Team Benu - 2021

You may have noticed that I served as project manager for CatCove, In The Xixian Shadows, and Pebble and I just finished up doing the same for our Senior Capstone - Benu. 
But what exactly does being a project manager mean to me? What is my process? I feel like being PM is an abstract, back-end job, so let me try to share what it looks like for me.
My Philosophy
The first time I took on this role was with Pebble. My 2 teammates encouraged me to take the position because they didn't want to. (I had never met/worked with them before either!) I thought, okay cool I'm organized I got this.
Slowly, I figured out that being PM meant being the glue that kept the project together. Preparing timelines, dividing tasks, strong communication, and deliverable preparation and presentation. It was then when I started to do many of our professional presentations and, with practice, my teammates have applaud me for my story telling skills.
Every project after that, I never actively volunteered to take the PM role and that's for 2 reasons. The first being that I wanted it to be a team decision- I never wanted to be a self-appointed boss. The second reason being that we were still in college and now was the time for anyone else to practice taking up that mantel and if someone wanted to I would encourage it! As time passed though, my close friends liked my effectiveness as PM so I was often voted up.
That being said. One thing I told each of those teams on day one is:
 I am not your boss. I am not the chief. I want key decisions to be team decisions.

Team Xixian - 2020

My Tools
This part has gotten A LOT easier over time. First it was just group chats, then it became 3 key apps: Discord, Notion, and Figma.
Discord: This is where the conversations happen! I love this because it lets our team separate different discussions, quickly separate resources and information and enables virtual meetings! (A lot of this was during COVID)
Discord for CatCove
Discord for CatCove
Discord for Xixian Shadows
Discord for Xixian Shadows
Discord for Benu
Discord for Benu
Notion: I wish I had found this ages ago! This is a PM's dream come true! Easily organize timelines, assign tasks, track user interviews, and take notes on meetings/interviews. This was the most impactful for our senior studio team - see below a snippet of our main timeline.
Figma: The whole UX class of 2021 can probably agree that Figma was IT. Collaborative design has never been easier. As a class, we also found Figma to be a much more effective tool for designing and presenting our professional check in presentations. This was a silent agreement between us all. I don't recall the last time I saw a Google Slides presentation because Figma just destroyed all competition. The ability to create pages enabled us to have pages for UI and pages for presentations and collaborating on them is easy as pie. (Although last time I tried to make pie I messed it up bad... but you get it)

Figma pages for Senior Studio

Wrapping Up
I think a PM needs to be aware that they have the power to make or break a team experience. If the PM or leader is positive, encouraging, and open-minded, the team will grow off of that and everyone will have a good time. It doesn't matter how good each team player is individually, if the environment is hostile, nothing good can come out.
I'm not saying I'm a master PM, I have so much to learn! But I am aspiring to become a better leader with each team I work with :)
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