What’s Your Process? Q&A With Angela Larimer
What’s Your Process is a Q&A series at EPIC where we ask our team members to share how they produce creative content to meet the needs and desires of our clients.
EPIC Project Supervisor Angela Larimer Is An Organizational Wizard
Angela Larimer’s job wasn’t randomly created, it was made for her: “My job is the perfect balance of my strengths; organization, communication, and getting things done.”
At the heart of her role, she is a project manager. She takes on the role of organizing project timelines and budgets, and understands how to get a client to their desired goal. As a supervisor, she is responsible for supporting and coaching members of the project management team and helps train new employees.
Her role involves assessing information and selecting a team to properly execute a successful project. In this Q&A, you will learn that Angela’s tactics for balancing the details of a project are simple, yet effective.
With so many projects that you oversee, how do you stay organized?
Now this might sound a little old school, but I find a classic pen and paper to be the most helpful. I know it seems simple that I rely on a notebook to keep track of everything. But, physically writing something down is so underestimated. It allows me to stay on top of tasks by understanding what needs to be done right away. During a busy time of the year, it can be really easy to lose sight of that. So, I focus on figuring out what my own responsibilities and expectations are on the team.
Working with a team in a hybrid environment, utilizing Slack and Trello to communicate and organize projects has become crucial. It’s important for the team to be equipped with both of these programs to be successful. Our tools have opened the door to easy, accessible, and fast group communication. We can make decisions and get answers to questions faster than ever. We’re always learning about different ways we can use new features to become more efficient.
What does a successful project look like to you, and how do you make that a reality?
One of the most important aspects of a successful project is the team. The people who work on the project should be satisfied and feel accomplished with the final product. The team should be proud of what they have done.
We make this a reality by regularly conducting project retrospectives. Reflection allows us to make real improvements to continue to make things better. We acknowledge the good parts of a project and address issues or areas that could be improved on a future project. Issues will keep occurring until they are resolved. That’s why our team focuses on continuous improvement.
When a setback occurs with a project, what do you do to get a project on track for success?
Communication! If things are getting off track, conversations need to happen both with the internal team and with the client. It may be as simple as regrouping or figuring out the end goal. Those conversations are not always easy to have but as a project manager, you have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Being upfront is important.
Brené Brown said, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.”
I had to learn that sometimes there is uncertainty. I’m a very black-and-white person but, in reality, we deal with a lot of gray. A project at the infancy stage has the potential to look completely different as the team gets closer to the final stage. I had to become comfortable going with the flow.
Why is it beneficial for a team to have a project supervisor?
Project managers are an invaluable piece to the puzzle. We understand all elements of a project, which include the budget, the timeline, and the needs of a client. We collaborate with the internal team to assess what needs to be accomplished, and we keep things moving.
Our team is here to help make sure that everyone at EPIC can focus on what they do best. The teamwork between project managers, account managers, and the creative teams is a win-win-win.
What do you value the most in your process, and why?
Longevity is one factor that helps me succeed in my role. The more I work with my co-workers, the better I understand their habits and the practices they do on a daily basis. Learning how your team members complete their work and communicate is a skill that has given me advantages.
I consider myself a naturally introverted person, so building those peer relationships can take some time. Time has definitely made me more comfortable in my work environment and I have built solid relationships with my peers. That comfort level makes it easy to ask questions and provide valuable input and suggestions.
What attributes allow you to effectively manage projects?
- I am creative. Although my title isn’t related to creativity, I wouldn’t be good in my role if I wasn’t creative. Some people might not realize that a project can be executed in so many different ways. I must develop a path that allows tasks to get done fast, well, and to our client’s satisfaction.
- I stay curious. I focus on asking the right questions to get the information I need and, more importantly, I listen to the needs of the client.
- I am a team player. At EPIC we are all on the same team. Everyone takes on responsibilities and lifts each other up. EPIC’s scrappy, honest, and kind environment has impacted how I view myself as a team member. Not everything we do is glamorous, but at the end of the day, there are things that need to get done to keep our internal teams thriving and our clients happy. And we all pitch in to get those done, whether it’s as simple as ordering lunch, or as complex as rebranding a website.
As a project supervisor, Angela thrives on her organization and communication skills. She loves being able to problem-solve and enjoys guiding others to success. She has become an expert in dissecting the client’s vision. Her skills help her gather resources and find the talent that can get the job done.
Stay tuned for our next installment of “What’s Your Process?” when we look at the wild world of web with Web Development Supervisor Rory Lorbach!