A CHAT WITH PROJECT MANAGEMENT
By HOLLIE O'BRIEN
It is always good news when there is a promotion in the agency, and this month we have had two in the same department! Both of these were very well deserved, as we all congratulated Chantal Knox on her promotion to Head of Project Management and Tom Hope on his promotion to Head of BAU.
Chantal and Tom have proven themselves to be hard working and dedicated, going above and beyond within every aspect of their roles, establishing themselves as central members of the twentysix team. We decided to sit down with the two of them to hear in their own words how they came to be where they are today and any advice they might have for anyone looking to move into project management…
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CAREER JOURNEY…
T: “My first steps into project management were in a project support role helping deliver implementations of telematics products for commercial fleets. It helped give me a really good grounding about the process for delivering all kinds of projects, data analysis, documentation etc and I was lucky enough to learn from some great PM’s!”
C: “I started my agency career in client services as an account exec, I was promoted to an Account Manager but always loved the planning side of things. I had a great line manager that spotted where my strengths were before I did and offered me the chance to try out in Project Management. I loved it and never looked back. I learned from some excellent PM’s and you realise you are as good as the team you have around you.”
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO TWENTYSIX?
T: “I was recommended twentysix as a great place to work by other people I previously worked with that are now also here. They spoke very enthusiastically about the people, and the company – so accepting the job was an easy decision.”
C: “What attracted me to twentysix – Gail (our CEO). She totally sold the place. I had an interview with her as I didn’t believe I was technical enough. She said to me, “I need a project manager and everyone I have spoken to has said you can do that. The technical side of things you can learn, but I need a Project manager and that’s you”. After that I accepted, to this day I still am very grateful for the faith that was shown in me, when I didn’t fully have it myself.”
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
T: “It’s a cliché, but no two days are the same. Anyone that has worked for an agency before knows it’s fast paced, and that is the case at twentysix. Everyday working in the delivery and support team involves solving different challenges for our customers to help their websites evolve. There’s a great team with lots of different specialist skills here to help us achieve that. It’s also a great office to work in, especially since we had a refurbishment at Christmas!”
C: “It’s fast paced, everyday has its different focus on helping to ensure our client digital aspirations come to life and are realised. In digital there is no typical day as everything changes so rapidly and we have to respond and react as appropriate.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR NEW ROLE?
T: “I’d say the best thing about being a project manager, or roles such as delivering support to customers is that you get to interact with all the different teams within the company. It means you get to work with other departments to help the company evolve on the services and products we provide and implement for our customers.”
C: “For me the excitement is shaping the team and the approaches we are going to take going forward. I have been here for nearly 8 years, it very much feels l like we are heading into one of the next exciting chapters for twentysix. The delivery team we have are great and with need for an ever more collaborative approach, the project management team are more important than ever in aiding and facilitating that to ensure we deliver the best for the client and twentysix.”
WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE LOOKING TO GET INTO PROJECT MANAGEMENT?
T: “My advice for anyone looking to get into project management would be try and get experience – experience is key! As I said, for me it was getting my foot in the door to a project support role. You can then see if it’s for you, and if it is then progress from there. PM specific qualifications are great, but you get more context about where the different methodologies etc fit in once you have experience to compare them to.”
C: “It’s not just about being organised, that’s a common mistake people believe. Definitely try and get experience before you jump into a role, the methodologies you can learn, but you have to have a working knowledge around what projects will aid the delivery via the methodology and whether the team and client are going to be able to deliver the project successfully using that.”
CHANTAL, YOU ARE CURRENTLY RECRUITING FOR PROJECT MANAGERS, WHAT TYPE OF TALENT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN THE TEAM?
C: “Focus, detail orientated, great communicator and people management skills are an absolute must. I need to trust the people I work with. I still deliver projects as I feel to enable me to develop and aid the development of others. I need to understand first-hand the challenges they face too.”
AFTER A RECENT WIN OF NEW AND EXCITING PROJECTS WE ARE CURRENTLY RECRUITING FOR A DIGITAL PROJECT MANAGER IN OUR LEEDS OFFICE, VISIT OUR CAREERS PAGE OR EMAIL OUR FRIENDLY TALENT ACQUISITION MANAGER, SAMI WRAGG: SAMANTHA.WRAGG@TWENTYSIXDIGITAL.COM.
AT TWENTYSIX WE BELIEVE IN NURTURING TALENT AND PROVIDING THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITIES TO SUPPORT YOU IN YOUR CAREER. TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHAT IT IS LIKE TO WORK FOR US SEARCH #LIFEATTWENTYSIX WHERE YOU WILL FIND TALES OF DOGS IN THE OFFICE, REFURBISHMENTS, YOGA AND SOCIAL EVENTS TO NAME A FEW.