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Career Story: System Project Manager For An International Retailer

System Project Manager For An International Retailer

Job Title: System Project Manager

Type of Company: I work in the home office of a large international retailer.

Education: BA, Speech & Theatre, UMass-Amherst

Previous Experience: I started as a computer programmer trainee at a large insurance company and advanced to that and a few other jobs before taking my present position.

Job Tasks: I manage computer systems that process information and produce reports for the Finance division of the company. These reports show sales and inventory volumes in the many stores and distribution centers owned by the company. Some show our position at a point of time, or track trends over months or years. This is an international corporation with several different "brands". I manage projects to create new reports or modify existing ones. I have several senior programmer / analysts and business analysts reporting to me.

I meet with the business users to discuss their information needs; review functional requirements and technical design documents. My team has weekly meetings to discuss the overall status of projects: whether they are on schedule, and if there are any issues that need to be resolved or referred to higher echelons of management. I also meet with other technical managers to discuss new technology, new rules and regulations, and other issues about the business in general.

I give both positive and negative feedback to my team, both in formal performance reviews and in informal conversations. I also answer questions and give advice on technical, business, and personal matters. In turn, I report to a senior manager about the status of various projects, and receive guidance from him, from other members of management, and from our Human Resources department.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Pros: There is satisfaction in delivering a quality product to the users, in solving challenging problems. and in helping people to grow and advance in their careers; I work for a company that cares about its associates, as well as its customers and vendors; and the pay and benefits are decent.

Cons: There are a lot of rules, policies, and documentation required which prevent us from actually accomplishing more; I sometimes have more work than I can handle and have to work overtime.

Job Tips: Try to understand basic concepts of logic and order; they are transferable to other languages and other tasks.

When starting out (and later), do some extra work that will distinguish you from others.

Learn about the business as a whole, not just your job. It will help you to advance.

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