Part 2 Video Budgets — Project Management Broken Down

Jen James — Executive Producer

I am back, it’s Jen, and I want to take a look at a particular part of the budget that often gets questioned, Project or Program Management (PM). Typically in budgets this is one line, a significantly sizeable cost, and usually has no breakdown. For example on a $1M budget your PM fees would be approximately $100,000. That’s it that’s all, no explanation. Typically out of the gate it is common practice for agencies and partners to charge approximately 10–15% for overall PM fees. This can be a big expense pending on the budget and as a customer, it’s important to understand what your getting for this production cost.

So what is a Project Manager and why do you need one? Fundamentals or Wikipedia says the following:

But I think it is important to say that a value add Project Manager is a lot more than that. Often times, depending on the project, the PM is your client’s voice, advocate, trusted partner, content driver, brand manager, budget manager, senior leadership influencer, person responsible to define and manage scope, communicate deliverables and goals, maintain timelines, and procure requirements to fulfill the projects goals. The project manager is a senior level role that should not be underplayed or undervalued. In the world of film and video production the nomenclature for this position is Producer. There are two kinds of producers when it comes video and film production. Here’s a great clip to check out what defines these roles…

The Role of the Producer

Without a strong Project Manager, both on the client side driving the project internally, and on the vendor or agency side coordinating and owning the relationship with the client the project will have the tendency to fall apart and fall outside of the budget.

Caution — Incremental charges could apply!

While one model is to charge clients a 10–15% charge initially for overall PM fees it is important to clarify what the incremental hourly rate is for Project Management and how it is managed. Often times this is not discussed up front and can cause budgetary nightmares down the road. Strong Project Managers should be tracking the hours they are using and should be able to provide transparency and lead time around any incremental hours required or anything that could be out of scope. Ask questions always!

Until next time…