Project Manager Running a Business MeetingAs a project manager, a lot of my job has to do with trafficking tasks across internal teams and coordinating efforts between those teams to meet deadlines. This is something I love about project management—I get to stay behind the scenes, but I’m still very involved in the day-to-day activities of all of our teams.

While I love working internally with our teams, things can get tricky when another agency gets thrown into the mix. This happens pretty frequently in the marketing world, and no one ever gave me a guidebook on how to handle the inevitable challenges that come with such collaboration. How does a project manager coordinate efforts across teams who are unfamiliar with each other’s work and have different opinions and views on what the final product should look like?

I recently worked with an outside agency on a large-scale video production project, and below are some helpful insights on how we made it through.

Stay humble…

When you work within your own company, your opinion is highly valued. When you work with other companies, this may not always be the case. It’s important to remember that in collaborative projects your opinion is not the only one. Listen to others and be respectful. This may seem like common sense, but it’s easy for stubbornness to get in the way of progress when working with an outside team.

Don’t get hung up on the little things…

When there are a lot of creative brains in one room, there are a lot of ideas, opinions, and possibilities for what the final product may look like. When different companies work together, there’s going to be an inherent difference in the look and feel of the product you’re each imagining. It’s important that everyone comes to a consensus about what you as a group envision, and stick to it. Stay focused on the big picture, but be willing to make compromises on the little things.

Be helpful…

This one goes hand-in-hand with staying humble. If the opinion you’re offering up will not improve or affect the end product, then it’s not constructive or helpful. It’s easy to be critical of another team’s processes, but there’s a reason multiple teams have come together for the project at hand. Don’t lose sight of that!

Stay calm…

Perhaps the most important rule when working with outside agencies is to stay calm! Remember there is strength in numbers. With many people working together, there are a lot of resourceful individuals who can help remove blockers and make sure things continue to run smoothly. If something comes up that’s out of your specific skill set, chances are there’s someone around who can step in. Speak up!

Of course, the above principles are just broad goals to keep in mind when collaborating with another agency on a project. There are many factors that will make each of these projects unique, like each company’s team structure and workflow, the creative minds involved, and client expectations. The main thing to remember is that even though you may be working with an external team, you’re both working together to create a final product you can be proud of!

Meet Megan Miller

Megan Miller is a Digital Media Manager at Launch Digital Marketing. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she studied English with a concentration in Media Studies. Megan lives in Chicago and enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her two cats.