Our newest Portland Digital PM profile focuses on Claire Seibert, a project coordinator at ThinkShout. Read on to learn a bit about her and her organization!
Who are you, and what you enjoy most about your current organization?
I am a Project Coordinator at ThinkShout, Inc. based here in lovely downtown Portland. Working at ThinkShout, you are guaranteed to be in the presence of hard-working goofballs that get the job done and have a lot of fun doing it. It’s a joy to come to work when your organization has a clear understanding of the clients’ needs and the staff’s as well. We take the time to celebrate individual projects and staff accomplishments; no win is too small to go unnoticed and celebrate with Blue Star donuts! Besides our common goals and interests with our clients and projects, we make sure to take time to check in on each other with weekly team lunches and basketball tournaments.
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” ― Phil Jackson
What makes a stellar digital project manager?
A great PM knows their team; they recognize individual strengths and apply those attributes to the project, uniting all areas of strength to come together at the project with full force! From there, the PM can successfully orchestrate the structure of the project and align with the client’s vision and mission; communicating clear, complete, and concise direction with everyone to get the job done.
Another skill that makes a stellar PM is the ability to problem solve with grace and ease. A bonus if you actually enjoy doing it! Of paramount importance to this is understanding how technology can serve our clients by helping to solve their problems. Unexpected challenges arise from any project, no matter how well planned and executed, life happens. It’s crucial during these times to be a composed PM, tackling the issues or concerns head on to mitigate risk while proactively seeking solutions. Keep your team focused and the workflow moving forward.
What was your path to becoming a project coordinator?
After graduating from the University of Oregon, I got into a role working for the property management of KOIN Center. I dived into managing and communicating with 1,000 people a day: tenants, vendors, prospects and of course my internal team. So much was happening around me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I decided to further my experience and moved into a project manager role implementing national specialty coffee programs. With a wide range of customized programs and clientele (plus, an endless supply of coffee), I quickly fell in love with the concept and professional role of project management.
All of this experience has lead me to my current role here at ThinkShout, project coordinating web development for our wonderful nonprofit clients. I supplemented my professional experience by receiving my PM certificate at Portland State University. I plan on completing my PMP in the near future. It helps to have a kickass organization that supports individual professional development.
What aspect of project management keeps you excited and coming back every day?
Working with my talented colleagues and the unique projects definitely keeps me excited and coming back every day. No day is alike and every day brings more opportunities for me to continue to refine my skills as a project coordinator.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer to a new digital PM?
Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dive right in to unfamiliar waters! It’s the fastest way to learn and get up to speed. Keep in mind that you’re not alone; you have a whole team, organization behind you, supporting you in your every step! Know that mistakes will be made, you’re human, and every mistake is an opportunity to learn and help you become a better PM for your team and clients.
What has been your biggest challenge as a digital project coordinator?
Making sure everyone is on the same page! Sometimes there are gaps in understanding between the technical language that is used between projects, customers, and features. I find myself asking as many questions as possible to make sure I fully understand what the client is looking for, what needs to be done and how that will affect the overall project timeline and budget. It’s a challenge that will always be present since our clients will always have varied levels of experience with technology, but it is helped by having a team that has a solid background in the industry.
What is the one tool you can’t live without at work? Why?
The Internet! ….
How do you succeed at managing projects where you’re unfamiliar with the technologies being used?
Ask questions and seek answers. Utilize the experts around you and ask questions. Seek answers in your own time too, through resources: articles, wiki, blog posts. Be a sponge and soak it in!
What do you consider the key to motivating your project teams?
The projects themselves are motivating on their own; hearing and seeing how we impact the success of a company that is helping make lasting social change, that energy is contagious! The personal relationships you have with your team and client really make a difference as well. It’s more than a job, it’s our lives.
What do you enjoy when you’re not busy managing projects?
When I’m not in the office or the classroom, you can find me out and about in the Portland scene with friends and family. There is always an activity going on in Portland that fits perfectly to your mood at that moment. Aaaand, I am a huge soccer fan. Whether it be going to support my Timbers or playing on my coed team, I am never too far from the field.
Do you have a work or personal blog where you share about digital project management? Where else can you be found online?
ThinkShout is really supportive of community engagement; my colleagues and I post our blogs on the website regularly.
Check out my most recent blog: http://thinkshout.com/blog/2013/10/claire-seibert/plenty-nonprofits-not-single-pirate-badcamp
Please also feel free to connect through LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mcseibert/
I am never too busy to grab a cup of coffee if you want to learn more about our organization or if you just want to chat PM. Hit me up!