Employee Spotlight - James Chapman, Project Manager

Monday, 20 July 2020 | Written by Nick Rawson, Marketing Manager, PrimarySite

James Chapman is a Website Project Manager at PrimarySite, having joined the company in July 2019. Here James talks about his role, the challenges, and opportunities, how COVID-19 has influenced his day to day tasks and his ambitions for the future.

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With COVID-19 my role, like many at PrimarySite, changed overnight. There was a huge increase in first-time users visiting our websites and for the first few weeks of lockdown, many of the team focused on manning the phones. As well as calls from Trust CEOs and School heads and teachers, we were inundated with calls from pupils and parents – ‘How do we download a document?’ ‘Where can we find the homework online?’ ‘How do I log in?’

PrimarySite made a conscious decision to focus on these enquiries and support Schools, so meetings and sales calls were put on hold. I am proud to be working for a company that took this decision – putting people first during this crisis.

My job is extremely rewarding as well as challenging. I receive website orders, get a detailed handover, and start the ball rolling with the design process. I have an initial chat with clients and set up a meeting – online or over the phone – to discuss the design brief.

Some of our clients want a templated website so we ask a few simple questions. Others prefer a bespoke service, which means we create their website from scratch – including graphics and illustrations.

My role is all about looking after our customers. I chat with customers and colleagues about all stages and aspects of the website designs. This ensures we create the ideal website for all, as well as a seamless customer experience.

For me, the ideal website is clear, clean, communicative and to the point. Communication between Schools and Trusts and parents, communities and governors is critical. Our websites need to be accessible for a wide demographic and this has never been more essential than during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trust websites, on the face of it, are similar to school websites – but usually, a lot more research is required. A Trust will often have a specific journey or goal they want to take the user on. We ask questions about the brand and need to understand their marketing strategy so that the website we create is future proof.

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I love PrimarySite and have never worked for a company like this. At my interview, there was a real emphasis on whether I was the right fit. The company is looking for people who are good with others, who have natural empathy. That means the whole team is committed, supportive and united.

Planning, communication, and empathy for the customer are always key. As a project manager, it is very important to keep things moving - from understanding the initial requirements of our Schools and Trusts to making sure we relay everything to the team responsible for completing the next steps – our graphic and web developers.

One of my favourite projects was working with Primary First Trust.I got to experience first-hand what an incredible team we have at PrimarySite, not just our unquestionable skill levels but also our commitment to understanding the needs of our clients and making sure that everything possible is done to meet if not exceed those needs.

When I am not working, I love spending my time with my wife and two daughters.
COVID-19 reignited my passion for basketball - I have a local court and take my girls there on Saturday mornings. I try to teach my girls to ‘be kind, be fearless, work for what you want, and most of all…. Have FUN!’.

I also love illustration. When I am not working, I illustrate children’s picture books. Being creative is important to me.

What do I want in the future? I want to be an accomplished illustrator and designer with PrimarySite and to be the person any new project manager comes to for advice.

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