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A certified project manager shares their approaches

Page history last edited by Liam James 2 years, 9 months ago

Julia Smith is a BVOP certified project manager. On this page, we share her experience with a real interview.


Julia, you are a BVOP certified project manager. You also have a lot of experience behind you. Share the qualities that you rely on the most in your work as a project manager.


I think over the years I have developed or suppressed many of my qualities. But what describes me so far are determination, curiosity, analytical views.


Do you prefer to work on one project or on several projects at the same time?


Of course, it is always easier to work on only one project, but sometimes it is necessary to manage two or three projects at a time. Then the processes, depending on their complexity, should be organized and prioritized properly by dividing them into smaller projects, which are easier to manage and measure.


As a project manager, what qualities do you think you possess and will add value to our company to become a successful manager?


Leadership, flexibility, responsibility, skills for quick decision making and case management, ethics, corporate culture, and loyalty. The expertise I have from the PM course too.


How do you most often manage projects - by allocating the work or taking over most of it?


The role of a project manager, as well as one of the most important skills that a successful project manager should possess, is to properly plan, delegate tasks to his team, and then coordinate implementation. Of course, there are also force majeure situations in which you have to act quickly and it is good for the manager to get involved.


Why did you choose the BVOP Certified Project Manager program?


I chose the BVOP certification because of the modern Agile views and management approaches of this new methodology. Reference: https://bvop.org/projectmanagement/ But I was most impressed by the idea of ​​mixing project management and product management practices.


Are you planning your next certification degree?


Yes. BVOP Certified Agile Director or BVOP Program Director. But unfortunately, time is never enough.


How do you protect the interests of the client?


I properly balance the interests of the company and the client, as he will still use the final product.


How do you monitor and manage risks?


Monitoring and management will be based on prior identification of risks, their impact on the project, the likelihood of occurrence, and the appointment of an owner who will manage the identified risk. In case of occurrence, an Action Plan will be prepared, which will be followed to eliminate the discrepancies.


What would you work on to develop or change it?


On his determination. I am ambitious by nature, I like to see the end result and it benefits everyone I have worked for. At the same time, I am emotional and sometimes I put in more emotions than I sometimes lose, they are of no use. I think that by developing my professionalism, studying constantly (and I even like that a lot), I control these emotions more easily and successfully. Based on facts, relying on my experience over the years, both professional and personal - I feel more confident in any new situation I find myself in. I notice that this immediately reflects on the people I work with. So I just keep looking for new challenges, gaining new knowledge and skills. I like this and it benefits everyone.


List 1 achievement you are really proud of and why


I found myself in an extremely difficult situation, starting my first job as a Team Lead. The team of programmers has halved in the last six months of my appointment. 1 week available for a handover from the team leader I inherit. I do not know the software of the project, for which I am also responsible. Heavy delivery rhythm - once a week. The extremely complex technical system as a whole. Teams we work with - diverse and from all over the world. The client we worked for had already started to form a backup team from another company, as a reserve, given the events in ours.

The people from my team were definitely crushed, and from the first days, I realized that they didn't know the project they were working on at all (some of them for more than 2 years now) or the whole product, part of which was our project. I will not comment on exactly whose mistakes it was and how it got here. When I started I had the attitude - now in 1-2 weeks I will study the code, and then I start developing the people, the project, etc. But on the 2nd day, I realized that this would not happen. The five people entrusted to me had worked piece by piece, fixed mostly bugs, and I couldn't count on anyone pushing the release that was waiting for us next week.


So I started collecting the pieces from the other technical teams for the whole system, relying on my experience just to understand what our "code" does. When I learned something, I said it out loud. In reality, during this project, I did not program at all, contrary to the notions of the team lead. 3 months later, my people took the initiative and implemented the new features themselves. I took care of the deliveries, I reflected the feedback from the QA team, I knew all the teams we were involved with. I extinguished conflicts, escalated problems to my boss, hired 2 new ones, offered 2 more of the old ones to look for another job.

They didn't close the team! We stayed, and not just that. My people became enterprising, we even had time to plan improvements in our work.


1 year later, when our contract expired with this client, I first went through the interviews for the next project that the outsourcing company we are working for had found us. All 5 of us moved to the new place. I am proud to have preserved and built a team of quality people. I kept the authority of the people and proved myself as a good manager, achieving results, even in critical situations. To this day, my team works together, they are developing successfully. I learned a lot of lessons about myself, unfortunately on the go, on a trial-and-error basis. Apparently, he did it.


How do you communicate with the team about a failed project task?


In any case, I discuss such topics personally or if it is a whole team - I try to make it a meeting with everyone. The most important thing, I think, is to hold this meeting as soon as possible, not to leave it in time. First I would discuss the situation with my manager and tell the case from all aspects. I would also like to share my opinion that I will talk to the team that is affected. At the meeting with the team, I would tell you what happened. If, say, the fault was not in the team, I would assure them that they did everything with quality and professionalism. I must not lose their motivation and loyalty. Nor should I discredit the "culprit" of the incident. If we assume that this was another external team with which we are connected in the project, I would clearly explain the situation with them and I will say that either the delivery is delayed (for example) or we will not develop it anymore. But the knowledge gained so far remains in the team and we will use it in any way.

And third, if the reason is really in the connected team - I will schedule a meeting with their manager. I would explain to him what the loss is if we fail to secure delivery, even with a delay. We will compromise all stakeholders. And what can we do to turn the current loss into a benefit in the near future?


How do you manage outsourced teams involved in your project?


I admit that this would really be a big challenge for me. Simply because personal contact with people cannot be replaced by any video connection. The conversations between the people leave a reflection even after the end of the meeting, and I will not be able to see/feel it. This is the great difficulty. But all personal or team meetings will be held. Some I will initiate without official warning. I will take care of all web resources for sharing work, software tools that are needed to be accessible to all and with the necessary rights for normal work by everyone on the project. I will require those responsible to update the shabby documents they care about. It is a challenge, but having the necessary project tools, without missing a single nuance of talking to people, I will manage.


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