The Project Manager – a Q&A with Agata Swietek of Quadrant2Design

Is the job very stressful?

It can become stressful. I usually work to very tight deadlines, and it is up to me to make sure that the entire project gets done on time with as little stress as possible, so the client and the production team can do their work efficiently. It is my job to make sure everything goes to plan.

What is the most important part of the job?

Communication. Definitely. I need to talk to everybody who is involved in creating the stands. The CAD designers, the manufacturers, the event organisers, the clients, the installation team and all our other suppliers. I must focus and always think about logistics of every stage of the project. I need to know how many people the exhibition stand requires to be built, and how many vehicles are needed. I then need to make sure these resources are available, and book them in. I have to let the client know, and the production team know, so they can get everything ready in time.

What is the benefit of a project manager?

We have a lot of knowledge about the exhibition industry, and this is a knowledge we actively want to share with our clients; this is the best way to make sure they have a great show! We make their lives easier by providing them with the necessary documents for stand installation and stand-build approval, for example. We take some of the weight off their shoulders, and point them in the direction of services we cannot provide (like Electrics, AV equipment, and furniture). If we cannot help them directly, we will try to find somebody else who can.

Every project I do I learn more about the exhibition industry, so I am not surprised by much. For example, we are installing stands across the world more and more. All our procedures are put in place to avoid any problems on site. If problems do occur (no project is ever 100% perfect) then our clients know they can always call us – we can instruct them on who they need to contact to sort out these issues.

We all rely on each other to avoid complication. We understand how important it is for our clients to have their stand built on time, so the whole production team is working together to make things right as soon as possible – it helps everybody complete the job.

What is your biggest challenge? And how do you overcome it?

The deadlines are always the biggest part of the role, and it is sometimes a challenge to meet them all. There are many deadlines leading up to the main one – the stand build at the exhibition. There’s the deadline for ordering electrics, deadlines for submitting stand plans to organisers, deadlines for stand approval at the exhibition itself.

We overcome these difficulties thanks to our personal organisation. We have amazing computer software and we have a huge white-board with all our work completely visible on it, so we can prioritise our work accordingly.

And how many projects are on the go at any one time?

We have about 60 projects on the go at any time, and between three of us in Project Management we usually have about 20 or so. It seems a lot but we all support each other and depend on each other, so we work quickly and efficiently. Plus, a lot of these clients are long-term projects so we don’t need to juggle all of them at the same time.

So it’s busy, but rewarding?

Yes. We put a lot of effort in our job to make sure that the client is happy. For me the best part of the job is when I know that we went through the whole process smoothly and I can see the pictures of the stand all dressed up, looking amazing. If I get to speak to the client after the show and find out they had a great show and they loved the stand, that’s the best. It gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Your job is pretty important, then?

Yes! In this industry you never get a second chance. If we don’t deliver a stand on time or match what the client wants, we will let him down and he will have a bad show, and he won’t use us again. Fortunately that has never happened – we always get the finished stand, ready to go, on time. Always.

If you’ve got an upcoming Exhibition, call us today to get your free design proposal to see how your stand could look with the Prestige System. Call us on 01202 650333 or email your design brief to designteam@quadrant2design.com.