Project Management is a relatively new field in Brazilian advertising with many opportunities for career development.
The career of a Project Manager in the Brazilian advertising market does not have a long history and legacy of references for analysis. As a result, questions about what is needed for a solid foundation and how to develop in the possible paths within the profession are increasingly common. Where to start? What methods to follow? What are the possibilities that this market may present in the future? These are just a few examples of the recurring questions we professionals in the field hear regularly.
The concept of a Project Management department within an agency is separate from the history of Brazilian advertising. The figure of a person or department that is exclusively responsible for organizing demands, defining work objectives, coordinating production stages with their costs and time involved, and also internally evaluating the quality of deliverables is a recent market requirement. The need is more practical and less romantic: today, a Project Management department is needed essentially because demands have grown so much within agencies, and the search for efficiency (procedural and financial) has become mandatory. Without a clear history of how to get into project management, many professionals end up migrating from other areas within the company itself. It is common to find professionals in Programming, Account Management, or Administration looking for a new step in their Project Management career. In common, we will always find in these professionals a more substantial bias towards the search for work organization, tidiness, problem-solving, the organization of the steps that need to be taken, and a more horizontalized search for the knowledge of the areas that have the need for development in the execution of the planned delivery. And it is in this scenario of convergence between several professional profiles for the same career doubts and conflicts arise about where to go.
Within the advertising market, you can work on the creation and development of a new mobile app, a promotion, in-person events, or campaigns for media outlets. Everything is a Project, and everything needs someone leading this management. With these challenges ahead, there are also greater possibilities for verticalization of your knowledge, forcing you to delve deeper into a specific type of delivery. A popular example today is specialization in developing applications and digital products. It is possible to find Product Managers and Product Owners in communication companies who are highly focused and specialized in agile methodologies and who are familiar not only with the rituals of their procedures — collaboration, planning, cadence of activities, etc. — but also with tools and techniques for evaluating business models and rules.
Even when choosing a specialization path such as the one mentioned above, it is important to keep space open for a more comprehensive approach to Project Management, and this is essential because, in its essence, the Project Manager must be highly skilled in how to deal with changes both in the micro and macro scenarios, that is, not only internally in their project but also in the economic scenario in which it is inserted. Example? The client requests a reduction in the publication deadline for a new campaign to respond to a threat from a competitor, such as the launch of a new product. The ability to deal with this new project premise — a new deadline — and offer alternative plans for its execution that involve the organization of work, the next steps to be taken, etc., is what will define the success of the management of this project.
One crucial point in this development journey is the control of the natural anxiety that accompanies the function. The Project Manager needs to have a complete overview of all stages and plan with the team everything that will be done. At the same time that she masters this knowledge and leads the project’s progress within the agency, she has to respect the time and internal processes of each area and function. This internal conflict is a point of attention for the professional’s stress and anxiety levels: on the one hand, the scope and deadline are to be met. And on the other hand, the intrinsic needs of each area to do the work. At this point, there is no magic formula in Excel, coaches on Tik&Tok, or shortcuts: it is necessary, yes, to have professional experience and faced challenges in different types of projects and situations. In the best scenario, to accelerate this learning, you look for a professional environment with a structured and collaborative Project Management department, where other professionals accelerate your development by sharing knowledge and past experiences. Associating with such an environment is a path that not only accelerates development but also enriches the person’s repertoire.
In this journey, always remember that the ability to think and rethink is essential, along with observation, attentive and empathetic listening, and participating in the project in its entirety. Being present at a meeting where everyone is talking or at a project update meeting differs from participating in these meetings and the project itself. Presence is different from participation. Always be able to contribute to improving the deliverable and, especially, question your own premises and plans.
Whether through lived experience and/or through living in a structured environment, it is essential to keep attention on the approach that will lead to the development of your career. The person who wants to face this challenge must keep in mind that they must always be one step ahead in analyzing the evolution of the project. While the other areas involved seek to focus on their specific deliverables, we are looking at the next phase, with a critical eye to remove the impediments and obstacles from the team’s path. This analysis can never be superficial and focused only on deliverables. It is always necessary to evaluate the scope, what needs to be delivered, the costs involved – if resources are still available to do all the work – and if all the premises have been met.
To control the growing anxiety levels throughout the process, be aware that it is your role to be ready to rethink the project plans, whether due to changes in the predicted scenario or simply due to a need for identified evolution. A good project manager always stands out when contingency plans with material, human, and time costs and well-defined impacts have already been mapped out from the start.
In this position, it is essential to be open to new iterations in your project and to constantly rethink what needs to be done and how it needs to be done.