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Project Strategy: A Primer

Daniel Ra

When a new client gets the rundown on the Big Nerd Ranch approach to software development, they’ll hear about a role called the Project Strategist. Though uncommon, Big Nerd Ranch does not have an exclusive claim on that job title. However, the project strategists’ values and responsibilities are what set us apart.

Project strategists like me are likened to the grease between the gears. Or the buttresses of a cathedral. Even like setters to the spikers that are our engineers. We strive to keep the project successful by ensuring that our engineers and our clients are empowered to serve the project to success. We firmly believe that when our Nerds and the clients collaborate frequently and closely, the chances of the project being successful exponentially increase. We’ve experienced it firsthand! For us, enforcing these values contributes to serving no master but the project and its success.

“How are project strategists different from project or product managers?”

Although we do a lot of the things project and product managers may do, we stay away from certain things that those roles are usually responsible for.

Unlike project managers, project strategists:

  • Never manage the project’s engineers
  • Never get in the way of clients talking directly to engineers

Unlike product managers, project strategists:

  • Do not assess business needs for which to derive requirements
  • Do not determine the product’s roadmap

“So what do project strategists do?”

Depending on the project, project strategists will:

  • Advise both clients and engineers on solutions, whether on process or on resource management
  • Track budget, scope, and time
  • Vet features with clients and customers when necessary
  • Assist clients with backlog curation and prioritization
  • Facilitate meetings, internally and externally
  • Escalate the visibility and importance of blockers, and help get rid of them
  • Resolve conflict
  • Advocate for and give voice to the project’s needs
  • Defend and promote Big Nerd Ranch’s company values of kindness, hard work and brilliance

Big Nerd Ranch’s project strategists are driven by honesty, transparency and integrity, and we obsessively abide by those values. If you’re needing help building your next big product, our project strategists are excited to help make it a success! Please get in touch to see how Big Nerd Ranch can help you meet your business needs.

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