This is the first of an occasional PICnet blog series: Project Management Quick Tip. These quick tips are lessons that we Project Managers have learned in our work to keep things on time, on budget, and most importantly, to make sure that we have happy clients.
We, the PICnet Project Management team, may not be perfect but we are constantly pursuing greatness – yes, greatness! We offer these tips from lessons learned in that pursuit.
Here’s our first quick tip that will hopefully help you in your own project management work:
Develop a start and end of the week (and day) routine
Greetings! My name is Amber, and I am the newest gem on the PICnet team. I came on board at the beginning of October as a Project Manager in the Washington, DC office. I am very excited to be joining PICnet, and I look forward to helping our clients build and manage their Soapbox sites.
A pure accidental techie — I came to work in this industry (believe it or not) through a babysitting job I had after college. One of my favorite things about being a Project Manager is being able to collect and share some of the best free online tools that are available. Read more »
Project Manager with excellent client-handling skills desired to run the point on web development projects for outstanding non-profit organizations. Ability to post triple-doubles of client satisfaction, on-time and on-budget performance, and stellar work product a must. We’re looking for MVP-type talent to cut through the madness this march and push to the finals for our organizations that work so hard to make this world a better place.
Whether you’re a Number One seed or Cinderella story, if you’ve got the passion to win for non-profits, the skills with the project rock, and a positive vibe for good team chemistry, we’ve got a bracket with your name on it.
Want to join this Big Dance? Find out more on our job announcement.
At PICnet, we provide a unique environment for non-profits to build their online presence. Our high-touch, high-quality service is what separates from the crowd and keeps our client list expanding.
Interested in joining our team as a Project Manager in our San Francisco office? Read on!
Earlier in March, PICnet launched a new site for ACCION and their new program called “The Smart Campaign.” They needed a simple site that would be eventually be available in Russian, Spanish, French, and Arabic. The site also needed to host ACCION’s toolkit of resources, available in all languages. Users will be able to find valuable information that serve as guides and best practices to those looking to participate in micro-finance.
What I like best on this site is the humanistic feel the homepage design presents. Lisa Mattei-McDonald, my client contact at BI, was introduced into this project midway. After her predecessor left, Lisa did an extraordinary job catching up quickly to all things web related. I applaud her success at keeping the project cool and calm even during her own discovery of her role and the unforeseen requirements that the project took on.
It was a full blown effort with four vendors involved! Boston Interactive hired PICnet to implement their design. Strategy and communications firm M+R was also involved. And Democracy in Action came in at the very end to help The Smart Campaign’s constituents active on the site.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) wanted an update to their outdated website – for being the greatest representative of whistleblowers in our nation’s capital, they wanted to have a site that demonstrated their force when reckoning with the bullies.
Dylan Blaylock, my point of contact at GAP, was a very proactive client. He was so prepared that he delivered the site’s wireframes to me instead of the other way around! While these provided a great starting point on which to consider layout, we worked extensively on the site navigation. I once again was confronted with a communications challenge – I didn’t initially present the solution in a visual way. (This is becoming to be a common thread among my clients. I can’t help it- I’m not visual! I see things logically. Forgive me, people!)
In addition to the common website hurdles, Dylan and I had to reckon with DC Snowmaggedon RIGHT. BEFORE. DEADLINE. And this deadline was extremely important:
“On February 17, 2010, GAP teamed up with Participant Media and the Paley Center for Media for a fantastic and unique event – the first-ever televised, long-format special that details and analyzes what whistleblowers are, the six stages of whistleblowing they typically experience, and their lack of legal protections.”
Read more about this event on GAP’s Blog.
So while all of Dylan’s coworkers were at home trying to organize the event when all DC offices were closed, Dylan trudged into work amidst the horrible weather to make this site complete — all by himself! He really did a great job. Between his iPhone and my ski vacation breaks over President’s Weekend, we worked hard to troubleshoot and resolve all outstanding issues before the big event. Dylan gave us some props himself: “Thanks for everything with the Web site again. You and Ryan did an amazing job.”
Through the new website, advocates and constituents alike can contact congress on initiatives, using an advocacy platform through DemocracyInAction (DIA). Online donations are processed through Network for Good.
About GAP The Government Accountability Project’s mission is to promote corporate and government accountability by protecting whistleblowers, advancing occupational free speech, and empowering citizen activists.
