Entry-level Traffic & Project Management

For some reason, I’ve seen a lot of agencies and marketing departments hire an entry-level individual for project management – and then call it traffic.

It’s a cheap way to get someone on staff to follow up on jobs. Just hire someone to keep a calendar and nag everyone.

The thinking is that traffic or project management isn’t a super-important job and you just need a body to remind everyone of deadlines. Or perhaps run stuff around the agency for approval. Or remind staff to read their email and check a proof. Pay is often at the lowest level, and title is often appended with ‘coordinator’ so the low pay is justified.

This is the person whose job it is to make sure your stuff gets done.

I have no doubt that entry-level PMs or Traffic work to keep on top of things as they learn what’s important and what is BS. Alliances are hard to figure out for the un-initiated because they have a lot of bosses. And a lot of bullies. This is a job for those who are thick-skinned, diligent, and brokers of peace.

Bravo for those who can quickly figure out whose agenda is surfacing. And to know when to pull warring factions together in one room to duke-it-out when they’re arguing through the approval process – rather than being the one to run interference.

A well trained and experienced PM or TM will make sure projects get done on time, on budget and correct. They understand the business, your client, budgets, deadlines, branding, what works and what does not (plus a whole lot more). They ensure you make money. Why would you bet your profit on an entry-level employee?

An experienced PM will provide plenty of warning – and documentation – of projects going sideways. If Account or Creative want to blow budgets, deadlines or change direction, that is their choice. An experienced PM has already warned them of the consequences.

Hire an experienced Project Manager and pay them well. Bring in entry-level employees to assist them. Get a good process in place. 

And management: support your PMs. They deal with everyone in your agency – so you don't have to.