Ask our Project Manager

Diogo Lopes
October 27, 2020

This week on our blog, Diogo Lopes, our Project Manager, is answering your questions. Here’s what he had to say.

What made you decide to pursue this career path?

I guess it was not really my choice but something that came up as a need in our company. I decided to study management because I had no idea which career to pursue. I was really lucky to join Advertio, and after that, it was a matter of doing what the company required in that specific timeframe. That’s why I moved from Content Strategy to Product Management and then to Project Management.

It was an amazing three-year journey where I learned from some really talented individuals and studied a lot, allowing me to perform my job in the best way I can.

How do you decide which tasks to get done first? Is it something you do by yourself or do you consult with someone?

I do get a lot of support from the rest of the team — from João (our CEO) and from the people that lead the tech team — to make sure I know the exact timings for things. I gather feedback from different people in the company to make sure we’re aligned with market needs and our internal strategy.

I believe that there is no right or wrong task to be done in a specific sprint. The main goal is to be flexible enough so we can adjust quickly to what is happening outside the company, to make sure we can fulfil market needs without losing our internal focus and roadmap.

What are some of the main personality traits a project manager should have?

Honestly, I believe that the hardest part, more than the roadmap, is dealing with people and expectations. It’s super hard to balance company needs against each individual while making sure everyone is aligned and has the same focus on making the company move forward.

I would say being calm (or at least trying to be), focused and organised. It’s really important always to write things down, make sure you do not forget tasks that need to get done and most of all, make sure everyone is on the same page, working towards the same goal.

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Photo by "My Life Through A Lens" on Unsplash

How do you monitor performance and success?

I monitor the tasks that were completed at the end of each sprint and try to understand, when they aren’t, what is delaying us and how we can mitigate those delays.

I believe we are successful if we can meet the needs of the people we are serving in a specific timeframe. That’s the main goal — to make sure we can fulfil the customer’s needs.

What are some life-saving tools/softwares for someone who does your job?

1 — A to-do list — This is the most important one, I couldn’t do it without one. I always list things before assessing if they are useful and then transform them into tasks or schedule a meeting to discuss the issue. It’s where I first write things down without any filter.

2 — A general view (calendar for example) — Before knowing the details of each task, it’s useful to have a rough estimate of the time it takes to get done and to know who is available to execute that task. This guarantees I can try and plan things properly . A calendar view also guarantees you’re always on top of the sprint roadmap.

What’s your day like as a project manager?

I end up doing much more than only project management, so I usually don’t have two similar days.

Some of my regular tasks are: Planning the next sprint; meetings with the tech team (when required) to make sure everyone is onboarded with the specifics of their tasks; verifying our customers’ new campaigns meetings with our CEO for updates on our progress; UX/UI meetings to check and discuss the updates on our UI; campaign meetings to make sure we are keeping an eye on the new campaigns and that they’re running smoothly; and external meetings with clients and partners to discuss roadmaps and timings for new features, for example.

What advice would you give someone who is starting their career now?

Never stop learning, read books every time you have the chance and listen to many different opinions, especially senior ones. You are not the first person in this situation. Listen to the others that went through the same process and try to avoid committing the same mistakes they did.

I believe that the more you read, the more you understand that you have a lot to learn. For me, the main focus should be personal development — you improve your team when you grow with them.

What was the hardest decision you had to make as a project manager? How did you handle it?

This’s a tough one. I believe that the most difficult part of the job isn’t the decisions, but living with the consequences of those decisions. For example: deciding you aren’t going to do something, disregard different opinions, and it proves to be the wrong decision. But I guess that’s life and a good project manager needs to be able to then turn things around and make up for it.

If you want a specific example, for me it’s really hard to make all the decisions when João is absent for some reason, but looking back on it, I think those are the times when I improve the most.

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