Backstage Library Works

Day-To-Day Responsibilities of an On-Site Project Manager

Backstage offers four tiers of management structures for On-Site projects that vary in degree of oversight.  

  • In the Basic model, a PM puts together a processing plan and hands it off to the library to complete their own production.  
  • In the Remote model, a small team will be hired, trained, and managed by a remote PM.  
  • The Classic model is a full-service solution where Backstage handles every aspect of the project and the PM works on-location with their hired team.  
  • Classic Lite incorporates an on-location project manager; however, rather than hire technicians, our PM will manage a group of your library staff to complete the project.  

What exactly are the responsibilities of the Backstage PM? We spoke with our On-Site management team to hear more about their day-to-day responsibilities.  

Mornings On Location 

Some libraries are comfortable with Backstage staff arriving before open hours to get a little extra production completed before patrons start arriving. If this is the case, the PM will function as a keyholder, and added to their daily responsibilities will be disarming any alarms and turning on lights.  

When technicians arrive, the PM will confirm the sections in which they’ll be working. If the project is spread across multiple locations, then their day may involve traveling as well.  

General Ongoing Tasks 

Quality control review is performed during technician working hours or their breaks. Otherwise, the bulk of a PM’s time is spent focusing on the big-picture needs of the project. This may include completing reports, organizing meetings, resolving technical issues, updating the project profile, and tracking & analyzing project statistics. They may also be involved with active hiring depending on the management structure that the library has selected.  

Life of a Project 

The first couple of weeks of a given project is usually spent hiring the project team and coordinating with the client on a plan for the order in which collections should be worked, and if multiple buildings are involved, establishing a trajectory for completing across different locations. Once the project team is assembled, the next couple of weeks are spent in training. For an Inventory Plus project or Reclass assignment, this may include instruction on how to operate the library’s ILS and how to identify key match points from the MARC record.  

The remainder of the project will involve monitoring, question answering, and adjustment to the workflows or profile as needed, and staying on top of quality assurance review. The PM will continue to monitor production and make sure things are on track to finish on time, or ahead of goal.  

There’s a marked difference between the PM’s role when working on a Physical Reclass project versus an Inventory Review.  

  • Reclassification Projects have the heaviest focus placed on the planning phase. The path of each individual book from its old location to the new is meticulously examined and planned out by the PM. It’s the manager’s job throughout the course of the project to execute this plan accurately and efficiently.  
  • Inventory Plus projects have the bulk of “heavy lifting” – literally and metaphorically – during the production phase. The plan sets the stage for how the inventory will proceed, but by its very nature, an inventory brings problems and situations to light that couldn’t have been anticipated. It’s the PM’s job to respond to these changing needs and communicate additions to the project profile with their staff.

Value of a Project Manager 

The key to a successful project is always in the planning, and in monitoring that the execution of that plan is agile and accurate. Having a captain at the helm means that a dedicated individual knows all of the moving pieces, and they can change course or provide solutions that remain within the desired scope and outcomes of the overall project. On-Site project managers in particular need to not only have good time management and people skills, but they also have to be able to wear many hats. As one of our PMs put it,  

“I am the liaison between Backstage and the client while also managing a team of technicians and being their go-to person for any computer or mechanical issues, personnel issues, etc. I am also responsible for hiring and training the technicians as well. For projects running on multiple sites at once, learning how to multitask is essential.” 

Contact Us
To learn more about our pricing and how Backstage can help you with your collections, you can call us at 1.800.288.1265, visit us online at, or send an email to moc.wlsb@ofni.

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