Hi, I’m Cheryl and I am a Consultant Programme Manager and Programme Team lead, based in the UK. I joined the company back in 2010 when it was known as eCommera, but later transitioned to Isobar in 2016. My primary responsibility is to ensure the successful delivery of the varied creative and technology led projects in the UK.
My programme team works with a variety of our global clients and a broad range of technology. Our team specialises in ecommerce transformations, helping brands overcome their business challenges.
A (very) long time ago, I decided I wanted to work in London like my Grandad 😊. I started my working career in an International Japanese Bank in the finance department. Leveraging systems (back then, excel, and cmd based executables!) to make my day-to-day work simpler was very interesting to me, so I moved into the IT department as a support analyst and it was here that I gained my tech stripes.
After a while I decided to move into the Retail space; shopping is my first love. I started out with Debenhams and later Sainsbury’s. This was a great foundation to really understand how retail businesses are structured and operated, this assisted heavily with my expertise in digital. My next move was to eCommera (now known as Isobar).
During the last 11 years I have widened my experience across multiple global clients, and whilst I may be ‘on the other side’, my experience of ‘being the client’ really helps me understand our clients goals and how best to get them there.
I have been fortunate to work on both smaller technical delivery projects, global rollouts, right the way through to large scale digital and organisational transformation programmes. The most recent of these has been with Signify and adidas.
My day generally starts about 8.30 (nearer 9 if I am commuting) after the nursery run. I start off by checking emails and my diary for the day. A good proportion of my working day is spent in calls with our clients, checking the progress of deliverables and teasing out any issues that could be brewing. I assess outcomes for all the possible scenarios, so that we can be proactive in preventing issues before they arise.
Outside of meetings I will be finding the right people (if not myself) who can resolve issues and unblock the teams for achieving our projects. As a team lead, I will also support other programme managers with any opportunities or challenges they are facing in their projects.
I co-ordinate multiple teams, often cross-agency, creating schedules and accurate reporting to ensure industry best practice. Part of delivery management is being able to consult, advise, lead and drive imitative through to success.
You need to be organised, a good communicator and have the ability to build relationships quickly. A lot of our projects involve the collaboration of teams to produce the best and most rapid results, an example of this would be the roll-out of 30 new markets on Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
I’d say you also need to be comfortable with decision making, and to not be afraid to change and adapt. Projects rarely run 100% to the original plan, but that is part of the learning and evolvement over time. Change is good - without it there wouldn’t be innovation.
You also need to be pro-active to chase down that missing requirement, or work through an issue with a team to find the resolution. You won’t always need to have the answer but being able to facilitate the right discussion and draw conclusions will drive projects forward.
I really enjoy working with both client and delivery teams to build new capabilities that reward everyone.
In the digital commerce space, technology is fast moving, so there is always something new to learn, and new experience to deliver to the consumer.
Relationships are key, be open and friendly and ‘do what you say you will do’. Gaining trust and respect with teams, clients and managers will make your day-to-day work much easier (and happier).
On a more practical level, if you would like to get into transformation or programme management, training in delivery methodologies and project management best practices will go a long way.
Gaining some hands-on experience with the teams that receive your project outcomes also helps. For example, if your project is delivering a new way to deliver content to a website, work with the person who does this job, understand how they do the job, where it can be improved, this will help direct the new project towards value for the end user.