Part 2: A Career in Project Management

In Best Practices, Project Management by Sherri NeedhamLeave a Comment

As an experienced delivery partner of Salesforce, MondayCall has created a refined project methodology that enables us and our clients to manage projects of all sizes and complexity. This is the second part of our short series on MondayCall Project Management and, we hope, provides insights into our project management leadership.

Sherri Needham, Director and leader of our Project Management Office (PMO), is a seasoned technology leader with extensive expertise in Salesforce and Project Management. Sherri brings 18 years of delivery and leadership experience across multiple functional business areas, including investment management, sales, service, and marketing. Sherri holds a number of Salesforce certifications for Sales, Service, and Administration, as well as a ScrumMaster (CSM).

Why did you choose to become a Project Manager, and what do you like most about being a PM?
Sherri: I’ve been on both sides of the project management relationship; I started as a Business Analyst running discovery and responsible for the configuration before transitioning to project management. When I first considered becoming a Project Manager, it was sort of a tactical curiosity – I wanted to see if I could manage the broader scope of the engagement and help build the relationship with the client(s). The best thing about both roles is experiencing the project diversity – the types of projects, the project teams and the exposure to a vast array of industry verticals.

What is the primary role of project management in MondayCall projects?
Sherri: Generally, we employ a set of standard practices, which the PMs on my team do an amazing job at ensuring that those basics are covered (budget, timeline and scope management). While those are critical factors, our ultimate goal is to establish and build a partnership with our clients — a partnership built on trust. Earning trust is key in helping everything else fall in place. Building trust starts with clear communication and making sure they know what we’re doing every step of the way, they know what we need them to do, and they know why we’re asking for time commitments. It’s critical that everyone involved in the project is able to have honest conversations.That’s the main job of a PM – making sure the client understands that we’re here to partner with them, and that we’re here to help them achieve success.

What experience and skills do successful project managers commonly have?
Sherri: On the MondayCall side, a PM needs to understand what both teams’ skill sets are, and constantly align them to support project expectations. Our project managers have a portfolio of “soft” skills that bring out the best in their teams – whether it’s the project or the client team. They need to be able to handle diverse situations that can sometimes get uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s highlighting emerging risks with the customer or having conversations to bring project expectations back within scope. There’s an entire process we’ve developed to identify risks – it’s not something that comes naturally. Our PMs need to have that keen eye to be able to identify risks and issues early on and be able to help develop mitigation plans. This can sometimes boil down to relying on the team, as your fellow team members may be the first to recognize these risks.

Any recommendations on becoming a project Manager?
Sherri: Stay open to learning. No matter what your skill level is, there’s always new techniques or technical skills to learn. If you’re managing specific projects like Salesforce, the more Salesforce skills you can learn or get certified in, the better you can lend yourself to projects – and the easier it’s going to be to identify scope issues or risks in the engagement. Collaborating and learning from each other to compound one’s own experiential skill set is also crucial – don’t be afraid to ask for help or perspective from your team, that’s what they’re there to help with.

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