The Glamourous Life of a Project Manager

Posted 28 July 2017 12:00 AM by Daniela Tarlton-Rees, Office and Internal Communications Assistant @ ClearPeople

It’s 28th July and it has been a busier week than usual. Carys Williams Hind, Head of PMO (that’s Project Management Office to you and I!), has not only been taking care of her regular tasks, but has also been overseeing those of a team member who has been out sick for the past few days. She looks to be cool, calm and collected as well as completely in control. It is as if the extra workload isn’t fazing her at all.
Media LibraryLeading the project management team requires not only focusing on your own projects but also paying attention to what everyone else is working on too. It’s a fundamental role in ClearPeople as the project management team are integral in making sure our delivery teams are kept busy and our clients are kept happy. Everyone needs to work closely together in this case, specifically with the sales, delivery and support teams to deliver a quality product. While Carys does not directly deal with clients as much as she used to, she is still very much involved and is always there if any one of her fellow teammates need her. “I am the escalation point,” explains Carys, illustrating how she is happy to help should an issue arise or someone needs some extra support.Carys has a lot of experience in project management and is more than happy to share her areas of expertise.

One can imagine already that because she has various tasks to complete throughout a regular working day, Carys needs to be able to structure everything accordingly. A firm believer in post-it notes and lists, Mrs. Williams Hind would be lost without these little life savers. The first thing she does in the morning upon arriving at her desk is to make a to-do list of everything she needs to accomplish during the day. Because she prefers working in an agile fashion, Carys tries her best to prioritise her tasks as if she was completing an agile project. When people wonder why she writes everything down by hand instead of keeping notes and lists online, her answer is simply that she can remember everything better by doing it this way. “There is something satisfying about ticking things off as you go along too,” she adds as an afterthought, to which I completely agree.

A big advantage of working for ClearPeople is our flexible working policy which allows members of staff to work from home two days a week. This gives those individuals who live further away and require more travel time an opportunity to save some hours in their day. Having this option is something that Carys relies on as it takes her an hour and fifty minutes to get to work and again back home. She claims that this extra time is invaluable to her and that she can really get some work done while she is at home as there are no distractions.

Staying motivated is not something Carys worries about considering she is doing something she enjoys. She usually breaks everything down in bits and pieces because otherwise, looking at a project that is much bigger, can be daunting. This helps her regulate the more demanding times too, though she does also deal with stress in different ways depending on the situation. Regular exercise and frequent breathers in between those more difficult moments help clear her head. She shares this method with her team members telling them to take some time if needed to get some fresh air or walk around the block as working under high pressure will not result in achieving the desired outcome. That is why it helps knowing about deadlines. When Carys is aware that a project needs to be completed by a certain day, she can figure out how much time she’ll need to get it finished, meanwhile arranging what should be attended to first.

Media Library When asked what her biggest accomplishment has been since joining ClearPeople, Carys does not pause to think. Introducing agile. Working towards a sprint based format and prioritising the delivery of working with this methodology has been such a success not only personally, but for her fellow colleagues too. “When I first came here and was going on about agile, everyone kind of looked at me like to say, “I don’t think so!” It took others a while to catch on, but the process has now adopted and is used almost all the time.” Because of this positive change, client and staff satisfaction has increased, as well as increased value delivered to clients due to the nature of prioritising key requirements.

We are now coming to the end of our interview. Getting a sneak peek into Carys’ role has not only enlightening but also a pleasure as she does not hold back and tells me things straight. Just as we are about to part, I can’t help but ask her one more question: what is your go to brain food? Personally, I find that snacking during the day helps me focus and was curious to hear what her thoughts were on the matter. While she tries to stay away from the sweets and biscuits, she is a sucker for nuts and savoury snacks. Sometimes she has trouble preventing herself from eating an entire packet of Bombay mix. I can’t say I blame her!

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