gearsTraffic Managers and Project Managers

They both manage people and deadlines, right? True, but there’s a distinct and important difference between the two.

On the surface level, it seems that Project Managers and Traffic Managers have similar roles within an agency. But, the two positions cover different niche needs.

A Project Manager works with specific, individual jobs and clients. S(he) serves as a client liaison, heads project kick-off meetings, and relates client requests and changes to the appropriate department(s) within an agency. Project Managers are also often the first stop in moving creative up the chain of command for approval.

Traffic Managers, on the other hand, touch all jobs an agency handles. S(he) manages deadlines and workflow, communicates between departments to ensure everyone has what they need to complete their tasks and tackles the difficult work of prodding people to fill out their Time Sheets and attend their meetings. Traffic Managers have an arguably more hectic job than Project Managers; they have to coordinate ALL employees and balance job priorities. It takes a tough skin and type-A personality to be effective.

Do You Need Both?

Yes! The left hand needs to do what the right hand is doing. Without a Traffic Manager, agencies run the risk of allowing Project Managers to disproportionately dole out work to teams and departments. The Traffic Manager is the first and last line of defense when it comes to keeping everyone busy — but not too busy.

And, while the Traffic Manager takes the “big picture” approach to employee and workflow management, they can’t do it all. That’s why agencies also need Project Managers to handle the day-to-day of individual assignments and to manage client expectations. It takes a lot of gears to keep an agency ticking along. Traffic Managers and Project Managers are quite possibly two of the most important cogs. Without one or the other, jams and backups are sure to occur.