Shahina and Rachael talk: Lessons from 2015

Shahina Patel

One of the DPM:UK15 lightning talks covered remote working, by magneticNorth producer Rachael Shah (at the time, she was Rachael Ball – among other things she’s been busy with this year, Rachael also got married!).

Here I talk to Rachael about what she’s looking forward to from the DPM community this year.


We really seize the opportunity to talk openly about what obstacles we’re overcoming on a regular basis.

“My biggest challenges as a producer are planning and managing work with the team and managing clients. Managing the team means prioritising projects and deadlines whilst considering availability within the studio. Managing clients relates to external factors on a project you have limited control over and if these aren’t managed the right way can cause challenges for your project.

Meeting project managers at the nDPM meetup group and the DPM:UK conference helps me adapt to and overcome these challenge and others in my work as it’s refreshing to hear that others feel the exact same pain points on a daily basis! Discussing techniques and approaches to try and think about when encountering the issue again helps too.

After each conference I always write up what my key takeaways are and will often refer back to these. Every time I do, there’s something else to remember and try out.

One useful tip I learned from the 2015 conference was to set a personal goal or motivation before each project to keep yourself and the team focused. It’s particularly good on longer projects which are easier to become tired or disheartened with. Like other PMs, I like to learn so I’ve enjoyed applying this idea in practice – now I try and have a professional or personal development goal for each project I work on.

This year I’m looking forward to hearing from all the speakers at the conference as there’s always something new to learn or think about. Meeting other PMs is great too – it can sometimes feel like PM therapy but it’s so uplifting to know you’re not on your own when you hear what challenges others face.

I think my ideal Meetup session would have a similar theme – we’d cover techniques that PMs use on a daily basis as we all have quirky ways to get through our work. It’s always interesting to find out what else I could try and see how other people tips and tricks can work for me, especially as there are PMs from different sectors and industries with a different perspective.

The best thing about the DPM community is that when we get together we really seize the opportunity to talk openly about what obstacles we’re overcoming on a regular basis. This peer support is really important as many PMs are often the only one in their business, so having a community to bounce ideas off and know you’re not alone can make a real difference professionally.



About Rachael

Rachael’s work as a producer at interactive digital design and development agency magneticNorth consists of project management and, as the lead client contact on projects, also encompasses account management. On a weekly basis, typically Rachael will work on booking work into the studio, project plans, update meetings, team briefings, resourcing and planning.

Rachael’s talk at the DPM:UK15 conference was prompted by her own experience of working at an international agency with remote clients and remote partners. Working with a network of suppliers and having read 37signals’ book Remote – also reviewed here – Rachael was inspired to write a talk covering a topic new to the conference explaining that we didn’t need to be tethered to our desks.