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Multifaceted – Exciting – Challenging 

Designing, developing and then rolling out target group-specific digital products is a lengthy and complex process. Especially when many different stakeholders are involved, it may become complex and chaotic. Julia, a Project Manager at GDF, will tell you about the tasks of a Project Manager. 

Check out Inside GDF – A look into GDF’s Team structure to get an overview where the project management is located. 

Core Tasks

Basically, project management is about keeping a project alive: planning, executing, controlling, monitoring and, finally, closing the project. As the main contact person, you have an overview of the entire project and you actively manage both the project progress and all of the various stakeholders. Consequently, some of the most important tasks are to provide continuous reporting that keeps knowledge and information flowing seamlessly.  Ultimately, you need to juggle all that the project throws at you in order to keep everybody happy.

In addition, one major project management task is to enable the project team to focus on their respective tasks in a calm and relaxed manner by filtering information upfront and passing it on to the correct people. Who hasn’t been confronted with a situation where you are writing user stories, developing a new feature, or preparing a meeting, when you are interrupted to do a small task here or help out there? 

Even small interruptions cause a delay in the project timeline. Therefore it is the project managers job to protect the team from outside disturbance and to remove impediments.

Challenging Environment

Of course, the responsibility includes standard project management tasks, such as creating and adjusting project plans, discussing estimations, and monitoring budgets and resources. Furthermore, at GDF we work with agile frameworks such as Scrum or Kanban, so project managers need to integrate themselves and their work in the relevant ceremonies and structures. 

Read up on Scrum at GDF

However, project management in the digital asset rollout team at GDF has to deal with some special cases to . 

The business is very international. On one side, the basis of the team’s scope alone makes it international. The team is customizing standardized global frontends to country-specific requirements for different Allianz entities around the world. On the other side, the project team is distributed over multiple Allianz Technology locations: Munich, Barcelona, and Bangkok. Different time zones within the team and the Allianz entities is a key challenge. 

A typical day begins very early with the first meetings around seven or eight o’ clock in the morning, trying to use the overlapping working hours between Munich and Bangkok most efficiently as possible. The day starts with the ‘team daily’ where the team updates each other on what happened the previous day as well as the next steps and tasks moving forward. In the course of the day, various meetings with different stakeholders take place. Depending on the current project stage, topics such as general tasks, project plans, requirements, deliverables or test findings, etc. are discussed. 

Learn more about our daily meeting routine due to remote collaboration

Real Talk & How to become a project manager – Julia’s Tipp 

Especially in project management, there are many things that can be defined in theory. In practice, however, many things are not predictable and require individual solutions. Therefore, it is good to stick to a formal framework but always keep a certain flexibility in mind. 

To be honest, the job can be very challenging sometimes, and can confront you with seemingly unsolvable obstacles. As a prospective project manager, you should definitely not be afraid of these great challenges and approach them in a simple, structured and systematic way. At the same time, a major benefit is that you never get bored, as it is super multifaceted and fascinating. Plus, it is a great role in which to learn and to advance your skills. 

Above all, you always work in a team as a project manager where you only advance together and make it to the project’s finish line as team players.

There is definitely no reason for concern that this might be an issue at GDF. It is a very unique place and it is great to work in an environment where you can approach anyone at any time, regardless of hierarchical levels.

And the most important thing: Don't lose heart because of detractors or seemingly unsolvable challenges. Always keep on looking beyond the boundaries!