What is this job called
August 7, 2018 9:28 AM   Subscribe

What is the job title of the person in an App Development or Creative Services consulting company who interacts with the client to determine what the client wants, and then works with a development/creative team to deliver that to the client?

You can also throw in some business development, i.e. putting together proposals and getting prospects to agree to them.

I have been doing this for my own small company for a number of years and now I need to look for a job doing it somewhere else. Oddly enough, I can't put my finger on what this job is called.
posted by Winnie the Proust to Work & Money (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Relationship Manager? Account Manager? Technical Account Manager?
posted by plep at 9:31 AM on August 7, 2018

Project Manager
posted by hydra77 at 9:36 AM on August 7, 2018 [6 favorites]

Project Manager - I've also heard this job called Producer or Digital Producer.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:37 AM on August 7, 2018

Probably a Project Manager. Could also be a Business Analyst or Requirements Analyst if you're coming at it from the technology side of things but those don't typically involve the BD aspects.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:38 AM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Project Manager or maybe Accounts Manager, depending on how much of the planning they do, vs communicating with the client.
posted by ancient star at 9:45 AM on August 7, 2018

You are definitely doing Project Management work but I think that is selling yourself a bit short especially if you enjoy the collaborative nature of working with customers and requirements development. In my space we often call these people Solution Architects. What you are doing is really two big roles (identifying with a client what needs to be done AND driving the work product of a dev team to deliver). You shouldn't neglect your capabilities in both.
posted by mmascolino at 9:55 AM on August 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

For people who work with external clients, I'd call that a Relationship Manager, Account Manager, or Client Services Manager, or something like that. Maybe a Business Analyst, but I've more often seen "analyst" roles be treated like more junior positions. I'd hesitate to use an "Analyst" title for anybody with more than a couple years experience.

I wouldn't call it a Project Manager, because in my experience those are the people managing specific deliverables to a timeline and communicating progress back up the chain, not the people setting the feature roadmap. Whether "Producer" fits depends on whether you're more on the creative/content side (yes) or the app side (not so much, IME).

If you were strictly internal and not client-facing, you could look up definitions for Product Manager or Product Owner (the former a term used both outside and inside Scrum environments; the latter very much a Scrum thing, but perhaps also useful). And if you're actually getting into the how and why of the software itself, you could look at Solutions Architect (more sales-y) or Software Architect (more software-dev-y). And if all you want to do is sit in pitch meetings and earn bonuses for contracts, look at the Sales Engineer title as well.
posted by fedward at 10:03 AM on August 7, 2018 [9 favorites]

Technical Account Manager
Client Success Manager
Client Solutions Manager
Digital Project Manager
(Or Supervisor, Director, etc given their experience)
posted by windbox at 10:05 AM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I did this job and it was called a Digital Producer when I did. In effect, I was a technical project manager with a hefty side of user experience/user interface functional design and bits of content management, doing the techie side of pitching and lots of general semi-technical question answering. I now do a more focused UX/UI role.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:41 AM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm in digital video but a similar role in my field would be called Producer or ______ (something more specific) Producer. In design fields, I've also known people who do this with the title Project Manager.
posted by caitcadieux at 10:43 AM on August 7, 2018

Hi! I am this person sometimes depending on the client. I am called the Account Manager or Product Owner. :)
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:05 AM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I worked in software consulting this person was called the 'Engagement Manager'.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 11:12 AM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have done and currently do this kind of job. My title is Project Manager. If you do more "talking to the client" than "arranging the delivery" you might be an Account Manager. If you work with a "team lead" or "project manager" on the delivery side, you're more likely to be an account manager.

You can also pick which of those titles you'd prefer, based on what kind of role you're looking for. "Engagement manager" might be an alternative. Depending on the company, this role may be more merged or more split apart - for example, at my current company, sales and account management is more about the "what" and less about the "how," which is up to a project manager. I know a lot of people at digital creative agencies who have different arrangements and splits between these responsibilities. Some places, Project Managers are forbidden to talk directly to the client, and that's entirely on the account manager. Other places, there's no dedicated "account manager," and after an initial sales call it's all in the PM's hands.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:35 AM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some places, Project Managers are forbidden to talk directly to the client, and that's entirely on the account manager. Other places, there's no dedicated "account manager," and after an initial sales call it's all in the PM's hands.

