I’m KahWen, and the following is what a typical day is like for me as a Program Manager at Movio HQ in Auckland. My key focus is enabling teams to run their projects as effectively as possible. This includes the successful delivery of client integration projects, the organization of our biannual Hackathons, quarterly company initiatives, and ensuring everyone is aligned with Movio’s program of work.
Outside of that, I’m also the resident project management consultant here, where I support my colleagues with their projects and initiatives. No day is the same - which is one of the things I love about Movio!
8AM - I generally start around 8am, and never without my morning caffeine hit from our local – Rabbit.
As we’re based in Auckland, early mornings are dedicated to catching up with our London or Los Angeles-based colleagues. One of the catch-ups that I look forward to are the retrospective meetings where we celebrate our successes and discuss areas that didn’t go so well for a project. These serve as a good opportunity to exercise empathy. We’re able to reflect on how the situation unfolded after the pressures of being in the thick of a project has passed and ensure learnings are applied into future ones.
9-10AM - I stop by the fruit box, grab something for a healthy sugar hit and action time-sensitive work. Some interesting initiatives I'm working on at the moment include:
- Working with Legal on the associated documentation required to launch our Beta Partner Program. This is exciting as it’s another mechanism to obtain feedback quickly from our customers about our various Movio Cinema product developments.
- Localising our products for the China market and addressing challenges not previously encountered, such as navigating the Great Firewall! When the Project Lead faces roadblocks, I make myself available to brainstorm options and generally act as a sounding board for how they could go about resolving it. We then work out which stakeholders need to be involved and how to best engage them.
10AM-11AM - Since I started at Movio four years ago, the company has grown significantly - from 19 people to 71. In order to scale our company effectively, we’ve introduced a new initiative (based off of the book 'Scaling Up' by Verne Harnish) where we identify a single focus every quarter that we want to improve as a company. Example projects include reassessing our product delivery strategy and un-siloing information and insights between teams.
As part of this initiative, I’m accountable for the successful planning and execution of our quarterly focus. Key aspects of my role include:
- Discussing with our Chief Executive, Will Palmer, how the quarterly focus is determined and aligned with our annual goal
- Facilitating quarterly planning sessions with the rest of our senior leaders
- Working with Richard, Business Development Manager, APAC, and resident ‘Theme Master’, on bringing the quarterly project alive. The theme helps everyone in the company understand why we’re investing time into these projects and how it’s relevant to their work.
- Supporting leaders in the delivery of their quarterly projects
This part of my role is awesome as I get to be involved in all aspects of Movio’s operations.
11AM - Now it’s time to hop on my weekly call with our US team where they share their progress on sales and project activity, and the product team discuss the status of current developments. The goal is to ensure we take a break from our hectic schedules once a week to maintain alignment by sharing context across teams and ensure adequate support is being provided to each other.
12PM - Lunchtime! Most of Movio are in ‘squads’, however, a number of us are either spread across multiple squads or working as a single-person team. Consequently we were banded together as the ‘Leftovers Squad’ and, in owning our identity, often head out to lunch together.
1PM-2PM - My recent promotion means managing Regional Support Specialist teams and creating a unified strategy on how technical support and operations are delivered across the regional offices. I’m particularly excited about this new challenge as our services are already held in high regard by our customers, so my objective is to determine how we can more-effectively share best practices and insights across the regional offices.
As these teams are separated by distance, creating a more cohesive culture is another focus of mine. One of my first steps is to facilitate a workshop where we use the Objective Key Results (OKR) framework to agree on a team purpose and success metrics so that we are all working towards a common goal.
2PM-3PM - Every fortnight, the Product Owners and myself meet with the Movio co-founders where we run through the company’s program of work i.e. current projects and product developments. This meeting serves two purposes; keeping them up-to-date on how we’re tracking and discussing where their support is required.
3PM-5PM - Now it’s time to work on special projects. One such project is introducing Confluence to help maintain alignment on our product strategy as we grow our team size and customer base. This involves driving the discussion on what Confluence is, communicating what challenges we’re trying to address (and what challenges won’t be resolved!) with this initiative, creating a clear adoption strategy and advising the various teams on their roll out plan. Another project that I’ve been working on is advising the implementation leads on alternative methods of visualising project plans and status without the use of traditional Gantt charts.
5PM - Before you know it, it’s 5pm and I’m off to the gym to work off the fried chicken or burgers that we’d indulged in our Movio Food-Lovers Club! Over summer time, we might be busting a move to touch rugby or, if needed, I might have a late-night call with the UK office - otherwise I’m done for the day!