Lisa Drake is a project manager at IGT where she manages special projects related to pricing, IT, and customer promotions. She also writes the project management blog, ‘Welcome to Lisa Drake’s Project Management Blog’. Lisa is an MBA graduate from the program I currently attend at UNR. She recently came to my one of my MBA classes to speak and after hearing her I asked her if I could interview her, and to my delight she agreed.
What projects have you accomplished lately and what value do you feel they’ve added for your company?
Over the past year, we have implemented a formal process for our Customer Promotions, where I manage each promotion from the beginning stages of brainstorming promotional ideas with IGT’s Executive Management Team, to working with our internal employees to implement our promotion offerings in SAP, to training sales and internal employees, and finally analyzing the success of each promotion. Currently, I am working on developing several global policies, in regards to our slot machine cabinet pricing and part pricing, and developing a new process for our daily fee game theme process, which will benefit both our customers and increase several internal processes
What methods do you use to manage your projects?
I have used several different methodologies when managing projects at IGT, such as Waterfall, Rapid Application Development, Phased Development, and Prototyping. It depends on the project’s timeline, size, and resources available, when trying to determining which would be the best approach to select for a given project.
What is the project culture at your company?
IGT is a fast-pace, cutting edge innovative gaming technology company, for which I feel our project culture is getting stronger each day with every project we initiate. Our department is very fortunate to have a great group of employees that are well-rounded, experienced, highly motivated, and knowledgeable, which provides a great working environment to continually reach for what would be best for IGT and our employees in each project that is managed.
What aspects of managing projects to you enjoy the most?
I enjoy being able to help others make their job easier, by increasing efficiencies and implementing formal processes. Also, I enjoy working with others, as it provides an opportunity to learn and create a great network of resources, so you build a useful “Who to Go To For Blank” list.
What aspects of managing projects do you find the most challenging?
I find the most challenging aspects of managing projects are change management, resolving team conflicts, and a short time frame to roll-out projects.
What is the one thing that you’ve learned as a project manager that you feel someone new to project management should know?
One of the biggest tips I recommend to projects managers is to simply take time to listen to your fellow team members, as several obstacles could be avoided early one in a project by listening to others first before speaking. There is a reason why you have two ears and only one mouth.