Full Job Description
Taoti Creative is looking for a mid- to senior level, PROJECT MANAGER to manage web development projects.
(Sorry in advance for the long read. But this is your career we’re talking about here! It’s worth the extra detail, right? The right fit is critical for both of our sakes, so please forgive us in advance for the verbosity.)
Now, about the job…
Your job, fundamentally, is to be the project leader and use your wits, brains, creativity, innovation, and any resources available to you to produce great projects and happy clients. You’re the project’s champion who makes it happen. Granted, every project has issues. Maybe that new sales guy undersold it. Maybe the dev team spent all their time watching webinars on how to code instead of actually coding. Maybe the client is simply impossible. Whatever the challenges, it’s your job to deal with the curveballs. (Which is not to say that you have to be responsible for fixing all of them. Some things are beyond your control. But as they say: you need the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.) There is of course all the typical PM stuff… scopes, schedules, budgets, client communications, etc. These are underappreciated, but important parts of the job. But the PM role at Taoti is far more strategic than at most agencies. Our PMs are the project heroes—the people who dig in, call the plays, and then oversee execution. You have a lot of control of the destiny of the project. You have a lot (some would argue too much) autonomy to just figure things out as you see best using our three core principles as your guiding light: Quality, Innovation, Service and Teamwork. You have access to a “QIST Fund” to do stuff that is ‘out of scope’ but helps move the needle for our clients. That is to say, while you do have dedicated designers and strategists on your team, there’s still the smaller, every day decisions that govern how the project go. Those calls are yours to make. And those are critical… like raising a kid, success doesn’t come in big milestone moments with a lot of fanfare. But constant attention, slight corrective actions, and ongoing encouragement—that’s how you succeed.
The challenges of this role…
Taoti puts out creative work that can go head to head with the biggest and best creative agencies in the world. But we’re doing so with a ~70 person team. So we need to be lean, efficient, and leverage our inner scrappiness to get the job done with fewer resources than what some of the big boys would throw at a project. So that often means wearing multiple hats and pitching in with production resources like UX, creative, IA, devs, etc. We’re not saying you have to be creating designs or banging out code. But you will have a lot of direct exposure to a lot of that stuff, and you’ll learn a lot about those trades—to the point where you can start thinking like some of them. And that’s a good thing.
As with any creative company in the business of doing transformative work, another big challenge is balancing our desire to do the best work in the world with the pragmatic realities of project budgets, scope limitations, client deadlines, etc. We actually have something we call a “QIST Fund” to account for it. QIST (Quality, Innovation, Service, and Teamwork) or our four primary guiding lights that we let try to steer our tough decisions. We allocate $250K/year for anyone in the company to utilize to go above and beyond on a project that otherwise doesn’t have the budget to realize some of the more progressive ideas that we have. So we actually encourage getting creative beyond what a budget allow. That being said, it takes an experienced creative to know the difference between ‘cool for the sake of cool’ and strategic risks which have the potential for big client impact. Keeping our heads in the clouds while keeping our feet on the ground is an art form, and it’s how we move the needle as creative professionals.
Is there room for career growth?
That’s one of the best parts about this role, specifically at Taoti. In a larger shop, the project management hierarchy is usually large, layered, and not-so-flexible. Or at a smaller shop, you may have lots of flexibility, but not enough of a team to really benefit from true collaboration. Taoti is the Goldilocks of creative agencies. We have enough structure so that you understand what the team looks like and where you fit in. But we’re small and agile enough to let employees carve out new roles and niches where it makes sense to do so. Our teams and roles are constantly evolving as the team grows, so if you want to grow into a role that doesn’t exist, you can help create it! Our growth rate alone (targeted at 50% this year) means that the team will keep growing, which means we’ll be hiring additional people across all departments. And our hiring philosophy is all about hiring the next wave of employees that best supports the existing team. In other words, we grow the team around what we already have—not according to some org chart or spreadsheet. So career paths are not rigid and finite. We have a history of shaking things up, making rather bold HR moves, and adapting our hiring processes (as well as the roles of our existing employees) in a way that makes strategic sense for the employee and the company. For example, our VP of sales is now in charge of delivery. A previous creative director ended up mostly in sales. And we’ve created all sorts of new roles for new hires for positions that didn’t exist before, in some cases, creating whole new realms within our team structure. The point is that we’re committed to doing whatever makes the most sense and are agile enough to get away with it. So your career trajectory has far more to do with your own aptitude and initiative than it does with an org chart or who’s above you.
Tips for getting onto the short list…
Stand out. When you apply, make an impression.
Even though we’re a full service agency, we do more than our fair share of web development. So experience with Drupal and/or Wordpress is a HUGE plus. If you’ve got it, tell us about it!