Yeah, I've been reading all the suggestions this is a Project Manager role with some horror, because the former description is the breakdown at every company I've worked for recently. If I think back to 1999 the latter description applies to the PMs at the company I worked for then. As these responses indicate there's not a lot of consistency across different companies with these sorts of roles.

I've taken to asking recruiters how the responsibilities break down between roles within their organization. Like, I've been applying for Product Manager roles, but at least two companies I've talked to have put the responsibilities I'd associate with that title under the Program Manager title, with the Product Manager more like what I'd call a Product Owner or Business Analyst, and the (possibly Technical) Project Manager doing some of the work I'd assign to a Software Development Manager. I don't find it surprising at all that Project Manager titles cover such a broad range, even if that's not how I'd use the term myself based on recent experience.
posted by fedward at 12:14 PM on August 7, 2018

This role was called an Account Executive at an advertising agency I worked for.
posted by isauteikisa at 12:20 PM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was about to say the same as isauteikisa: In marketing, it'd be an 'Account Executive'.
posted by Wild_Eep at 12:38 PM on August 7, 2018

Came here to apparently say everything fedward said in his post. Product Manager, Account Lead, Engagement Lead, Product Strategist, Product Owner ...

"Project Manager" tends to signify only the more tactical hands-on part of project delivery. Which isn't to say that some project managers don't ALSO do the account management / client needs side of things, but when hiring, we've seen that people whose titles are "project manager" often don't have that deeper client-side experience (and they often don't expect the role they're applying for to involve a lot of higher-level, product-vision-defining activities).
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 1:03 PM on August 7, 2018

Every company is different, but I wouldn't think of a Producer title being client-facing.
posted by rhizome at 1:39 PM on August 7, 2018

Wherever I have worked, this is not a project manager, who usually doesn't handle things like determining what the client wants. Echoing miss_kitty_fantastico, a project manager to me is usually more about scheduling and resourcing and making sure deadlines are being hit at a very tactical level.

What you are describing is kind of what I do, and I'm a [something] strategist. (What goes in front of "strategist" changes depending on who is describing me. Sometimes that word is "digital," sometimes it is "design," sometimes it is "product.") In a previous role, I did a lot of this stuff as a business analyst, but that wasn't because that was understood to be a business analyst's role; we just didn't have anyone to do it and I happened to be game.
posted by synecdoche at 6:48 PM on August 7, 2018

interacts with the client to determine what the client wants, and then works with a development/creative team to deliver that to the client

This sounds like requirements analysis to me.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:26 PM on August 7, 2018

This is going to sound like a lot of different jobs to a lot of different people unless you get more specific. There are all sorts of stages and levels at which you can be interfacing with clients and representing their concerns. I am going to guess you mean Account Manager. You interface with this client to propose projects and make deals to address their concerns ongoing.
posted by xammerboy at 9:51 PM on August 7, 2018

For building the client relationship, representing the client's interests and all with an aim for generating future business: Client Services with titles such as Account Manager and Account Director.

For managing internal resources to execute and deliver a project to a client, eliciting requirements and feedback from the client, and keeping the project on time and on budget: Project Management with titles such as Project Manager and Project Director.

In my work both roles can be responsible for getting contracts signed. Not all projects have have both roles, but some do, depends on the size and importance of the client. I would say the client services team do a lot more "shmoozing" with the client although impeccable and diplomatic external communication skills are also imperative for the project managers.
posted by like_neon at 2:06 AM on August 8, 2018

At my agency they're just called client services people in general. Get higher up and they become account managers, as others have said.
posted by zadcat at 3:00 AM on August 8, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks, this is very helpful, both the suggestions and the discussion. It's good to know that I'm not going crazy, and that there are a lot of different titles and the responsibilities are divvied up differently in different organizations.

For the time being, I'm going to go with "Account Manager" but with the understanding that I may have a different title wherever I land.

posted by Winnie the Proust at 6:43 AM on August 8, 2018

Interaction Designer
posted by at at 1:45 PM on August 8, 2018

Business Analyst
posted by oceanjesse at 5:26 PM on August 8, 2018

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