Without good communication skills you will fail as a Project Manager

28 Dec comments

project manager pooja shetty's career story and career choice after 12th

Hi, I am Pooja Shetty, working as a Transformation Project Manager for Group IT at VOLVO Group India Pvt. Ltd., with more than 7 years of experience.


Who is a Delivery Lead & Transition Project Manager?

It’s not just one role. I play two roles which are completely independent.

Delivery lead:

A Delivery Lead is a team lead with additional responsibilities of the product, its budget and service level agreements. They may or may not be technical, but certainly should be business facing and able to manage a complete portfolio assigned to them.


Transition Project Manager:

Transition Project Manager on the other hand is a Project Manager who manages projects which cause huge change in an organization. They need to manage stakeholders, business impact and also be good at change management. Usually these are job specific roles and are created when a huge program is launched in an organization. This can impact way of working, process structures and organizational behaviour.


What did you choose Electronics and Communication after 12th?

I wanted (still want) to be an Architect when I was in High School.

Electronics and Communication was not a choice I made on my liking. What I realized is, in India we study a particular field not because we are passionate about it or it’s intriguing. Instead, we choose because our family and friends suggest or because prospect of job is higher or the market salary is great.

You will never be happy if you let that drive you each day. I could not undo what was done and by the time I realized that E&C was not something that kept me curious I was in 3rd year!


What is your job role within the organisation?

I love my work and the environment, because of the good work life balance. No one will sit on your soul and squeeze the life out of you. If you prove yourself and keep your eyes and ears open, you have loads of opportunities that can speed up your career graph.

My primary task involves planning – helping delivery teams in execution, risk mitigating and planning, communicating and ensuring the business is not impacted during this major process change.

Need to apply all the project management skills and need to be sensitive on the change management part.


What drives you? How different are you from an 18 year old you?

When I was 18 years old, I thought it’s just work hard, give 100% and achieve the goal. But now I have different perspective. I think new challenges and learning curve excites me. Be it professional or in my personal life, I embrace any task that pushes my ability and teaches me something new. There is something more than hard work and that is value. Showcase your value in whatever you do. Build networks across industry and keep yourself updated.

In real life, people who collaborate, help each other improve and achieve success as a team are valued more and they are considered leaders.


What sort of experiences helped you prepare the most?

My struggles and insecurity made me what I am today. My insecurity taught me to either keep learning or perish.

Every job I did which was not inline with my passion, it still taught me about the industry and about underlying process and bottlenecks. Today, I can connect with any role in the industry from a help desk to infrastructure, applications to process and company strategy.


What advice you have for your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to never listen to people who say that your ambitions are bigger than your abilities. Industry does not need winners, it needs leaders at each level of hierarchy.


What do you love about your current role?

Global exposure, interaction with executive management, tremendous learning curve, ability to influence and drive change, and of course work life balance.

I actually love what I do. The stress excites me and the challenges makes me want to go to office the next day. I have been like this always and over the years now it’s only got fuelled more due to my hunt for learning.

It is important to cultivate good analytical skills. Everyone can identify a the problem, but you should be the one to identify solutions (not one but many). Never hesitate to take responsibilities. Even if it’s beyond you, anything that add value to your organization or customers, do it. Be innovative and be creative .


What are the challenges you face in your career?

To be able to context switch and be productive, and to deliver multiple results in parallel. I would say the biggest challenge is to manage expectations from various stake holders.


Can you please summarise your career journey?

  • 12th  –  Science PCMB
  • Engineering – Electronics and Communication
  • Graduate Engineering trainee (GET) – VOLVO Group, (2010)
  • Windows server administration and production technician (GET), (Dec 2010 – July 2012)
  • Application Developer (Java), (July 2012 -November 2012)
  • Application support and maintenance responsible, (November 2012 -September 2014)
  • Management consulting, (September 2014 – May 2016)
  • Delivery Lead, (May 2016 to present)
  • Transition Project Manager, ( May 2017- present)


Future aspiration:

  • Future aspiration is to work on strategic projects and programs as a key driver.


How can I become a Transition Project Manager ?


Take a PMP certification (Project Management Professional).


If you have the leadership quality to drive an event, able to organize successful events, manage stress and people, you are ready for this position. It’s a progressive position.


I am 17 and I am planning for a similar career path like yours. What advice you have for me?

Listen to your heart and keep learning that’s vital. If you think you are good at something, it means you are not investing enough to learn new things.


How do you like to spend your free time?

I love to travel and interact with people on their culture, food habits and tradition. I write and mostly read random stuff on which am ill-informed about.


What do you think potential recruiters look for while hiring?

Confidence, Attitude and Communication. I think skills can be taught, but confidence and attitude can never be.


What are some resources you use to keep yourself updated about the industry?

  • My best so far has been networking, making actual contact with people and talking. Nothing can replace a human interaction.
  • Read anything and everything – you will find lot of these forums in Linkedin.


What do you think everyone leaving higher secondary school should know?

  • Your education is just like user manual. Industry is very different. Start reading, discuss and attend webinars to be more realistically connected. Hands on experience is the best always. Therefore, intern at a startup, I think that would be a golden opportunity.
  • Project and People management is the second step. To prepare for this involve yourself in organizing anything under the sun, manage budget, it will all build your skills.
  • Industry ready can mean different things based on each field. If it’s coding be upto date with industry versions. For any other fields work under someone even for free and get to see the industry from inside. During your college vacations try working in a startup or better try your own ventures .


Any final thoughts?

  • Open mind – Sometimes you become too focused on an idea that you let go a golden opportunity. You should always have an open mind and explore every possible idea. It might either show you your true strength and interest and give you a fair idea what you are not good at.
  • Communication & soft skills – It’s important to develop a good communication skills. IT IS VITAL.
  • Continuous learning – You are never good enough. You can always be better. Be humble and ask people for mentoring and guidance, they will gladly do it. You too should return this to your juniors or peers.
  • Never compromise learning for money!


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