Phil Pylypenko and Project Management Best Practices
Tell us about your professional background. How did you decide to pursue a Project Management career?
I have been working in IT for 10 years, and started my career as a full stack engineer. One of my projects was in the trading and investments space. As I grew my experience and skill set, I took classes as a student to grow and expand my skill set and capabilities. Eventually, I helped as lecturer and mentor in my field of study. During this time I was continously developing my people management skills.
Due to my various experiences, I developed a full range of both technical and soft skills. I decided to pivot my career and pursue a role in Project Management.
What are your primary areas of responsibility at Transcenda?
As a project manager, my goal is to ensure that the outlined scope of work is delivered and goals are achieved on time. I lead four projects, so a big part of my job is people management – but not in a sense of assigning or tracking tasks.
We use Agile and have no strict rules, so my priority is to adapt the processes in a way that makes them the most effective and comfortable for each team member. I focus on ensuring my team has the tools they need to do their job, that their tasks are clear, and that any blockers are removed so that they can be most efficient. I practice a positive management style and like to regularly recognize people for the effort they put forth.
What are the first steps when you join a project? Describe a typical roadmap.
Get to know everyone on the project. I schedule 1:1 with everyone involved in the project. Sooner or later I meet them, and those initial meetings help me get to know the person better and understand their overall role in the current processes.
Simultaneously, I study existing technical documentation to learn the requirements, functionality, and architecture of a product. I believe that a great Project Manager has to understand the nuances and tradeoffs the team is dealing with, but also count on the expertise of the people who support them.
I always make sure that there is a product roadmap and that the team knows in which direction we move and what goals we pursue. I strive to have at least a one month plan in front of me at all times.
The next step is to evaluate the current work processes. Changes are not always imperative, but still, it’s always good to assess existing workflows. In case there’s room for improvement, I like to engage in honest conversation about the reasons and benefits of change.
When this step is finished, I proceed with the maintenance of communication, work processes, planning, and reporting.
How do you manage evolving business priorities?
The most important thing here is communication. First of all, work with the relevant stakeholders to determine the time-sensitivity and complexity of the task. Then you collaborate with the stakeholders regarding timing and tradeoffs and together you help determine what the most critical priorities are to support.
At the end of the day, it’s all about delivering value to the business and clients. If you can focus on the overall business goals in your conversations, you will often be able to align more readily.
How do you ensure projects are delivered on time?
I pay attention to the requirements, the planning stage, and the key dates of the project. In Agile methodology, we discuss the requirements throughout the development process so there’s no way to rule out roadmap modifications. My goal here is to track the requirements, make sure that the roadmap is up to date, and communicate any changes or ways to deal with the problem.
The development process can have a lot of pitfalls and you will never know for sure when you’ll have to deal with one. It’s important to know how to minimize the risks – and incorporate the best practices even in the planning stage. For example, I assign about 20% or 30% of the project timeline to risk mitigation.
Name a few tips for effective work as a Project Manager.
- Mastering time management and planning is my recommendation to everyone. I use simple reminders on my laptop and organize them by due dates. This way, each day I have a list of tasks to accomplish, which helps me track and assess my performance.
- Establish a rapport within your team. Put effort into communication and building trust within your projects. I look for similar interests and hobbies and try to get to know people on a more personal level by using 1:1, offline or online team building activities.
How do you continuously improve your professional skills?
I develop my professional skills using the following online resources: courses (special mention to LinkedIn Learning), articles, and project management communities. It helps me keep up with the current trends and innovations in the field. As a junior project manager, I often checked job boards and looked at the responsibilities of senior PMs, which then helped me prioritize the skills to learn.
Now I use feedback from team members, insights from fellow project managers, or my own analysis of the potential development directions. Recently, I decided to become a Jira pro and learned how to use dashboards. My next milestone is getting PMP Certification, which is not usually required but serves as a globally recognized standard in the project management area.
What do you like most about your job at Transcenda?
I love working with a globally distributed international team. It allows me to learn, grow, adapt and view the world through a variety of lenses.
There’s also a great opportunity to continuously improve my English considering we are English first and almost all of my meetings are conducted in English.
What are your interests and how did they shape you?
I enjoy cooking and baking, especially cakes and other desserts for my family. I love outdoor activities – hiking, riding a quad bike, jet skiing, or flying a para plane. I love my car, both driving and taking care of it. I can spend hours at the car wash, using every single one of my cleaning tool sets.
I like planning for the long-term, therefore I am deeply interested in financial security, investments, and trading.