Life as a Project Manager at KOMODO
In this special lockdown edition of our day-in-the-life series, we speak to Project Manager, Jason Christie. He’s been with KOMODO for around three years and shares his experience of working here as a Project Manager, as well as some insight into how his role has been shifted due to remote working/COVID-19.
First up, tell us a little bit about why you joined KOMODO:
I'm not quite sure what originally attracted me to Komodo, I'd followed their profiles on social media for a long while before my role was ever advertised. I've worked in the tech industry in the North East for years and the agency always stood out as being one of the good ones - they always came across very genuine and honest and had an air of being very down to earth.
When I found out they were looking to recruit a Project Manager, I never considered whether I should apply or not, I'd almost subconsciously planned to end up here.
Now that I'm here, I can't really imagine being anywhere else. I've worked in a few places where I've made some lifelong friends, but the job part was always "just a job", I think the main difference at KOMODO is I genuinely feel valued.
As well as working with an amazing and talented team, I understand my place in it, the importance of my role and the impact I can have. It's empowering to know that you as an individual, as well as your specific job role, are important.
In a nutshell, what does your role entail?
My role as Project Manager has evolved quite a bit over the last few years (even more so in the last few months of lockdown!), in line with how KOMODO has changed and adapted over time.
Ultimately I'm responsible for what we consider our day-to-day activities, which covers project deliverables and our general operations. Although, throughout the lockdown period, these day-to-day activities tend to change regularly, depending on the priorities of our clients, as you can imagine.
As a digital agency, we're geared up to be adaptable, we approach every project and every product as a unique challenge. We do have our own standard operating procedures but we often find, especially with large companies, that our clients have their own ways of working, their own tools and processes and that's fine by us, it's often an opportunity to adapt and become an extension of their team and evolve our own processes.
There are a number of consistent areas across projects I'm accountable for as part of my role; adherence to the agreed process or framework (we tend to use a sprint-based agile approach, although there are a few exceptions to that depending on what process the client uses), project deliverables/outputs, budgets, and timelines. Distilled down, it's about minimising and mitigating risk by collaboration and communication.
Lockdown has definitely made me more conscious of how effective communication and collaboration are critical to my role both internally and with clients. We've always had the ability to work remotely, so working from home for extended periods wasn't too much of a stretch for us, but for me, it did highlight the value of face-to-face communication.
The intentional comms, such as project meetings, updates, emails, Slack channels, etc have all remained relatively unchanged, however, the unintentional or passive communication facilitated by being in the same office and chatting to a group or random conversations with the team definitely reduced at first.
Implementing company-wide daily stand-up meetings and making an effort to regularly call everyone has definitely helped.
Similarly, with clients, where their communication with the team has become even more regular, we've actively been involved with key decisions and setting the priorities on projects, and as a result, we've seen a significant uplift in productivity.
What do you love most about working at KOMODO?
It's the cheesy answer but my favourite thing about working at KOMODO is the culture and the team and how they influence each other.
Working with a talented team drives you to do better, whilst working in an open and honest culture gives you the freedom to explore your own ideas and take on more responsibility. Also, when we used to work in the office, it wasn't far from a pretty good pub with some decent craft beer.
It’s an open-minded kind of organisation and feedback is always taken on board. There are a few things I've wanted to change over the years and whenever I've suggested something with a compelling rationale or simply a better way of doing things, they've always been tried, tested, and adopted.
What 1 piece of advice would you give someone who was thinking of applying for a job at KOMODO?
Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. If you're applying for a role at Komodo and you're invited to the face-to-face interviews, just be yourself.
At this stage, we're looking to get to know you and how you'd approach problems - there isn’t always a 'perfect' answer.
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