Envoy works with prominent tech companies in the market including Vizio, Samsung and Amazon to name a few. It is literally, one stop shopping where Envoy creates what they call “branded platforms”. The concept is to provide solutions to companies around strategy, design/UX, branding and advertising, technology as well as data and analytics. Aaron emphasized the importance of working effectively with project managers and others in the organization in a company that provides A to Z technology solutions for their clients.
The timing of the presentation could not have been better as the students just completed a Hackathon and were exposed to the importance of communication and collaboration in a Dev environment. Aaron’s role as a project manager provided valuable perspective and the credentials to boot with certification as a PMP and PSM (Professional Scrum Master). If that wasn’t enough he also wore a hat as a web developer in his past life with a focus on LAMP stack. Aaron touched on a few key concepts from a project management point of view including roles and responsibilities, project management methodologies and how to work effectively with project managers from a Dev perspective.
The role of a project manager is important to the successful function of the overall team and needs to possess excellent communication skills along with a collaboration mindset. Aaron described his approach as really a servant leader. In other words, “What can I do to help others on the team?” rather than dictatorial approach of simply telling others what needs to be done. This certainly also holds true for the development team to possess this same attitude. In the end, Envoy is really about essentially ignoring titles and doing the work necessary to get the job done! Sound advice in a fast moving and client centric environment.
Given Aaron’s extensive experience not only as a project manager but also as a developer, he shared his insights into waterfall project management and Agile to compare and contrast the two approaches. Though the project management approach employed really depends on the needs of the company clearly agile is well suited for software engineering. Waterfall also has its place but likely better suited to a command and control environment where a sequential, top-down approach to development is important, such as the building of a plane or a building. When it comes to Agile, it is more synonymous with the continuous improvement approach where sprints are utilized to build a minimum viable product and iterate over time. In sum, everyone has a role in the development of the product and equal responsibility in delivering to the goal. In the final analysis, when it comes to the fast moving world of web development, Agile has a distinct advantage in time to market.
So how does a developer work effectively with a project manager? Aaron provided an excellent overview which is outlined as follows:
- Possess a team first attitude.
- Be proactive. Work to solve problems on you own and help others solve theirs. This all works to minimize frustration on the team.
- Be the expert. You were hired for a specific reason and need to know your craft and be up to date in your skills and knowledge. This translates to always be learning!
- Take the lead. Being a valued employee and contributor means be able to work through problems and devise solutions without constantly being told what to do.
- Get involved. It is important to be a part of the tech community to learn and connect with others. This means attending Meetups, relevant conferences and networking on LinkedIn.
Thanks to Aaron for lending his time to LearningFuze and the students. He certainly went above and beyond in not only presenting to the cohort around how to work effectively with project management, but also in fielding questions during and after the presentation.