Inside Orbit with Rene Fiel
Continuing our ‘Inside Orbit’ series, I’d like to introduce you to Rene Fiel. Rene is one of our crazy smart and extremely organized Project Managers. She’s head of the Orbit PPC (party planning committee). She’s super funny, outgoing, sporty, loves the outdoors, and without her there would be no Orbit taco days (happy face).
Without further adieu…
Where are you from?
Boyne Falls, Michigan (Pure Michigan)
What made you decide to become a PM?
In some ways I’ve always been a PM. In school/college, I was almost always the project lead and team motivator. I have always been pretty organized and I am always planning something.
What brought you to Orbit?
I met Andy at a networking event (Letip) in 2006. Four months later, I was happily employed at Orbit.
Tell me about a favorite project you worked on and why?
Since I have to choose just one, it has to be… Lou Malnati’s! Besides my love for “The Malnati Chicago Classic”, the project was fun and collaborative. The Lou’s team was savvy… they had a solid plan for content, images, and testing. They asked all the right questions and challenged our team in productive ways. The site looks and functions well to boot (all because of Kurt, Jessica, and Michaela)!
Can you share at least one tool or trick that makes your life easier as a PM?
I love checklists on graph paper. Everyone makes fun of me for it, but it helps me stay organized. I have checklists at work and at home. No box goes unchecked.
And… temporary landing pages [wink to our PM team].
What industry blogs or sites do you read religiously?
Nielsen Norman Group. The UX reports are awesome! They just make sense.
Who’s your hero? Why?
Steve Jobs. Pure genius.
And… my parents. I might be biased, but I think the 4 R’s (Ryan, Rene, Roslyn, and Reggie) turned out alright. I don’t think I would be where I am today if they hadn’t been so supportive of my life choices, even when I had made bad ones.
What’s one tip that you can give a client about redesigning a website?
I have been asked this question a time or two: “How many individuals should I have on my website committee?”
I believe the most successful projects have a small role-based team lead by an internal project manager. The number of team members will depend upon how many of the following roles a person could take on and still do their full time job:
Internal PM: this role manages internal schedules, sets meetings, handles internal communications with decision makers and team members, handles communications with agency PM, gathers the requirements from team members, keeps team members in check, and ensures scope is delivered and bills are paid. The PM is the sheriff.
Brand Role: this role is responsible for ensuring the brand is translated to Web. This person’s opinion trumps other team members’ opinions on design aesthetic. This person’s feedback is the feedback that matters and the only feedback that is communicated to the website designer. Also, this role ensures the content and images align with the brand.
Content Role: this role is responsible for gathering copy (copy can come from multiple writers), editing copy, ensures the copy aligns with the brand messaging, and follows SEO best practices.
Image/Video Role: this role is responsible for gathering images and video for the website. This also includes editing images and ensuring the images and video align with the content.
Technology Role: this person is responsible for the launch, knows the CMS ins and outs, and handles any integration components. It is probable that the technology role and the integration role are separate roles.
Social Media Role: this person is responsible for maintaining a presence on social media and in charge of the blogging schedule and strategy.
I might be missing a role or two (PM’s please chime in), but here’s the point… there are several components to a website redesign project and that is a lot for one individual to handle on their own.
Build a team that can complete tasks in a timely manner and have plan for avoiding the “too many cooks syndrome” that can delay the process.
What motivates or inspires you?
The fun and intelligent group of people I work with Monday through Friday.
Meeting new people and learning new things.
Adventures… traveling and experiencing new places.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I am named after my wonderful Grandmother, Della. We share a common middle name, Rose.
How many cups of coffee do you consume in a day?
Only 2 cups and always before 12pm.
What’s your favorite nickname and how did you get it?
Nene (NayNay or Nennay). My siblings couldn’t say my name when they were little, so it kind of stuck. My family and friends still use it today.
If you could see any band (past or present) who would it be?
Sorry, I’m unable to name just one: Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison.
What beer do you currently have in your fridge at home?
Great Lakes Brewing Co. Edmund Fitzgerald
What do you like to geek out on?
Travel. I have a few trips I am working on right now. Everything is well documented in Google Spreadsheets, including possible activities and estimated expenses. I tend to book a vacation when the time and price seems right. However, if a friend is going somewhere and invites me along, I might just pick up and go (if I don’t have too much work to do).