Milan: A Project Manager may be a technical guru, but that becomes much less important as the work expands

Milan: A Project Manager may be a technical guru, but that becomes much less important as the work expands

5 min read Jul 30, 2020

When and why did you join BE-terna as a Project Manager, what initially drew you in?

To begin with, I was working as a Microsoft Dynamics NAV Consultant. I was involved in the implementation of a couple of projects in different industries as well as providing support for existing customers in their everyday operations in Dynamics NAV.

Then, one day, I was presented with an offer to join the CRM team – this was a no-brainer. :) The CRM Team at the time was still a small team, but at the same time had a lot of potential and a perspective that was tightly aligned with Microsoft’s initiatives and road-map, as well as with BE-terna’s strategic orientation. To cut a long story short, I have been building my knowledge and career path from Dynamics CRM Consultant to Project Manager, then to CRM Operations Manager (Belgrade) and CRM Fintech Team Leader. 

What is the job of Project Manager like at BE-terna? What is a typical day like for you?

The project manager role is an essential project component across a countless number of industries and project types, where nearly all project managers commonly share day-to-day job activities. Some of these activities include: meetings with stakeholders in order to ensure project information/status is shared, due dates and responsibilities are clearly communicated, keeping an eye on budgets, making sure that the project is within the project scope and budget, continually checking progress against the project’s objectives and making sure it hasn’t veered off track. Therefore, a PM is responsible for leading an entire project through different phases such as initiation, planning, execution, control and completion.

What are the pros and cons of being a Project Manager? 

Being a project manager helps you develop and nurture your natural skills, such as being organised, and being able to think outside of the box. Working on projects in various industries and markets will almost certainly make you want to improve all the time. 

The challenges of being a project manager are usually related to day-to-day pressures regarding deadlines, lack of adequate resources or capacities, and tactful communication with the customer. However, these are also the things that trigger all the positive implications that were previously stated – improve yourself, be better organized, be better at what you do. One thing is certain – it never gets boring!

What does it take to be a Project Manger?

It is usually thought that a project leader needs to be an expert in highly technical subject matters. This is somewhat true, but not necessarily the whole story… In my opinion it is usually the other way around: The hard skills are easy, the soft skills are hard.

A project manager may be a technical guru, but that becomes much less important as the work expands. Large-scale projects require an effective leader who can motivate people and delegate the work to those who understand the details. Good project managers are detail-orientated, able to organize and maintain control of many disparate activities at the same time. All of this relates to delivering business value- understanding the trade-offs between time, scope, and cost while delivering the expected value of the project to the organization. Communication skills are also very important. Retaining the confidence of project stakeholders in times of trouble also requires communicating credible strategies for recovery. Effective leaders meet challenges with the assumption that there is a solution.

Who would you recommend BE-terna as an employer to? 

BE-terna is the place to be if you love IT, and importantly the company has an amazing team spirit and unlimited career development options. I also have to point it out that the work-life balance is quite effective at BE-terna (compared to other similar IT companies). BE-terna is a place for a people who are ambitious, and want to be a part of a team that they can count on and still have quality time with friends and family after work.

Can you share a funny story that happened to you at BE-terna?

Sure thing. :) A couple of years ago, I was interviewing candidates for an internship. One day, a candidate was welcomed into our conference room by my colleague Nina and offered a coffee before I arrived. Baring in mind that I was late by a couple of minutes, I quickly said hello and connected my laptop to the projector in order to provide the candidate with the equipment and the presentation that she was about to give. At that moment, when my laptop hit the docking station and connected with the conference TV, for some strange reason folk music (by Sinan Sakić) filled the air (and the screen :)). I thought to myself - "Is this really happening??" After a couple of embarrassing minutes (or moments?) the music finally stopped. We laughed (mostly at my music taste) and tried to kick the presentation off. Before the candidate could say anything, the music started again – "The Best of Sinan"! I was just starting to think of a reasonable explanation, when suddenly my colleague’s name and phone number popped up on the screen. It was a relief, I can tell you! My colleague in the other office was on a VPN which prevented him from using YouTube, so he found a workaround and used his mobile - It's just that he had connected to the wrong playback device (and the wrong room! :)). Anyhow, we solved the problem and all the stage fright disappeared, which enabled the candidate to perform well.

If you could choose 3 adjectives to describe BE-terna's culture, what would they be?

  • Challenging
  • Engaging
  • Supportive

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About the Author

Svetlana Savic

HR Manager, BE-terna Belgrade