Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I love to build things using my 3D printer and various electronics, I currently have a few robots on the go and do these as projects with my 2 granddaughters.
Tell us about your career journey so far.
I have been working in IT for over 40 years, I started as a college engineer and progressed through teaching, then IT support, programming, it consultant to moving into project management.
Since developing the skill sets around project management I have progressed to a Portfolio Manager, that manages teams of people designing and implementing various IT project and programs of work. I have been very lucky in my career so far as I have managed a lot of very different project types including a major construction project in Edinburgh, I managed Personal Tax for HMRC and recently eCounting for the Scottish local government elections in 2022.
What was your favourite subject in school and why?
I didn’t enjoy school and did an apprenticeship as an electrician straight out of school, this gave me the opportunity to study at college and I really enjoyed that. Once qualified I left my job and went back to college to study microelectronics as I was really interested in getting into computers (very new in the mid 70’s), I quickly realised that the electronics part was very hard, but found programming was my forte and I have used this in every aspect of my job (when the opportunity arises)
What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?
My key skills are communications and the ability to listen and understand a customers requirements, then translate this into a plan for design and delivery. Also very useful is a good understanding and ability to use Excel for capturing data, lists and analysis, plus I sometimes use my programming background to develop simple trackers to support the teams delivery tasks.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
The variety of people I get to work with, every project/program is different and I work all over the UK and Europe with various people within my organisation and customers from many different sectors. I recently managed the program to implement electronic counting for the Scottish Government local elections, I worked with every council in Scotland, travelled all over and found it the most interesting due to the complexity and logistical challenges of delivering 32 simultaneous elections across the diversity of Scottish councils.
What is a normal day in your role like?
This will depend very much on the program, customer and role I am delivering, but mostly I spend my time meeting people, discussing requirements and/or issues, managing the team and reporting to senior management on progress.
And what does your job title mean?
A Portfolio Manager, manages a portfolio of various, sometimes unrelated projects and programs of work and in addition the demand (new changes or projects) coming into the portfolio as things change. Portfolio management is a way to bridge the gap between an organisationsstrategy and the successful implementation of that strategy over a long period of time (usually 5-6 years)
Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?
What is Project Management (APM view)
What is Project Management (PMI View)