I was a project manager for nearly a year before I knew it. At the beginning of my career, I worked as a user researcher at a small UX consulting firm. As we added more employees and our workload grew, so did my responsibilities: scheduling and setting agendas for meetings, sending status updates to clients, and assigning tasks and work to our team.
I didn’t understand that project management was a full-time, professional, hard core career until my boss ordered me new business cards that said “Project Manager” on them.
Project management? What does that mean? I thought I was just organized and good at running meetings.
Searching for Community
With my new business cards in hand, I attended some local PMI workshops, but most of the people I met worked in construction, finance, or healthcare – not in digital technology. I started attending meetups in Austin, but I found only a handful of other people who were project managers like I was. Most of the folks I met were designers, developers, or product folks. No one seemed to do what I did.
People Like Me!
That all changed when I attended the inaugural Digital Project Management Summit in Philly in 2013. The conference was a career-changing moment for me. For the first time, I was surrounded people who manage digital projects and teams.
People just like me who color coded their status reports. People who agonized over creating the perfect gantt chart even though no one else on their team really looks at it. People who were frustrated by the then-new interface of Basecamp.
In addition to the practical skills and knowledge I acquired at the Summit to improve my project management practice, the camaraderie and spirit of generosity was overwhelming. I returned to Austin determined to find the digital project management meetup I must be missing.
Kickass PM is Born
To my surprise, I learned there was not an existing PM meetup in town. Being hungry for that same feeling of community I experienced in Philly, I started Kickass Project Management with Dina Fitzpatrick in January of 2014. Our goal was simple: to bring together digital project managers for both professional development and a sense of community.
People come to Kickass PM for any number of reasons: whether they’re looking for a career change into project management from another field, or if they’ve been a PM for years but are struggling with a difficult project and need some pointers on managing scope creep. Some members just come because it’s a positive professional atmosphere with people who have the same challenges and successes.
Kickass PM at SXSW
Kickass PM has been an official SXSW meetup for the past two years, and we’ve submitted a proposal again to host a meetup at the conference in 2017. We feel like the sense of community we offer digital project managers is largely missing from most digital and interactive conferences. We would love to carve out a space for project managers at SXSW again this year, and would appreciate your support in the public voting portion of the Panel Picker selection process.
View our Panel Picker proposal for SXSW and help spread the PM love!