A Week In the Life is a series highlighting different roles at Centerline. Each installment is an opportunity to learn more about the people of Centerline and the work they do. If you have experience working as a project manager, or you are one, then you know what we mean when we say they are the glue that holds it all together.
We are lucky to have great project managers on our remote-first team. We want to introduce you to one. Meet Erin Kraftchick, a Senior Project Manager at Centerline.
Does this post make you interested in a project manager role?
Position: Senior Project Manager
Centerline anniversary: December 15
Location: Raleigh, NC (our headquarters!)
In-her-own-words job description: Project managers are the glue that holds the team together and they are the unofficial team leader. We work with everyone involved in a project from clients to creative ops, all studio members. We are the common denominator and make sure everything happens and everything gets done.
Alternate job title: The dream-maker
How do you define Centerline’s ethos, “Be Essential”?
Someone who is reliable is a catalyst for teamwork, and that’s what being essential is for me—being a team player.
As project managers, we have to think about how to get everyone in the boat. When you see other people as essential, you naturally want to get them in the boat and that’s one of my main responsibilities—building the team camaraderie and establishing a positive mindset so they want to work together.
Describe your typical week in 5 words.
Fun, challenging, dynamic, rewarding, demanding.
How do you usually start your workday?
I make sure I have enough caffeine and food, then I sit down and go.
I typically begin with the daily start and the daily to-do list. This involves posting a traffic channel report so my whole team can see which resources we’re working with and the priorities for the day.
What’s something you do every day without fail?
Without fail, I check in with core team members every day to make sure they have what they need, help solve issues, or answer problems. I also like to run through projects on Slack and give a general project status update.
What have you learned being a senior project manager?
I’ve learned new programs and apps and how operations work at Centerline. I’ve also learned how to make things work for my team and the company as a whole within our processes, improving how we do things.
What are the tasks that happen most often per project?
Definitely budget and schedule management. But also making sure that everything is happening on time from client feedback to gathering info for a kickoff, and ensuring we have the info we need on time to keep things moving.
How do you find balance in your workweek?
I try to exercise, take a break, and get out of the house. I love that I am remote because I can take a break and see my kids. I also like to do something fun for myself every day. It could be reading, watching a show on Netflix, or doing a puzzle with my kids.
How do you prioritize tasks?
My tasks are prioritized according to the schedule, and I depend on the reports I run in our resourcing and project management software. I look at today, what is starting, and what needs to happen. Then, I look at what’s due because that means something needs to be delivered to a teammate or client.
Any beginning of the week or end of the week rituals?
Resource meetings with Ops and our creative teams so I can make sure resources are assigned for the next week. I also delete all the downloads from my desktop and file my emails at the end of the week.
Are you more productive in the morning or afternoon? Beginning of the week or end of the week?
Evening, but my sweet spots are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then 4 to 6 p.m. I like to be prepared for the next day. And end of the week. Once I get going, I just go go go. Once the fire’s going, it just keeps going. It’s hard for me to stop and shut it off.
How does someone in this position turn the wheel?
Project managers make great team leaders. They are able to simultaneously pump encouragement and enthusiasm into the team and keep everyone focused and moving forward.
We are lucky to have some of the best.
What do you love most about working at Centerline?
The thing I love most about working at Centerline is the PEOPLE!! To have a career where I can work on creative projects with a diverse group of people working towards the same goal is a gift!
What have you learned about yourself through the work that you do?
That I can adapt and change to fit the situation in many ways, even if there are growing pains, I end up better or stronger in the end. Change management takes a long time, especially when working with large groups or companies. Long-term change is a marathon, not a sprint.
How do you keep going when things get challenging?
I try to remember the other hard times and that I made it through, and everything was fine, maybe even better. Sometimes the anticipation or the present is much harder than when you look back and wonder why it seemed so stressful. Taking things in small chunks, one step at a time helps too.
Anything on your desk or in your office you can’t live without?
My calculator, my chapstick, and my glasses lens cleaner cloth. LOL.
What does your project management background look like?
I actually went to the College of Design at NCSU with a major in fine arts with a focus on textiles. I started my career as manager of the costume shop at Carolina Ballet. I worked in the arts for years and still freelance and teach when I can, but I shifted into production work when I started doing wardrobe and producing for commercial photography. That led me into account management at a creative agency, from working with commercial clients on shoots. I was an account manager for a few years and did more freelance production work, then eventually made my way back in-house as PM and landed at Centerline.
Any tips for a new project manager or someone looking to change jobs?
Always remember that you don’t know what you don’t know, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions! Be flexible and focus on helping others. Try to have fun! Making someone laugh or feel encouraged may be the most important thing you do some days.
What’s the last app you used on your phone?
Snapseed (photo filters)
What are your most-used emojis?
💜 🙌 😂
What’s your communication style?
I’m a visual communicator for sure. I think most people with an art background probably learn best visually. So even if I have thoughts swirling around, I need to see them typed on the page. I hope/ try to be assertive, but only after being an active listener first.
Favorite GIF of all time?
Are you or someone you know a project manager looking for a new opportunity? Take a look at our current openings.