Spotlight on Becky

Dubbed the “bringer of order where there is chaos”, Becky is an excellent technical Project and Programme Manager.  We asked Becky some questions about her work and her life and here is what she had to say…

Describe what you do at CI Projects and what it entails?

 I am a Senior Project and Programme Manager at CI Projects. 

The work I do can be quite varied, I provide consultancy to companies on managing their internal programmes, such as helping to set up a PMO, and I also deliver projects. I like to be hands-on! CI Projects is a small company, and there are many tasks we share across the team to help grow the business. I am currently carrying out some Public Relations work, and in the past, I managed the website. I also deliver Project Management training, which I really enjoy doing.

Tell us how your education and career path led you here.

That’s an interesting question because, on the face of it, my education and career path didn’t lead me here. I have a Theatre Arts & Drama degree, and before working in Project Management, I worked in social care, working with adults with learning disabilities. Then I worked in the travel guide publishing industry for a few years before moving to local government, which is where I started my career in project management. One of the ways my early drama training has been useful now is the heavy focus on collaboration. We would devise stage productions from scratch, in groups: writing, rehearsing, acting, behind the scenes, costumes, directing etc. – all pulling together and taking on roles that played to our strengths. The techniques I learned then have been helpful when it comes to building a good, strong project team quickly and efficiently. And I love public speaking! Not many people say that.

Is there one project that you are most proud of having worked on?

This is going to sound trite, but I’m proud of all my projects. I haven’t had a project fail to meet its core objectives, and I like to think any project team I’ve worked with has also been proud of the work we achieved. Each project has its own challenges and its own triumphs, there isn’t one that stands out, they’re all special to me!

What is one common project management pitfall that businesses find themselves in? 

Thinking it’s something anyone can do without experience or training. So many times, I have seen projects flounder or outright fail because someone was expected to manage the project in addition to their day jobs without ever understanding what it means to manage a project. I think, in part, this is down to what I see as the catch-22 of project management: if you’re doing your job really well, project management can appear effortless, and a well-run project will appear to be an “easy” project, even though you’ve worked really hard to make it so. If you’re the kind of person who has a huge ego and wants to be in the spotlight all the time, making sure everyone knows you are the star, you’re probably not ideal project management material. There’s nothing wrong with being “the face” of the project, but most of the important work takes place behind the scenes. So, I guess it’s tempting for a company to think, the next time a project comes around, it’ll more or less just run itself. It never does!

Where is your favourite place to be?

My garden. I loved having a garden before the pandemic, having spent most of my adult life living in flats in London without a garden, but this past year it has been a life saver, physically and mentally, and I am grateful to have it. I like to lie in my hammock listening to the bees and watching the bats circling overhead as the sun sets.

 

If you could have dinner and a chat with someone dead or alive, who would that be?

Well, this question takes on a different tone after a year of living through the pandemic! If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have said Mary Wollstonecraft. She’s remembered now for being an early feminist and writer, and also the mother of Mary Shelley, who famously wrote Frankenstein. Sadly, she died in childbirth so never knew her daughter, and her life was far from trouble-free. But she was groundbreaking, both in her philosophical ideas and in her ability to get them heard, and I bet she’d be a fascinating dinner companion. But to be honest, right now, I’d happily settle for having dinner with my parents where they live in Spain.