Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Project Manager at IBM? In this blog, Snezana shares with us part of her career story, some cool and impactful projects that she has taken part of, career advice, and she also walks us through what she does in her current role, day to day and how she manages work and life balance as an IBMer.
With Snezana Zivcevska
Snezana Zivcevska is a Project Manager at IBM Netherlands. She joined IBM in 2006 as a technical consultant specializing in systems integration and middleware. A few years later, she moved into the area of business process management and since 2015, she has been working in project and service management.
In 2015, Snezana led the team who developed one-of-a-kind smart IoT mobile app for renowned golf tournament in The Netherlands. The app was a huge success and made a big difference in the experience of the tournament visitors. That was the reason that the whole team was granted an Award for Excellence by the IBM Benelux Country General Manager.
In 2016, she took part in the IBM Watson Cognitive Outthink Challenge, working on a solution for healthcare called Watson Food Advisor. The solution ended up to be among the best 8 in Benelux, which is recognition for her work in IBM.
Can you describe your current role at IBM?
I am part of the IBM Global Business Services, Cloud Application Innovation service-line. Currently I am on project at a major Dutch retailer where I work on implementation of business processes and governance for the contract the client signed with IBM for Identity and Access Management, Cybersecurity, and General Data Protection Regulation. I work with a technically strong team in India able to solve any complex technical incidents and problems which gives big contribution to the client satisfaction.
The most important aspect for success is the fact that within relatively short period of time I managed to build a trustful relationship with the customer, and in that way help bringing the client satisfaction to the next level.
Apart from your regular job in IBM, what other things are you involved in?
Next to my regular job at IBM I am also a UN Women Champion for Change for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, serving as an advocate for more women and girls in IT and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). I am also a core-team member of the IBM Women’s Network in The Netherlands whose purpose is to support and empower the development of the female talent at IBM and help them improve their visibility within and outside the company. We organize learning activities, workshops, presentations, and networking events, but also we have collaboration with other professional women networks and organizations.
How do you prepare for the week ahead?
My working week actually starts one day before, when I usually do my planning and priority-setting for the week ahead. In general I am a good planner and a well-organized person. My communication style is open, direct and straight to the point. I am also not afraid to ask questions in order to clarify the unclear situations. Thanks to the technology I can be easy reachable and be productive from different locations. On my IBM mobile phone I have all the apps I need for doing my work. That’s a bit of an advantage!
How do you manage work life balance?
I am married and a mother of two kids, which means a good work-life balance is of big importance for me. In order to have a good work-life balance I have learned to give up the perfectionism and to stop multitasking which, combined with good planning and priority setting, helps me a lot to achieve this goal. But also by giving up the things and activities that are not important for the priorities for that period of time, I manage to have more free time for me and for my family.
What do you like most about your role at IBM?
My role at IBM is dynamic, involving lots of communication with the local and remote IBM teams, and the client, which I like a lot. But for me the most important part is that I have an opportunity to lead, and in that way contribute the client success, and help IBM reach the business goals.
Why has staying at IBM worked for you?
I love the flexibility that IBM offers to the employees, particularly the flexible work hours. That’s something irreplaceable for every parent of small kids, but also for people like me who are so much into healthy life-style and well-being.
IBM also offers lots of opportunities to learn new skills and develop personal leadership capabilities, online or classroom-based learning opportunities. Learning is one of the key things for everyone who wants to stay relevant on the market. The world is developing so quickly; the new time requires new skills.
And also the opportunities to work on wide range of projects, from big transition and transformation projects to small but agile, local and international, to work with many other smart and talented people from all over the world, and to use the latest IBM technology in helping the clients and making difference in the world.
What was the best piece of advice a manager has given you?
Don’t work long hours if it is not needed, go home and be with your family. The career success comes when you have a successful professional and fulfilled private life.
What advice would you give to people looking to progress their careers at IBM?
Find out what are your talents and strengths, what makes you happy and how and where you see yourself in 2, 5 or 10 years. Focus on the things that serves your career, learn new things, connect with people and deliver the expected results. Find a mentor or a coach who can help you answer many questions you will probably have. Find a sponsor who can advocate and talk for you. And have fun, enjoy the moments, because every next one will be different and never the same.
And finally, because it’s Women’s Month, we’d like to know what ‘Women’s Progress’ means for you?
For me women’s progress means making progress in building a gender inclusive future—every woman free to decide for herself, to get educated, to build a professional career, and to actively participate in making important political or economic decisions in their countries and in the world.
If we want to build a better future for everyone in the world, we need to take into consideration the needs of everyone and leave no one behind. In a world where women form half of the population, having a 50:50 planet should be a reality.
Discover what you can do at IBM. http://ibm.co/jobs