Choosing to challenge every day

Delivery Manager

March 18, 2021

International Women’s Day is an important day to shine a light on the amazing women around us. This year the campaign theme was #ChooseToChallenge, a pledge to call out inequality and celebrate women’s achievements – something that we need to keep doing every day of the year. Here are my experiences of choosing to challenge by helping other women throughout my career.

I am a Delivery Manager, which means that I’m constantly balancing the needs of the team, the client, and the business to make sure we deliver great work on time and on budget. That often involves being an ad hoc therapist, debate mediator, and chief inquisitor, as well as making some really beautiful spreadsheets. In this role, I get to see what’s going on at the cliff-face, as well as the bigger picture. The most rewarding moments in my career have been when I could use my role to help someone else and make a difference – you can too.

I was working with a female Developer who was quietly producing quality work, but still hadn’t been promoted despite continually getting great feedback. I asked her line manager for the reason and they shared her objectives with me, where I immediately spotted that they were looking for her to show leadership and build client relationships. At that moment, I knew exactly who I would ask to lead an upcoming discovery workshop with the client. She smashed it, the client loved her, and it strengthened her case for promotion – which she did get, thanks to her own hard work and having the platform to show how good she was.

Spotting these opportunities doesn’t just apply to your colleagues. I discovered that my client Product Owner was a freelancer hoping to get a permanent role at the client’s organisation, after she explained that she feared any project delays might affect her pending application for her dream job. I took this to the team, and we stripped back existing tickets to focus on what we could deliver by her key date, as well as supporting her with new user story writing and prioritising requirements. She knew that we were all doing our best to help her and did eventually land the job.

Getting involved in mentoring is another fantastic way to make a difference by giving recognition, support, and praise. I have been a sounding board and a cheerleader to someone who was just starting out in Delivery, working on building her confidence. Years later, I was so proud to hear that she’d kept progressing all the way to a senior role. I was inspired to mentor after my own experience as a junior working under an incredible contract Programme Director. When she left, she sent me a detailed message about my strengths and told me that I would make a great Head of Delivery one day (…I’m still working on that!). To hear that kind of feedback, entirely unprompted, meant so much to me and truly changed how I saw myself.

You have the power to give that moment to someone else. The power to provide a platform to show off their talent. The power to support them to achieve their dream. The power to encourage them to succeed. Look for the opportunities around you and choose to challenge every day.

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