Every once in a while, we like to interview someone in the office to check in and see how things are going. This time, I interviewed Sheena Williams, one of our Project Managers. Read on to learn how she keeps her projects and team on track, as well as how she diplomatically chooses a favorite office dog!
Favorite Lunch Spot: Spacca Napoli
Favorite Morning Beverage: Cold Brew
Favorite Afternoon Beverage: LaCroix (lemon, if I’m at work)
Favorite Music to Work to: Classical (Ludovico Einaudi and Maxence Cyrin are my go-tos)
How has your first year (and a few months) at Noggin been?
Has it only been a year and some change?! I feel like I’ve been here much longer (in a good way!).
I’ve never felt more at home in a job than at NogginLabs. From day one, I could tell the people here were smart, nice, and funny (the writing on the kitchen wall does not lie), and I pretty quickly fell into the groove of my position with the help of such a supportive team. To this day, my friends are jealous (or don’t believe) that I work somewhere with cold brew and beer on tap.
What is a typical day like for you?
This is a total project management cliché, but no day is typical! My days do typically start out the same, with a review of emails before my team’s morning meeting where we review progress on all our projects and sort out the tasks for the day. From that time on, it’s a variety of events. There are usually a few internal meetings and/or client status calls mixed in there. If we’re in beta testing on a project, I like to jump in and get my hands dirty with that. Most of the time, I’m fielding questions from our team or from the client and generally making sure everything is running like a well-oiled machine.
How is NogginLabs different from other companies you’ve worked for?
I most recently worked for a litigation consulting firm where the hours were long, the timelines were measured in days, and the clients were very demanding. It was a consistent challenge to avoid sacrificing quality of work just to meet a court deadline.
At Noggin we work hard but efficiently. We take several weeks to thoughtfully create award-winning, custom e-learning, so work doesn’t rule (or ruin) my life anymore.
I also really appreciate the transparency here and the involvement we can all have with company initiatives. I’m still so impressed by the fact that we make strategic plans every year and actually do them!
What advice would you give to a new project manager?
A few tidbits for newbies from a not-so-long-ago newbie (in no particular order):
- Embrace the NogginLabs process! The current process was developed shortly before I arrived, and I was so happy to have a road map to follow–both to benefit our internal team and our clients.
- Don’t be afraid to chime in. In fact, CHIME IN! You were very carefully selected to be a Noggin, and your thoughts/opinions/insights matter!
- Learn how to make coffee, and never leave the coffee carafe empty. We’re a team, right down to our efforts in caffeination (that may not be a word in the dictionary, but it should be). [Editor's Note: I second this.]
What have you learned in your time at NogginLabs? About e-learning? About project management?
At my last company, I wore MANY hats (in addition to the regular project and team management responsibilities, I also wrote and edited copy, directed the graphic design, and ran quality assurance on almost all of the interactive, 3D, and animation projects). When I started at NogginLabs, I had to learn to trust our team. We hire very talented, capable people, and I quickly discovered that I didn’t have to micromanage every detail of production.
One of the most challenging, but also rewarding and enlightening, parts of my work so far has been working on our custom portal sites. I didn’t have a lot of experience with website development prior to Noggin, but my first portal projects taught me so much, not only about web development but also about e-learning elements like learner engagement, gamification and badges, and SCORM compliance.
If you weren’t a Project Manager, what would you be?
Probably an interior designer. I love designing spaces–laying out furniture, decorating, painting. I’m in the process of doing this with my own new living space. It would be even more enjoyable if I could do it with other people’s money!
Which office dog do you like the most?
I cannot choose ONE! But I will give a special shout out to Zeke, who is running around here today. He always puts a smile on my face.