Meet the Speakers: Katrina Collins

Katrina Collins WiPM Speaker Picture.jpg

Elevator pitch, describe yourself in less than 2 sentences?

I am PMO Manager with over 20 years of experience working in projects and programmes mainly in the IT and Telecoms area.  The skills I’ve picked up in my professional career are put to frequent use in my personal life, organising schools reunions, Christmas parties, birthday parties – any excuse for a party.  

Best advice you’d give a young Project Manager in how to balance work and personal life?

You’re a project manager, schedule your time as you would schedule your project.

What, according to you, is an important skill for a project manager to succeed?

Strong communication skills.

Best advice you were ever given as a young aspiring project manager?

When presenting to senior management, focus on having a main slide that summarises the key areas and always put a “key ask” on the slide. 

  • Having one key slide helps to ensure you get the main message across at the outset.

  • The key ask helps you to achieve something from all the time you spent on preparation.

The key ask might be management support for a roadblock to be removed, a change request to be approved, or a small budget increase.  Always make the request realistic and something they can reasonably approve. 

You will have benefited from all of your hard work & preparation. Plus, this often has a positive effect on the senior management team, as they can feel that they supported the project in some way. 

Katrina’s always happy to put her project management talents into organising a good party!

Katrina’s always happy to put her project management talents into organising a good party!

What part of the project do you find most “interesting and/or challenging”?

Stakeholder management. 

Identifying and understanding the motives of your project stakeholders can be very challenging.  It’s so important to do at the outset as it will make for a smoother project roll out. 

What have been the biggest challenges in your career to date?

Managing global, dispersed project teams.  Specifically, building a team spirit and engaging project members who are based across countries and time zones.  

Continuous communication is absolutely key – whether it be face to face, conference call, video call.  You have to be resourceful to keep the momentum up. It is very rewarding to build a strong team under these circumstances.  

I found the Geert Hofstede cultural dimensions theory to be very insightful and useful in learning how to understand different perspectives when engaging global teams. 

What has been the proudest moment in your life so far?

Most recently, I worked on a radio documentary about a family ancestor which was broadcast on Radio 1 in July this year. 

Flash Questions

Agile, Waterfall, Wagile or?

Cause you’re Passionate about?

Favourite Movie?
Rear Window

Favourite Singer/Band?
Almost anything from the 80’s

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Any of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. 

Other Jobs you’ve had in the past?
I had a variety of jobs before, during, and after university.  Most jobs were in the hospitality industry. Growing up, my parents had a chicken farm, so I’ve done plenty of farm work. 

Victoria Poole