Careers Unplugged - Juan Francisco Zamora
Francisco Zamora, Project Manager at Port Cities, explains what it takes to oversee projects successfully.

The Careers Unplugged series intends to help future applicants understand how they can grow their careers without sacrificing their best lives. We do this by interviewing team leaders, managers, and directors at Port Cities, an award-winning Odoo partner and one of the biggest Odoo partners in the world.

We ask them about the work culture at Port Cities and their advice for anyone interested in developing a career in their fields. We also discussed what it is like to work in their team at Port Cities.

In the previous interview, we asked Zhee Fazrina, our Senior HR manager, about the qualities that every successful human resource personnel must possess.

Here, Francisco Zamora tells us about the project management cycle and what it takes to succeed as a project manager.  

If you are interested in interviewers with other functions, check here.


1. Did your career start in project delivery at Port Cities?


Francisco: Yes, I was a trainee analyst years ago. Then I became a business analyst, a functional consultant, and now a project manager.


2. Can you take us through Port Cities’ Project Management Cycle or process?


Francisco: There are essentially five stages we go through with each project.

During pre-sale, we help with effort estimation and schedule planning to support the sales team in preparing and sending the most accurate business proposal to our customers.

The next stage is the project charter and Kickoff, after which comes that project planning, which involves budgeting for each milestone and resource assignment for each task.

Next is the project execution and monitoring stage of preparing outstanding deliverables for each milestone, ensuring the quality of each document and development, and ensuring that each milestone is delivered on time and within budget.

Finally, the project solution, analysis, results, Odoo prototype, and development design presentation are done at the end of the schedule.


3. What would you advise future Port Cities project managers to ensure success in each phase of the project management process?

 

Francisco: Every phase is important, and success relies primarily on good time management. You can use a Calendar to prioritise your daily planning.

You can also define time boxes to decide when you can focus on a specific task or deliverables and define other time boxes for reviews, meetings, and other tasks.

A detailed work plan will also do you and your team a lot of good. And then, you should establish specific communication channels and define the purpose of using each of them.

You shouldn’t also be afraid to ask questions. Ask the customer to repeat requirements or reformulate what they had said to ensure you have properly understood.


4. How can project managers effectively handle multiple projects at the same time?

 

Francisco:

  • Time management is essential here too: have all tasks planned for each project with deadlines and reminders/notifications (use a Calendar or other relevant tools).

  • Keep the master file up to date and update the risk matrix weekly to ensure the delivery of a successful project.

  • Respect weekly status meetings with the customer to be completely transparent with the project’s progress.

  • Define priorities with deadlines.

  • Keep good meeting minutes for each meeting handled during the project and have good folder organisation. In case you forget something, you always have the correct information.

  • Review the time spent by the team at least three times per week to make sure the budget and progress are according to plan.


5. How do you work with people from different cultural and professional backgrounds and make the team work well?


Francisco: Foremost, it is vital to know and understand your team. As a project manager, it is your role to adapt to each member, as they will not adapt to you. 

So, you should know each person’s strengths and weaknesses to assign tasks accordingly.

Next, be clear in your task description and ensure that each member understands your requirements properly. To do this well;

  • You must make agreements with the team and schedule decent hours for everyone as much as possible.

  • Appreciate the experience and knowledge of each team member based on their career, studies, etc., to assign them to the right tasks.

Finally, connect with people and know important dates, including national holidays and important personal milestones. Try to be close to the team and understand their traditions, hobbies, and needs. 

If today is the birthday of someone on the project´s team, remember to send them congratulations. The same is true of weddings, new babies, etc.

In The End


At Port Cities, we are committed to the success of both clients and employees. And in our bid to showcase the culture within our team, we have created the Careers Unplugged Series.

In this part of the series, Francisco has told us about all that happens in the project management team at Port Cities and what every team member must do to aid project success. You can read other interviews in the Careers Unplugged series here.

20 October, 2022
Author
Careers Unplugged - Juan Francisco Zamora
Oluwatosin Odebunmi
Copywriter/ Content Marketer
Oluwatosin Odebunmi is a talented content marketer with years of experience working with clients in various fields, including technology, marketing, and sales automation. While he has a computer science and engineering background, he is passionate about using words to help people make informed decisions. In his spare time, Oluwatosin enjoys exploring nature and reading.
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