GAP is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with an operating budget of around $2.5 million. Gifts to GAP are tax-deductible. The vast majority of our funds come from over 10,000 individual donors and foundations such as the Carnegie Foundation, CS Fund, Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute and Rockefeller Family Fund. Additional support comes from legal fees, settlement awards, and services provided. GAP is compliant with standards set by the Better Business Bureau, and we enjoy that organization’s stamp of approval.
Founded in 1977, GAP is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. Located in Washington, D.C., GAP is a nonpartisan, public interest group. In addition to focusing on whistleblower support in our stated program areas, we lead campaigns to enact whistleblower protection laws both domestically and internationally. GAP also conducts an accredited legal clinic for law students, and offers an internship program year-round.
The Prevention Institute wanted to overhaul their website, which was a combination of a few different sites, but all had different site architectures. Working with our design partner and neighbor, FreeRange Graphics, PICnet streamlined the site’s navigation, making it more SEO and user friendly.
Prevention Institute was founded in 1997 to serve as a focal point for primary prevention practice—promoting policies, organizational practices, and collaborative efforts that improve health and quality of life. As a national non-profit organization, the Institute is committed to preventing illness and injury, to fostering health and social equity, and to building momentum for community prevention as an integral component of a quality health system. Prevention Institute synthesizes research and practice; develops prevention tools and frameworks; helps design and guide interdisciplinary partnerships; and conducts training and strategic consultation with government, foundations, and community-based organizations nationwide and internationally.
The entire staff at Prevention was super during the development process. I especially worked well with Annie Lyles, my main point of contact on the project. Annie is much more of a visual person than I am, so in order to communicate effectively, we even set up our own language to refer to the tools on the website. Because the timeline of the project was quite long, I definitely was able to establish a fun relationship with the team at Prevention.
In February, PICnet collaborated with our design partners and DC neighbors Free Range Studios, to launch a new Soapbox site for Weatherize DC. The campaign is part of The DC Project, a DC non-profit founded by former leaders of the Obama for America campaign. The DC Project advances economic and environmental justice by creating clean energy career opportunities for people who need them most. Staff are trained in grassroots organizing techniques rooted in metrics-based, data-driven field methods that empower neighborhood volunteers to affect systemic change.
Here are a few highlights from the project and the website:
And now a word from Free Range Studios designer Kathi Bahr: “It was truly a pleasure collaborating with an organization that’s doing positive (and tangible!) work for the DC community. We were given complete creative freedom in order to build the new WeatherizeDC brand from start to finish, beginning with a logo design and then website design. It’s rewarding to know we were part of a team that established a creative tool that community members will see and interact with directly.”
In summary – great project, great partner, a great success. Excellent job, team!
Just in time to celebrate the birth of some our most famous U.S. presidents, PICnet launched a new Soapbox website for the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC). CSPC was looking to improve their site architecture so their constituents and followers could more easily locate the valuable publications the organization produces. They also wanted to sharpen up their outdated image. Through their new Soapbox site, they can even receive online donations through PayPal!
Emily Shaftel was my point-of-contact at CSPC and she was an amazing coordinator for their side. I always received a quick turnaround, clear and detailed questions and she was very technically savvy with an eye for pushing the website to its limits. She actually departed CSPC on the day of the launch to go and volunteer for a year in Thailand! Emily definitely made an impact before her departure.
A couple weeks ago, we launched a really great new site for a great and deserving organization – the Turtle Survival Alliance. Now this is a TSA I can get behind! The TSA has been transforming passion for turtles into effective conservation action since 2001. They are involved in some pretty amazing conservation efforts all over the world thanks to their wide network of supporters. For example, check out this incredible story on the rescue of the world’s only known wild Rafetus swinhoei (Yangtze giant softshell turtle) in Vietnam.
This project reinforced some valuable lessons for me:
1) Sometimes it’s the little things One little thing we did on this site that made a big difference was using custom action buttons throughout for Buy Now, Donate Now and Join Now. What an easy small thing it is to replace the standard PayPal buttons to make a more compelling and custom-looking shop.
2) “By your powers combined” (thanks to Captain Planet for this valuable wisdom) The TSA’s site combines the super-powers of some pretty cool third party tools that complement and extend Soapbox. These include PayPal for donations and the shop, Wufoo for membership applications and tracking, Constant Contact for e-newsletters, Embedr for the video gallery, and social media/sharing tools.