Show—don’t tell—us how great you are.
We can tell a lot by the documents someone creates. Doesn’t matter what it is, but we’d love to see some documents you’ve put together.
Talk to us about your favorite tools.
Give us some insight into your general PM philosophies.
Tell us why you want to work at Taoti, specifically. And what was wrong with your last gig that makes you want to leave?
Show us your passion and energy. We like passion and energy.
First, a quick blurb about Taoti…
Established in 1996, Taoti Creative is a boutique, full-service creative agency located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. We are privately owned and have no corporate overloads (nothing personal, WPP.) We do stuff like web development, social media management, branding, experiential marketing, video, AR/VR, etc. Our mission is to ‘move the needle’ for our clients. We leverage technology, creativity, and innovation to generate meaningful and measurable results for our clients—that’s what drives us. Speaking of clients, they’re about 60% non-profits, 20% commercial, and 20% federal government. Some of our customers include World Bank, USAID, DC Water, Discovery Education, American Chemical Society, Jane Goodall Foundation, and dozens of ‘National Association of _____________,’ etc. Our full time team of about 50 employees is about 65% in-house and 35% remote. We hail from over 15 countries. And for the last four years in a row, we’ve made the Inc5000 list of fastest growing companies in the United States. There’s of course plenty of additional information on our website. If you’ve not done so already, be sure to check out our culture video: https://vimeo.com/289302105. Or if you’re feeling virtual, here’s guided tour of the office in 360 video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7KkzdmSGTM (Warning: not suitable for printers.)
What’s the corporate culture like?
“Fun but focused,” as one Taoti put it, is a great way to sum up our culture. We’re a fun and casual shop. The kind of place where you can wear whatever, come and go as you please, and have autonomy over your own day for the most part. But we take the work seriously and believe deep in the mission to make meaningful and measurable impacts for our clients. All the perks and shenanigans and borderline irreverent tone are fun, but to really fit in here, you need to be about the work.
We believe in something we call our “QIST Culture.” Quality. Innovation. Service. And Teamwork. We are always striving to improve these four areas (to the extent that we have a fund of a quarter million dollars per year that anyone can spend from in the interest of going above and beyond towards any of these four values.
We also believe in total transparency and open communication across teams and across ranks. Instead of chain-of-command, we want everyone to have and share their own voice. Every other Thursday, the CEO holds ‘CafeClutch’ just so he can hear ideas and feedback directly from the team instead of through the filter of management.
Want to see what life at Taoti looks like? Check out our Instagram or ‘about us’ video. There’s even a 360 tour of the office.
What about benefits?
3 weeks PTO for starters. You gain more with tenure. And if you’re really big in to PTO, you can even trade back some salary for more.
Telework options (which work like PTO… you accrue days with each paycheck. TELE days increase with tenure as well. By your fourth year, we don’t even count them any more.)
100% company-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance. (50% for qualifying dependents.) And we have good insurance.
Paid family leave for men and women (including PTO plus short and long term disability options.)
3% retirement plan matching (plus access to a financial adviser).
Home buyer help (including a $1200 closing credit)
Mobile phone reimbursement
You can opt for a company-supplied PC or Mac laptop. Or if you want to use your own, we’ll reimburse you for it.
Charitable contribution matching
Tax-free metro benefits
A sincere respect for work/life balance
Money and time off allocated for professional development (also increases with tenure)
A diverse team hailing from over 15 countries last time we checked
A very hip/cool/funky/quirky office space on Barracks Row, in the heart of Capitol Hill. Just 2 blocks from the metro! (With the office space doubling in size next year as we build a new building in the parking lot next door to our building.)
Fun perks like a roof deck, wine/beer always on tap, regular company boat outings (boat is walking distance from the office), chill work environment, etc.
No real dress code (within reason, as long as you can be an adult about getting dressed for work)
Annual global retreat (where we bring the whole team together for fun, games, and teamwork)
Of course, the above is a quick list. Our handbook covers all the gory details.
If you’re qualified and interested, please apply on our website (https://www.taoti.com/careers.) Please note that these job ads often get placed onto other websites with their own application systems (we’re looking at you Jooble!) and some sites (looking at you Indeed!) have made up random salary ranges. We aren't able to respond to applications that don’t come through our own website (Because we use software to manage our hiring process, and without it, it would be the wild west here. So please be sure you’re applying on our website.)
Equal Opportunity Employer
Great ideas happen when diverse perspectives come together. Those perspectives are Taoti’s secret sauce. So building a diverse team and culture where everyone has a voice and is included in the process is not just the right thing to do. It’s good for business. We’d love your own perspective to add to our mix! We're eager for new, diverse voices to join the team and sincerely hope people from every walk of life will apply!
Pretty please, no recruiters.