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It takes a team of several translators, reviewers and specialists to successfully accomplish one localization project. But how do they coordinate with each other? Find out what role Project Managers play in ensuring projects are delivered to clients smoothly.

What does PM stand for? PM stands for project management, or the role of a project manager. Last time we talked about the DTP specialist. Now, what does a project manager do?

Obviously, they manage projects. Now, what are projects? Projects are basically a series of tasks that we need to do in order to accomplish a certain goal. Is it the localization industry? It’s pretty much just to get something localized, something translated something tested into multiple different languages. Now, these tasks come from the client. So in modern days, all of the work most of the job, most of the work is packaged into projects, which have clear scopes. So those are the tasks that need to be done. And they have a very clear start and finish, which is another characteristic of a project. The project manager is there to make sure that the project goes smoothly from start to finish, and everything gets done as it should be.

Now, the tricky part is that on a normal project, if you have a very simple project, let’s say five languages, and a very simple workflow translation plus review, it still means this project has 10 linguists, right, five translators, five reviewers. Now the client, they don’t want to be dealing with all these 10 different people, one by one and answering their crazy questions about how to translate certain things, and what is the meaning of the sentence. So the reason why the project manager exists there is because the client only wants to deal with one person that says “Hey, this is what you need to do.” And then the project manager is the one who basically shields and compresses everyone who’s working on a project. So when one of these linguists has a question, they go to the project manager, if they know the answer, they answer it. They don’t ask the client. If they know the answer, they might want to share that information with the people involved on the project. So project manager is basically sitting at the center of the communication flow between the client and everyone involved in the team. And they’re supporting everyone to make sure that the project goes again, from start to finish smoothly and successfully.

Now, in many cases, things are not that smooth, and they don’t go ideally as planned, which is again, where the project manager comes into play, because the project manager has this overview of everything happening on the project. And that’s why when something happens, in part A, they know how it affects Part C or D and so on, like things that are happening later in the project. And they can take an action. So the good project managers actually stand out. They excel when things go wrong. When things go very well, pretty much anyone can do a project. Because if the people who are working their project, they do two things as it was planned. Project Management doesn’t have that many things to do. But if things go south, and you need to be more creative, that’s when the good project managers stand out. Other than that the project managers also do some admin things like we do invoices, but that’s the boring stuff.

Basically, essentially, the role of a project manager is to make sure the project gets done according to the specifics. From the client, according to the requirements, according to the scope, according to the quality criteria, it happens before the deadline. And they also ensure that it’s within the budget and the company that they represent, makes money. And then they’re at the center of the communication flow, like I mentioned, they’re sitting in the front, they’re the bridge between the client and the people working on the project. Their other important part is to make sure that everyone involved has the right information and they can do their job. So their secondary role is to support everyone on the team, with decisions with knowledge with communication and so on. That is the role of a project manager.

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