If you’ve been reading along with us this month, you’ll know that we’ve been celebrating our 30th birthday and, as such, have also been exploring what our customers who are also in their 30s are doing in their roles.
First up is Kyle Edmund Hayes.
Hi Kyle – would you like to introduce yourself and tell us about the role you work in?
My name is Kyle and I work for a company called Infor; I’m based in Chichester. Infor is a global software and services company. We focus on providing beautifully designed solutions within industry micro-verticals.
I work in Global Enablement as a worldwide Programme Manager and, as part of my role, I focus on:
• Partner Enablement – delivering and co-ordinating training to partners, both publicly and privately.
• Education Alliance Programme – providing member institutions with access to free innovative technologies, hands-on industry learning initiatives, and train-the-trainer programming that can translate into marketable skills and experiences for students.
Why did you decide to become a project manager/work in project management? How did you get into it?
I’ve now been working in project and programme management for about 10 years, but I started life off as a technical specialist in Microsoft Windows and Unix. I found that I enjoyed doing different things on a daily basis in this role; so, project management was appealing to me because the nature of the role meant that, for set periods of time, you would go in and make a change happen, and then once everyone was happy and the project had closed you’d move on. It’s a great industry to be in because you get to meet loads of great people and, because every project is different, you get to focus on lots of different specific areas.
What sorts of projects do you manage?
Overall, they’re technology change projects where we’re implementing a new system, migrating a customer over or performing a transformation. When I started, it was all about software development and managing things using an agile methodology, but over time that’s evolved, and I’ve moved into helping customers get through digital transformations whilst migrating from one platform to another. One of the largest projects I worked on was focused on education in the UK, where we were moving customers from a platform called Live@Edu to Office 365, country-wide, so that was pretty huge!
The life of a project manager isn’t straightforward – each company, each project etc. can vary massively. You can go from doing widescale country programmes, where you’re going out and introducing new platforms, processes and systems; to working in smaller environments, where you’re upgrading a company’s systems from one office to another. Things can change rapidly but, because of the skills you learn, you can easily adapt and implement the things you need to, successfully.
So, you’ve done PRINCE2® with us – how and why did you choose to do this qualification? And how does this framework help you in your daily work life?
I did PRINCE2 Foundation with ILX in 2014, followed by the PRINCE2 2017 version of the Practitioner qualification earlier this year, both as e-learning. In the UK, regardless of which job you go for in the project management industry, most companies will ask for you to be PRINCE2-qualified, so that’s mainly why I did it! There are other reasons of course – because it has such a great framework, you can tailor it how you like, and as I work within so many different industries and sectors, I found this aspect really appealing, too.
How you use the qualification depends on the size of the project – I’ve done projects large and small, and the scope and the nature of each project definitely affect things. PRINCE2 helps me to keep the structure around the projects – there’s a certain level of quality assurance that comes with it because we’re making sure that everything being delivered meets the project brief and business case, and we’re always coming back to the question, ‘are we meeting the objectives and delivering value?’. This is particularly useful when you’re dealing with stakeholders, because you often find that people go, ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…?’ or ‘could we include this…’, but PRINCE2 drives you to say, ‘no, this is what we agreed’ etc. and it keeps things on track. If you don’t do this then projects can go over budget, out of scope and become delayed.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
I wasn’t working as a project manager at the time, I was a technical specialist, but I got to work on the Wimbledon tennis tournament a few years back. It was exciting because for six weeks of the year, you live, work and eat together in this big team and you’ve got this global target that you’re all working towards together. It didn’t matter who you were or what you were doing, everybody knew that things had to go in certain ways and follow certain processes, because everything had to be ready for the start of the tournament – the world was waiting for you. For me, it was just fascinating to see the synergy between the internal teams.
What do you enjoy the most about your role?
For me, it’s the sheer variety and people I get to work with. When I was on placements as a student, I’d move very quickly from one job to the next, which I enjoyed, and project management replicates that in my opinion. The people you meet, the experiences you go through, the different requirements etc. can vary so much, and this definitely keeps you interested in the industry.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Making sure you regularly communicate progress can be tricky, because you don’t always have all the right people involved from the start, especially in large projects where you have multiple moving stakeholders. On top of that, budgets can also be challenging, especially with a multi-year programme where you have to go through a fiscal budget review. You may well suddenly find that the budget you thought you had will be cut in half, which can prove very difficult.
Looking to the future, where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are your career ambitions?
My long-term focus will be to stay within the education sector because I’m very passionate about it. But I’m also keen to explore the start-up culture by creating and running a business too. I’ve been working in project management for 10 years now so, going forward, I’d like to start to transition out of this area and into an operations-based capacity. But, because this is quite a change, I will be doing an Executive MBA, which is a post-graduate course designed to strengthen an individual’s business acumen.
You can find Kyle on LinkedIn here.