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Career Story: Director Of Software Project Management At A Financial Services Company

Director Of Software Project Management At A Financial Services Company

Job Title: Director, Project Management

Type of Company: I work for a financial services company

Education: BA in Economics, Minor in Spanish, Denison University

Previous Experience: I have been with my current company for 16+ years. I have been in customer service, operations management, but most of the time has been in project management.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for managing technology projects (requests to create or modify computer software). As a project manager, I facilitate decision making, verify the tasks/work is getting done, report progress to the stakeholders, and ensure everyone has what they need to get their part of the project done.

In a typical day, I attend or facilitate meetings to discuss the progress of the project or to make decisions about project objectives. I will also create and/or update documents used to capture the requirements and decisions made about how the software will function.

It is my job to keep all of the people involved in the project on track with the project milestones and on budget. A project can involve from one to thurty or more people.

Being a good communicator via email, phone, documentation, and in person is key. It is also important for me to understand how people want their communication - short and to the point or long with lots of details.

Negotiation skills are important - being able to bring a group of people with different desires, timelines, and personalities together and work with them to come to a decision is a lot of work, but rewarding at the same time.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best part: I learn new things everyday - about computer software, my self, the people I work with and the industry I am in. It is also rewarding to beable to manage a group of people and lots of details to obtain the end goal of software development.

Worst part: Not following the project management process. We have a standard approach to manage projects, this approach is there to ensure we have worked through all of the details and that all participants agree with the direction we are taking; when this process is not followed due to perceived lack of time or budget, there can be flaws in the final product. These flaws require rework, making the project more expensive than originally intended.

Job Tips:
1. Manage as many projects as you can. Organizing a food drive, dinner with friends, parties, these are all projects, they have specific tasks with deadlines.

2. Learn about the different project management methodologies - Agile, Lean, Waterfall and organizations that support project management, like the Project Management Institute

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