Managing Projects

A Relationship-based Approach for Happy Outcomes

From the brain of Amanda Potter Cole


I firmly believe that the client’s success is the team’s success, so I strive to take the best approach for the client and the project. For me, onboarding — both within an implementation team and with each client — plays a crucial role in discovering how to define the best approach (and to identify the appropriate measurement criteria) that will lead to a project’s success. When done thoughtfully, this establishes a healthy atmosphere of learning together, making everyone feel more comfortable asking questions and providing thoughtful feedback to work towards a common goal. Such a foundation encourages and rewards collaboration while diminishing the opportunity for antagonistic behavior to arise. 


  • Approach everything as a servant leader.
  • Relationships built on honesty, integrity, and transparency lead to successful outcomes.
  • Know your superpower, strengths, and weaknesses — and be unabashedly honest about them. WARNING: INSPIRES OTHERS TO EMULATE.
  • The client is an expert in what they do and they hired us for our expertise. By collaborating with them to work from their known “wants” and “do not wants” to identify their core needs, we are able to utilize everyone’s strengths while working towards a more successful project with an awareness of its shelf-life and maintenance requirements. 
  • Every project provides an opportunity to learn something new. 
  • The “right” PM methodology (agile, scrum, waterfall, PMBOK, a custom combo/hybrid) is the one that best fits the client, the project, the budget, the timeline, and the implementation team at the moment that the question is being considered.

General Process

  1. Initial Discovery & Client Onboarding
    1. Identify core needs for project scope
      1. Outcomes
      2. Budget
      3. Timeline
    2. Establish relationships with client and implementation team
      1. Identify client team, especially client dynamics & communication preferences
      2. Establish set rules on decision making / approval
      3. Agree on process roadmap
      4. Establish a safe space for collaboration & questions
  2. Planning
    1. Review what the client is currently using (what is this going to replace or expand?) to identify what they:
      1. Must keep (and why)
      2. Want to get rid of (and why)
    2. Review inspiration examples & rate on a scale from zero to 10:
      1. Zero: “this is an example of what I never want”
      2. 10: “slap my logo on this and make it mine”
    3. Visualize concepts as soon as possible through wireframes and design mock-ups
    4. Provide client with documentation after every meeting:
      1. Meeting summary
      2. Action items
      3. Resources (wireframes/designs/links)
      4. Where are we on our milestones & budget
      5. Potential risks (for awareness)
    5. Collaborate with Implementation Team
      1. Provide, review, and discuss technical documentation, wireframes, and designs
      2. Confirm proposed solution fits within budget & timeline or create alternatives
    6. Confirm client approval before moving from each milestone
  3. Build / Execute
    1. Support implementation team as needed
    2. Provide client with regular updates & communication
  4. Monitoring & Control
    1. Monitor timeline & budget
    2. Test build-out to ensure it meets project deliverables at anticipated standard
  5. Project Closure
    1. Launch (with approval)
    2. Celebrate
    3. Retrospective & maintenance discussion with client
    4. Retrospective with implementation team

Risk Management & Addressing Issues

  • Collaborate with client to identify potential risks throughout the project
  • Communicate risks to client & team 
  • If an issue arises, conduct in-depth discovery and collaborate with client & team to determine the best option to move forward 

Preferred Tech Stack