My name is Michelle, and I’m a recovering Digital Project Manager.

The Difference Between Digital Project Management and Digital Strategy


You see, I was a digital PM for awhile, back in the heady days of 2015, a distant blur now. And then I became a digital strategist. “Cool,” I thought. “A totally different job, how exciting!” And then weeks and months went on and I found myself thinking, “Hmm. This seems an awful lot like what I was doing before. What gives?”

Months turned into almost a year and I became more disillusioned and confused than ever.

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So what is the actual difference between a digital PM and a digital strategist? It’s taken me awhile to learn.

Digital Project Manager

  • Schedules things
  • Pays attention to budgets, timelines, due dates, resourcing
  • Executes plans, does not create them
  • Follows up with client for approvals/feedback
  • Does not create briefs, but handles regular, smaller requests from clients, bringing in the strategist’s input when necessary

Digital Strategist

  • Delegates execution of tasks to PM
  • Plans client’s overall budget and annual marketing spend & projects
  • Creates plans, does not execute them
  • Responsible for the big picture of a client’s marketing plan and goals
  • Prepares briefs, documents and guidelines for creative staff, advocates for client among agency


Somehow putting it in list form, or rather having someone wiser than myself put it in list form for me, makes it make sense. I tend to get wrapped up in making sure everything is perfect that I can often miss the big picture. Or, what I think is the small picture is actually the big picture. I have vision problems.

It’s not that one role is better than the other, it’s that they actually do very different things, which took me a long time to grow into and realize. It can be difficult to transition to a new role, especially when there isn’t a clear path to doing so. But as with most things in life, if you just kinda thrash around randomly, screaming and banging your fists into your chest, and create your own path, you’ll probably get where you need to go eventually.

And I’m happy to be there.

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