What 10 months at Skcript has taught me.
This might probably be the most honest and accurate recounting of a day (or rather most days) in the life of a Program Manager. Find out what her time at Skcript looks like and you could even take a bit of inspiration from this for your next project!
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I cannot believe that it’s been 10 months since I joined Skcript! I am closer to touching one year when it feels only like yesterday I was freaking out over sending emails. I have been taking smaller steps with my fellow Skcripters’ help.
To start off with, I want to talk about what got me into Skcript.
Being an engineering student (of course, no doubts), I was in my “Campus Placement *phase*” frantically being trained for aptitude tests that will get me through the interviews. Even with all that going on, my focus was to join a place that I could connect with. I came across the name Skcript in my college website and immediately went looking for the company’s website. And rest is history! (Jk 😃)
I liked what I saw in the website, the design stood out for itself. It was a website with binary color but it felt complete and the *‘Apply here’* button took me to a page that didn’t ask for my resume, instead asked for what I was passionate about. As you can guess, I applied and got myself a scheduled telephonic interview.
What did I take away from this?
This is when I realized the key for being remembered is to be the best in your own style.
How to not send an email was the next thing I learnt - I am no expert in writing emails but I have been taught to write better emails, now. I was terrible at sending professional emails as the entire education system fooled me with a standard, repetitive email format. Then what is correct the format?
There is no standard format to send an email. But remember 4 key points,
- Crisp subject - The Subject line has to speak for itself.
- Brief content. If you cannot read long emails, how does it make sense to send one?
- Formatting your email. (I still haven’t got the hang of it completely. Swaathi, our CTO is still training me on that - but the number of eye rolls have reduced. Trust me writing a good email is difficult)
- Signature - It has to be short and clear - you cannot write your biography or include your photo shoot pictures in your signature. Have your signature talk about your designation, contact number and your organization name. Nothing more.
Team work: Working with a close knit team pays off.
I actually know what’s happening inside the office and the scope of learning and improving yourself is really there. We have had our conflicts and arguments, but all of them have been on a learning scale. Observing the work of other teams does help in learning and knowing the unknown. With every discussion held and every meeting organized there is something to learn from - sometimes, the side effects can be harmful.
I, for example, am infected with come backs for things you cannot even imagine. If you can go for an hour having a normal conversation, then you need to teach me how!
There is no such thing called too much writing.
Writing blogs have now become a habit so much so that you feel a void when you don’t write one. The point of not making a fool of yourself with your blog pushes one to write a good article, which in turn pushes you to read more on the subject. Again, knowledge grows.
Deadlines are always meant to be missed.
The solution? Have fake deadlines up your sleeve. Project planning has to be done with fake deadlines that your team is aware of, back-up deadlines that the testing team is aware of and the actual deadline that the customer is aware of.
The importance of having buffer days serves it’s purpose. Delivering quality code and ticking off all the check boxes will need time and make sure to include the time frame for that in the deadlines as well.
Building a product is not easy.
It is easy to say, “It’s just an Android application’ or ‘It is only a two page website’. One question, are you out of your mind?
Having a product built that will match its requirements, within the planned time and without the possibility of security and work flow is not easy. It needs the combined effort of different team members and with every progress the product has to be tested and improved on.
Design is more than drag-drop-color.
When I was introduced to the concept of PDW (Product Discovery Workshop), I was shocked to see the depth of design. Interacting with the client to understand the product undergoing collaborative research was helpful. Being a non-designer, I was able to understand the depth of design with the PDW and it makes it easier for me to work with designers and the rapport is stronger.
Brand value is more than a fresh look to the brand of the company.
Our extensive re-branding taught me how the brand of a company doesn’t end with just the UI, but goes as deep as the culture of the team. Though re-branding is a lengthy process, you can never have enough time. Every passing day will make you want to retouch the brand look you are aiming at. Completely flushing the old workflow, process, drafting new a workflow and later following them is a huge step which needs mental preparation. Our re-branding has taught me enough to contribute to the brand guide, which is a proud moment.
How to draft milestones
Drafting milestones was something I learnt with practice. Milestones are not just planned with the requirements we know, but we need to consider the requirements invisible to the naked eye as well. Contribution from the tech team and design team is to be considered to see the nooks and crannies uncovered by other members. I was unaware of the tactics to plan milestones, but I can roughly estimate the days we would need. There is always more to learn.
Running a company is no piece of cake.
When a part of the core team was away in Dubai, I had the responsibility to have tasks running and staying on track. Though it was only a part of the team that was away, the rest half were in the HQ carrying on their tasks.
The daily updates increased my responsibility to report the work that happened for that respective day. With them all across the seas, I couldn’t run to them for every small thing and I had to take the responsibility of doing things. To trust me with it was a huge risk, yet it showed me the trust they had on me. Pushing myself to do that made me realize it is not easy until you do it.
It may sound less knowledgeable to many who read this article, but to me it is a great deal of knowledge. There are many people out in the world and to them I can proudly say that there is an actual knowledge gain in my life and career.