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A Day in the Life of a Project Manager - Alain Levasseur
We recently sat down with one of GURUS Solutions Inc.’s Senior Project Managers, Alain Levasseur. Over his seven years at GURUS, he has progressed from the role of Project Control Officer to Senior Project Manager and has his sights set on his future. His experience and knowledge have made him a consistent resource for his colleagues, and an ideal benchmark for what the Project Manager role looks like here at GURUS.
Interested in what that role might entail? Keep reading!
What does an average day look like for you?
An average day of a Project Manager at GURUS is mostly filled with collaborative solution design, client, and planning meetings. A large part is about staying ahead of the game, focusing on next steps/planning/solution design, team cohesiveness and success, and follow through.
Can you describe your career at GURUS, what position you were hired for and how you’ve grown into your current role?
I started as a PCO (Project Control Officer). The goal when I first started at GURUS was Project management, but at the time I had no direct project management experience, aside from some certifications. Given that, the PCO role was the best fit for me in the beginning, and then we built up to project management. Over the past 7 years I was promoted twice, Project Manager, then Senior Project Manager, with a current focus on career next steps.
What do you enjoy about Time & Material project management?
It provides a more collaborative and smooth management of projects with clients, and if done properly can build client relationships that will last a lifetime. You always feel in control, as it’s always a choice as to where the client spends their money, and it’s our jobs as PMs to provide options and guidance.
What makes the Project Manager position different at GURUS than anywhere else you have worked?
I can’t comment on other roles, as I began my Project Management career here, but from what I’ve heard (or seen), PMs at GURUS have room to breathe. They don’t have a lot of red tape hindering the development of better processes. They work with a collaborative team, and can pretty much get involved as much as they want to in their projects and to the betterment of the business.
What motivates you as a Project Manager?
The different challenges we face working with different clients, from every industry across the board. You not only get to work with amazing colleagues, but also get to learn different business models, processes, and industries that would benefit you long term. I think you can do time and material project management in a fixed bid fashion, while still keeping the flexibility of Time and Material which, for me, is the most interesting part because you’re not constantly burdened by heavy formal processes.
From what I understand about our Project Managers, or even the scope of projects here at GURUS, is that they aren’t industry specific. You’re managing projects in a myriad of industries. Does that play into what you enjoy as a project manager?
Oh definitely, I feel there is no better place to get exposure to different business models and processes. Over your career at GURUS, as a Project Manager, you may interact with as many as forty to fifty different VPs of Operations about how they do business, what worked for them, what didn’t, and how they plan to re-engineer or re-implement the business with NetSuite.
What sets GURUS apart from other companies you’ve worked for?
The Freedom to learn, grow, and advance your career. If you have a great idea, get ready to push it through. Even if the idea or initiative doesn’t fall within your current set of responsibilities, they will listen to you.
What is the environment/culture like at GURUS? What did you enjoy about it?
What I love about GURUS is that it offers the stability and dependability of a more structured, established business, with documented and implemented processes. But the culture hasn’t lost any of the casualness, fun, or openness of a startup. It’s a great balance.
Is there a particular experience or memory that sticks out as a highlight of your career as a Project Manager?
The first time I traveled on-site for an assessment. It was the first time I had ever travelled for work, which I was excited about. As a PM you should be the “go to” for the whole project, so the first time I was on site I was completely responsible for how the project was going to unfold, it felt huge for me. The mix of team synergy, client relationship building, and business review made me realize the potential and career opportunities GURUS would bring to me short and long term.
Do you have a favourite memory at GURUS in general (can be unrelated to Project Management)?
Our company outings. They’ve been a breath of fresh air, always focused on the employee, team building, and really fun. The way the events are structured, they’re enjoyable for everyone. There is ample opportunity for quiet time if that’s your thing, as well as for fun with your colleagues.
Was there a colleague in particular that taught you something that you found particularly valuable?
Our VP of Professional Services Dominique Frechette once told me “life is a marathon, not a sprint race”. You’re in it for the long haul on some projects, so I always felt it applied well to my role.
What, in your opinion, makes a great Project Manager
Proactiveness. A Project Manager’s life can be made far easier by being proactive rather than reactive.
What advice do you have for future Gurus/Project Managers at GURUS?
Try to take everything in as much as you can. You have an amazing opportunity to be exposed to countless aspects of varying businesses and industries, and have access to the knowledge base of years of experienced GURUS.