Why we have one project lead

Every project we do has a project lead (for custom website or UX projects, it’s often Arthur — hi, Arthur! On custom application projects, it’s usually Ross or Adam). The project lead serves as the single point of contact for both our clients and us on the internal team. 

We didn’t use to do this formally. Our team is fairly small and our project teams are even smaller. Of the 38 of us here, only about five to ten people are touching the work at a time, and it worked well enough to tag-team everything — for example, a client request would hit the inbox and whoever knew the answer first would respond.

But that style is also a bit chaotic. Sometimes we’d all chime in at once (and not always saying the same thing). It wasn’t uncommon for someone to get dropped from a cc. And that system made it hard for our clients to know who to connect with: Should they loop in everyone? Pick their favorite person? We should know. We always prefer it when there is one point of contact on the client side for these exact reasons. 

Every Bilberrry project has a single lead (and a bunch of group email addresses)

These days, we always name a project lead. They’re the single, named central hub of all communication on a project, and they initiate, plan, and manage the scope end-to-end. When the project lead is doing a great job, no one is confused. Stakeholders are well-informed about targets, expectations, responsibility, results, and feedback. Information moves freely. And everyone feels comfortable sharing new information even when it’s tough.

Our project lead isn’t just the single point of contact between Bilberrry and our clients, they’re also a key liaison between our internal teams. We’re on Slack with each other all the time, but the project lead is the middle of the Venn diagram: creative, UX, back-end, front-end, and QA. That person is invested in and knowledgeable about all the key functions, and ensures they all fit together. 

Over the course of the project, you’ll get to know your project lead as they schedule and run meetings, give updated project reports, and predict (and solve) potential risks. They’re your person — and we’ve found that because they’re a consistent presence it makes it easier to share your worries, updates, and even frustrations with them. 

We also use a group email address for the project (e.g., yourproject@bilberrry.com) that includes everyone involved. That single email address gets cc’d on pretty much all project communications — both internal and ex — so no one has to keep track of which team member is working on what and when..

How we used to communicate How we communicate now
  • Reply-all to a cc chain
  • Project Lead and a project email
  • Whoever has the answer first replies
  • The Project Lead replies
  • Workable, but chaotic
  • Smooth and chaos-free
  • Client doesn’t know who to contact: A random person? Everyone they know?
  • Client knows who to contact: The Project Lead and/or the project email

Why it’s best practice to have a single point of contact


In our old system there were two types of confusion: missed messages and mixed messages. People literally missed messages when they were accidentally left off the email chain, and clients missed messages when we each thought someone else was a better fit to answer it until no one answered at all. Not good. 

The flip side of that is when everyone chimes in — and gives mixed messages — which is even more confusing. If there’s only one person who’s getting and giving information, there’s no way to have the message cross paths or miss its recipient. Plus, no decision will be made in isolation. 


With one point of contact, there’s a single hub of information. They know everything there is to know about the entire project — what’s gone right, what’s gone awry, what solutions have worked, the initial ask, and any changes that have been made along the way. They’re also deeply familiar with each team, their capacity, and where they are in the project plan, so can make informed decisions about what should happen next and what can wait. 


When there’s no decision tree of who to contact, everyone always knows who to email or call. And they won’t be a stranger! You can ask questions faster, with more confidence, and you get answers from the same continuous source. (These benefits all apply internally, too.) 

All of this adds up to quicker, more effective communications, which lead to quicker, more effective decisions. The project proceeds more efficiently and we get to the goal line quicker, without spending more money than is needed. 

Our POV: Every project deserves a single point of contact

Even on small project teams like ours, we recommend naming a single point of contact. Operating without one worked for us fine enough for a long time, but now it seems like handling an emergency by shouting into a crowd, “Who’s closest to a phone?”