By Fabien May 30, 2022
In collaboration with Joanna and Benoit

The Agile PB&J Sandwich: Uzinakod’s Project Office and Software Development Directors

When we think of peanut butter, we think of jelly. Isn’t that strange? They’re made of totally different ingredients, and they’re both great on their own.

But when they team up, magic happens. Sweet meets salty, textures merge, and we are treated to a sublime snack.

The table is set for a delicious analogy with two key management roles at Uzinakod: the Project Office Director and the Software Development Director.

Despite stark differences in their fields of expertise, the two share many things in common, particularly in the management and support of employees.

To understand a little better what makes them different, we spoke with Joanna Couturier, Project Office Director, and Benoit Provost, Software Development Director at Uzinakod, who agreed to tell us about their roles.

What are their main missions?

The Project Office Director is responsible for managing all activities within the framework of divergent projects. From negotiation to contract signature, they are also responsible for coordinating commercial proposals with their team and the various parties involved.

As a manager, they will supervise the Project Managers, Business Analysts and Quality Experts.

The Software Development Director coordinates the projects on the more technical side. They have to manage Developers, Architects and Team Leaders in development projects. Their role gives them responsibility for time constraints, resource allocation, team movement, technology choices, mentoring and more.

But the Project Office and the Software Development Managers’ tasks are numerous and varied. There is no such thing as a typical day, because no two days are ever the same. They can be broken down into four basic task types:

1. Strategic

This aspect is particularly focused on the future of the company and its organization. From a software development point of view, it’s a question of looking at the various technological stakes and the new development practices.

For the Project Office department, this applies more to project follow-up by watching and an analyzing sales, as well as offers and the needs of the customers, in order to have a vision of the future.

2. Crisis Management

It is not uncommon to encounter problems during a project, especially if it’s long-term. Some resources may end up taxed beyond their emotional or even technical capacities. As a manager, you must intervene and regain control of the situation. It is important that the team members are well-equipped to work in good conditions.

Sometimes events also come from the customer side. It then becomes necessary to adapt, and to manage these unforeseen circumstances by finding an adequate and favorable solution for all parties involved.

The objective is to create an environment conducive to success, both for the project team and for the client.

3. Operational

Although operational intervention is becoming less common, the director is sometimes required to be involved in the field. They should not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and help their team members. This can be easy to do when you already have extensive in-field experience like Benoit and Joanna.

This practical knowledge gives managers a better understanding of and capacity to deal with problems that arise. Moreover, it allows you as a manager to establish a certain rapport with your collaborators.

4. Human

The human relationship is very important. Indeed, it is one of Uzinakod’s fundamental values. As manager, motivating the team is essential to ensuring their performance. There is a need for team members to work in pleasant conditions and to feel good. This is what the one-on-ones are for.

The goal here is to create a real and permanent link with each employee, which is not limited only to the project follow-up. You need to get to know them, understand how to motivate them and to discover how their potential serves as a differentiator and will become a real strength for the team.

Benoit Provost, Software Development Director

What qualities do you need for these roles?

Know How to Listen

A good manager must know how to listen, because they must understand the needs and aspirations of their collaborators. One must be open to exchanges, and also to keeping a good balance between positive and negative feedback. Knowing how to listen means taking into consideration the opinions of others, because the exchange between director and employees often leads to finding the right solutions.

Beyond the realization of the project, it is also about paying attention to employee motivation, so that they feel involved in their work and in the life of the company.

Be a Trusted Partner

A close relationship is necessary, in particular for creating a relationship of trust between the management and the members of their team. In principle, this should help foster a sense of belonging among employees and make them adhere to the company’s values.

This close relationship with team members is an ongoing process that must be maintained and made solid. Trusting the integrity and skills of each employee makes them even more productive.

Be Humble and Adaptable

Humility is an important quality to ensure team commitment. Being humble means admitting that as a manager, you may have made mistakes. It also means showing respect for your team members, including occasionally helping out in the field. Above all, humility means listening to the ideas and opinions of your employees that enhance teamwork and performance.

Other challenges can arise from the personalities that make up your team. Indeed, it is necessary to know how to adapt to each profile. Sometimes more experienced resources are managed by younger staff. This is why we see different management styles.

Being a Visionary

What next? You have to look at the future by asking the right questions in order to anticipate upcoming changes. Study and analysis are therefore crucial for identifying new customer demands.

Being a visionary also means seeing far ahead mapping out the surest roads that will lead the team to success.

Joanna Couturier, Project Office Director

What about collaboration between teams?

Regardless of industry, different departments must have a good understanding with each others’ teams. It can happen that members of the Project Office team come to the Software Development Director for help, or vice versa.

The two directors also communicate with each other. They are above all colleagues, even with a director’s title. This allows for the existence of a nice dynamic within the whole company thanks to free-flowing communication between departments. This is at the heart of Uzinakod’s culture and keeps it thriving.

Conclusion

In these management positions, team leadership is fundamental to the success of a project. This can be summed up with these key words:

“Listen, advise, coach, and support employees.”

A role that is not always easy, as it requires a lot of responsibility, and various skills as a good manager.

On the other hand, it requires paying attention to the company’s evolution through the needs of customers, service offers in development, and continual improvements to organization and structure.

Learning more about our Project Office and Software Development Directors has you motivated you to join their teams? Apply any time! Visit our Careers page to see what positions are available. 😊

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