More than that, she gets project management and she loves project management – she understands why project management is important. We asked her a bit more about her role, her background and her impressions of her profession.
Hi Julie! Can you describe your current role at Joseph & Associates? What do you do? And what sorts of projects do you get involved in?
I’m a Senior Project Manager at Joseph & Associates. My core role is to manage projects; essentially, I’m responsible for ensuring client needs are met. I’m accountable for delivery.
As a senior manager, I also have responsibilities around business development, leadership in several areas such as Health & Safety, development and enhancement of internal processes and as support person where required.
What do you think are the criteria for a good project manager?
Someone that can communicate well- talking but also listening!
It’s important to work collaboratively with your customers, your team and stakeholders and to really listen to what they are saying. Delivering a successful project relies on seeking and capturing those key nuggets of information.
Additionally, though a good project manager is someone who can apply proven project management methodology and processes that can be applied over and over again, you need to be efficient, effective and flexible, computer literate, and understand process, you need to be pragmatic, and can apply common sense and logic and you must be organized.
Some days can be smooth sailing and other days you must fly by the seat of your pants; so, adaptability and flexibility never go amiss.
What do you like about being a project manager?
I love that I can enter any environment, apply my PM skills and knowledge, yet still get the opportunity to learn a new industry or product or service.
Why do projects need Project Managers?
We’ve got our fingers on the pulse of the job. We manage time, scope, cost, planning, scheduling, reporting, risk, issues, communications etc.…we are the glue that brings all the pieces together.
In the background we’re predicting, managing and working to mitigate potential risks to a project. We become a crucial point of contact for all key stakeholders; a single point of accountability. However, let’s not forget it takes a team of experts to get the project from inception to close out; not just one person!
It sounds like a full-on job? How do you cope with the pressures?
Experience. And work-life balance!
One of my previous roles was at Housing New Zealand, where I was involved in assisting with the overall safety of tenants and understanding of the state of the housing stock following the immediate aftermath of the February 2011 Earthquakes in Christchurch. So much of what we were doing was reactive but I felt the satisfaction that came from supporting the tenancy and assets teams, along with the knowledge that we had a team of amazing people ensuring that the number one priority – people – were being taken care of.
It is experiences like that that help you cope with the pressures: knowing that through effective project management you’ll will help someone else move forward.
How do you manage work-life balance?
Project management provides skills that can be applied to almost any aspect of life. I truly believe in work life balance, and it took a harsh life lesson to learn that “we can’t always choose the music life plays for us, but we can choose how we dance to it’. As a single parent, I’ve needed to deploy these skills regularly.
I’m proud that I’ve been able to demonstrate over my career that you can apply flexible working hours to a high-pressure role such as project management and achieve work-life balance. As a mother, this was important to me. I hope others benefit from it.
Now something a little lighter to finish…tell us some secrets? What don’t we know about you?
Well, when I was young I thought I would be a nurse or a police officer – I wanted to be the first woman police dog handler! If that mantel is still available, maybe I still will.
I also spent about two years in the New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserves during which I was awarded the Best New Recruit for my intake and received the annual cup for Best Marksman with a 50 calibre gun!
Wow, attention to detail in everything!
Julie, thank you for your time. To find out more about Julie and the team at Joseph and Associates, go to www.josephs.co.nz