The Accidental Project Manager


It is a truth universally acknowledged that project managers are made, not born. This is especially true in small-to-medium projects, where many devs find themselves filling a management gap.

In those situations, one of the most common ways to build a PM is to take a perfectly happy developer or designer who has good communication skills and a desire to get things done, and just change their title - often while they're still designing or developing.  This may have even happened to you...

Unfortunately, being a competent worker with a desire to communicate about that work doesn't magically equip a person to manage a project. 

One of the outcomes of being an accidental project manager is unwanted excitement.  Even with their best efforts, the results can sometimes be scope creep, missed deadlines, budget explosions, unhappy clients, and sleepless nights spent wondering what went wrong and what to do about it.  

This presentation is meant to give you, the accidental PM, a quick primer on project management techniques.  I'll share tips and tricks you need to know about - and highlight some traps you'll want to avoid.

Topics will include: 

  • what to do when you're wearing too many hats 
  • project methodologies and how to actually use them to get results
  • spotting problem behaviors (from your client or your team) and what to do about them
  • metrics, reporting and how to tell the truth to your client
  • real-world strategies for when the wheels come off your project

About the presenter

Darren Petersen is a project management nerd, who fell into his PM role after years of PHP and Drupal development.  While leading development teams and digging into the depths of Drupal 6 and Drupal 7, he found himself unofficially nominated to manage  enterprise-level projects, and discovered he liked it.  

In the transition from developer to project manager, he has crash-landed projects, blown timelines, and generally tripped over his own feet enough times that he knows what not to do.  That experience serves him well as a Technical Project Manager at Lullabot.

Darren wants to help others avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls along the way to successful project management, and has a keen interest in how to make teams and clients flow better together to make great experiences happen on the web.

Session Track

Business and Strategy

Experience Level


Drupal Version