A great Project Manager is like the captain of a ship, steering the team toward success amidst the ever-changing tides of challenges and complexities.
As the central point of contact, a Project Manager serves as the liaison between stakeholders, clients, and the project team, ensuring clear communication, managing expectations, and delivering on project objectives.
Recently, we had the privilege of sitting down with Amela Fazlić, a highly skilled Project Manager at Walter Code, to gain insight into her journey, expertise, and approaches to project management.
So, let’s dive into this enlightening conversation with Amela.
1. Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I started my journey at Walter Code in October 2022 as a Project Manager. I have a master’s degree in communication technologies and 4 years of experience in web development and WordPress and over 4 years in project management. I’ve also worked previously worked as a Project Manager. My technical background helps me translate clients’ wishes into development tasks, and I’ve built strong relationships with colleagues and clients. I’m diligent, friendly, and feel very comfortable in the Walter Code community.
2. What motivated you to choose a career as a Project Manager?
I believe that the career of a Project Manager chose me rather than me consciously choosing it. Throughout my personal and professional life, I found myself naturally gravitating towards roles that involved organizing, coordinating, and leading teams to achieve successful outcomes.
This, and the circumstances I encountered along the way, led me to embrace a career as a Project Manager.
3. What aspects of working as a Project Manager do you find the most enjoyable?
As a Project Manager, one of the aspects I find most enjoyable is the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of individuals, who may start off as complete strangers but eventually become partners, clients, or colleagues.
Great aspect of being a Project Manager is the exposure to various projects across different industries. Each project brings its own set of challenges and requirements, allowing me to continually expand my knowledge and expertise.
Moreover, as a Project Manager, I take pride in being able to assist and support different roles within the project team. Witnessing the successful outcomes of a project, knowing that I played a part in enabling its success, fills me with a sense of accomplishment and pride.
4. How do you approach working with people who have different communication styles than your own?
Firstly and most importantly, I strive to be open-minded and empathetic, understanding that everyone has unique ways of expressing themselves. I make an effort to listen actively and observe the communication patterns and preferences of those around me. While adjusting to different communication styles, I maintain a sense of self-awareness and stay true to my principles, ensuring that I express myself honestly and authentically.
In addition to adapting and maintaining authenticity, I firmly believe in the power of a smile. A smile can bridge gaps, ease tensions, and create a positive atmosphere in any interaction.
5. What out-of-work activities do you find most enjoyable?
One of my greatest sources of enjoyment is making jokes and sharing a laugh with the people around me. I also believe that humor not only creates a positive work environment but also fosters stronger relationships and enhances teamwork.
Additionally, I find great pleasure in attending knowledge-sharing presentations powered by our own company as they provide valuable insights, promote continuous learning, and foster a culture of innovation within our organization.
6. Can you describe a time when you had to navigate a difficult conversation with a team member or stakeholder? How did you handle it?
Once, I had a challenging situation where I had to navigate a difficult conversation with a team member who was consistently missing project deadlines. This issue was impacting the overall progress of the project and causing frustration among other team members and stakeholders.
To address the situation, I approached the team member privately and confidentially and expressed my concern about the missed deadlines and the impact it was having on the project’s success. I then actively listened to the team member’s perspectives, allowing them to explain the reasons behind the delays. By actively listening, I gained a better understanding of the challenges they were facing, such as a heavy workload and competing priorities.
To deal with the problem, I involved the team member by brainstorming together and exploring potential strategies to overcome the obstacles.
7. How do you motivate and inspire your team to achieve their goals?
There are numerous ways to do this, depending on the individuals included in the project, but I find myself mostly using these two:
Leading by example: My own attitude and behavior can set the tone for the team. Showing a strong work ethic, integrity, and a willingness to go the extra mile.
Empowering independence and ownership: Trusting my team members and empowering them to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Giving them the freedom to explore new ideas, make mistakes, and learn from them.
8. Can you tell us about a project you worked on that did not go as planned? How did you handle the situation and what did you learn from it?
When I worked as a project manager on a particular project, we encountered significant challenges that ultimately led to the project not going as planned. One of the primary issues was an incorrect estimation on the technical side, which resulted in delays right from the start. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to catch up and meet the original timeline. We realized that working overtime wouldn’t be sufficient to save the project.
In such circumstances, I learned it’s necessary to make some hard decisions and temporarily stop the project. What should come next is actively engaging with all stakeholders, including team members, clients, and relevant partners, and sharing transparent updates on the challenges we faced and the potential risks involved.
However, it’s important to note that only explaining the problem is not sufficient, and proposing solutions and alternatives is the way to go.
9. How do you prioritize and manage your time effectively to meet project deadlines?
Breaking down the project into smaller tasks enables me to identify the dependencies between tasks and determine the critical path for the project. I identify and prioritize critical tasks that have a significant impact on meeting deadlines. I delegate tasks to my team members based on their skills and expertise, empowering them to take ownership. Regularly tracking and monitoring progress against the project schedule helps me identify any bottlenecks or delays.
10. How do you develop and manage project budgets?
It all starts with defining a project's scope, objectives, and deliverables. This allows me to identify and estimate different cost categories together with relevant stakeholders and business developers. In order to estimate the costs accurately, I consult the technical team lead and other team members for breaking down the project into smaller, manageable tasks and estimate the time and cost for each one. Based on all this, I develop a project budget that should be reviewed with key stakeholders to ensure it meets project goals.
At this point, after the project kick-off, budget monitoring starts. Financial software or spreadsheets can help a lot in regularly comparing actual and estimated costs. In case of significant budget deviations, we investigate the reasons behind them and take appropriate action. It’s important to learn from past projects and review the budget and financial performance to improve accuracy and efficiency in future projects.
And there you have it — a glimpse into the world of Amela Fazlić, a talented and dedicated Project Manager. With her strong technical background, communication skills, and passion for driving successful outcomes, Amela continues to make waves in the project management field.
Amela is yet another amazing Walter Human, and apart from her professional devotion, it is her friendly character that sets her apart, making her a pleasure to work with.
We hope you enjoy meeting our people through this blog series so far, because we love creating them for you! Stay tuned to our social media channels to meet more of our colleagues soon!