while. No fluff.

We don’t spam or sell your info.