Client Management: A Day in the Life

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Client Management is an essential role at Brainjocks, and one we take very seriously. Read Emily’s post to get a sneak peek into what it’s like to be a Delivery Manager and how she guides projects through every phase.

Hey! My name is Emily, and I’m a Delivery Manager at Brainjocks.  I’m in charge of project and client management – making sure that every one of our customers and their websites is well taken care of. It’s a job I love and I’m here today to give you a peek into how it works!

My day at the office usually begins around 7:45 AM, always with catching up on Slack messages and emails. Many of my clients are 3 hours behind on the west coast and our European office is 6 hours ahead, so the communication is pretty much around the clock! The office is quiet that early in the morning, so it’s a good time to catch up on missed communications and review my calendar for the day and week ahead. And I love Tuesdays – it’s a great chance to get some smack talk in with the fantasy football channel!

The Day Begins

Before the hustle and bustle of meetings gets going, I get started preparing for my 1:1 meetings with clients by filling out my weekly status reports. These reports show the state of the project’s budget, the current risks and blockers, and the project decisions that were made in the previous week. I am responsible for managing the scope, budget, resource allocations, and timeline on my projects – as well as communicating with the client and mitigating any risks. These weekly status reports help me stay knowledgeable on the state of my own project while alerting the client early and often if risks are present and I’m predicting a budget overage. We never want our clients to be surprised, so these reports keep everyone informed.

Between meetings, most of my day consists of communication. My Slack goes off all day, and a lot of my conversations with team members happen ad-hoc at my desk. An open office plan really benefits agile teams like ours, because we sit near our team members and communication is really quick and easy. This is also a great reason not to work from home much as a delivery manager – even if I’m not directly involved in a conversation about my project, I can overhear and jump in if needed. This helps me always stay informed about what’s happening on my projects. I have a current project that is very large and particularly risky, so a lot of these discussions end in an escalation to me. This is one part about the job that’s especially difficult – being the escalation point for every project role requires me to carry a very heavy weight. When I hear escalations and problems from my team members, I have to find time to chew on it and think about how to handle it before communicating it to the client later in the day.

So Many Meetings!

My first meeting is with the sales team to discuss new opportunities. An important part of my job is managing existing clients since most of the time they’re used to working with me as their delivery manager and will come to me with new business. These meetings consist of planning start dates, estimating effort, and planning project resources.

It wouldn’t be a normal day if I didn’t have my daily stand-up meeting! These are pretty standard to agile projects: a daily round-robin where each project member gives their update for the day and discusses any blockers or problems they’re having while the whole team is present. Our project team is large, so this meeting usually lasts about 30 minutes.

After lunch, it’s time to say goodbye to our European colleagues and meet 1:1 with clients. These meetings are a great chance for me to form relationships with my clients and give them a chance to communicate any thoughts or concerns that they have about the project. I always come out of these meetings with a long list of notes and action items to get done ASAP. I love being able to reassure my clients that I will follow up on any concerns that they have.

My last meeting of the day is an internal meeting to plan projects for the following week. Each week, the delivery managers and resource managers talk about upcoming projects as well as the projects that each member of the Brainjocks team is planning to work on the following week. This makes sure that we plan for our upcoming projects, as well as stay on top of the work assigned to each member of the team so that we know if someone has too much on their plate or has a little bit of open time to work on some internal improvement projects. We talk about allocations each week so that everyone is clear about what they’re supposed to be working on.

Crazy, but good!

A day in the life of a Delivery Manager is hectic and full of spontaneity. Meetings and issues can pop up out of nowhere and completely hijack an otherwise normal day. It’s a tough job since you are pretty much always working 24/7 – if I’m not directly communicating with someone, then I’m thinking about solutions to problems. But what you should know is that the rewards greatly outweigh the challenges. I’ve built strong relationships with my team and with my clients – and that makes my job even more awesome. One of the great things about being a DM at Brainjocks is that when someone new starts at the company, I know that I will definitely be able to get to know them well. It’s fun to go through the “war” together to give our clients the best we have to offer. Add in the chance to have close relationships with clients and be able to see their satisfaction even after a site launch makes being a Delivery Manager one of the best jobs at Brainjocks. Take a look here at how you can be part of it too!

I end my day by driving to pick up my daughter, and I often use the time to reflect on the day that I just worked through and think of ways to improve my projects when I start it all again tomorrow!

Emily Lord

Author: Emily Lord

As a Project Delivery Manager, Emily works closely with clients and internal project teams to deliver successful projects on time and on budget.

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