Alvaro Villena, Project Manager in Santiago, Chile
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Alvaro Villena

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Santiago, Chile
Toptal Member Since
October 16, 2019

Alvaro is a highly skilled and seasoned technical project manager, possessing a proven track record in successfully delivering complex AI-driven projects. With a solid background in industrial engineering, innovation, and consulting, he excels in guiding cross-functional programs and stakeholders through every project lifecycle phase. Alvaro comprehensively understands AI technologies, which enables him to make informed decisions and recommendations to achieve project objectives effectively.

Project Highlights

SAFe Implementation
Improved development time by 50% in the Innovation Department by implementing a program management structure based on SAFe, making work across various teams visible, and improving dependency and risk management
Proctoring App for K-12 Institutions
Developed a proctoring product MVP for a K-12 learning platform focused on the Asian market using state-of-the-art AI technologies for face recognition and integration with existing LMS in three months.
Accounting Nexus Calculation App Development
Crafted an AI-driven SaaS platform to facilitate account analysts in evaluating nexus taxes based on varying state regulations.


Work Experience

Agile Coach and Technical Program Manager

2023 - PRESENT
PepsiCo Global - DPS
  • Orchestrated as an agile coach/delivery manager in collaboration with the technical program manager, ensuring timely delivery and top-notch quality across multiple AI/ML capabilities within the company's sales effectiveness program.
  • Directed and coached a 50-member technical program team, fostering adherence to Agile methodologies, resulting in a marked enhancement in project efficiency and delivery timelines.
  • Functioned as the scrum master for a 15-member machine learning team, driving the development of diverse ML models that significantly bolstered sales effectiveness company-wide.

Edtech and E-learning Consultant

2020 - PRESENT
  • Created innovative training systems, incorporating gamification to introduce innovation and agile skills to corporate clients.
  • Standardized and captured best practices of the e-learning project lifecycle, from understanding customer needs, analyzing content availability, defining learning models and approaches, vendor selection and management, and delivery.
  • Guided educational and corporate organizations in adopting LMS platforms considering E2E projects from analysis and planning stages to QA and platform implementation.
  • Oversaw the design process, facilitating the adaptation of traditional classrooms to digital-based ones. Managed vendors to achieve on-time delivery.
  • Led the product development of a digital proctoring solution. Performed a benchmark of existing solutions, proposed a product roadmap, and built the product backlog for the development team.

Agile Project Manager

2019 - PRESENT
  • Implemented Agile and Scrum practices on product development teams, resulting in increased team velocity and reduced project completion time.
  • Developed and implemented an agility assessment tool for multiple clients that improved product development teams' performance.
  • Facilitated Agile implementation in leadership teams, which resulted in a sustainable Agile transformation across teams and departments.
  • Managed multiple Agile teams developing for one value chain, successfully delivering IT projects and programs on schedule to the client’s complete satisfaction.
  • Led process improvement initiatives that increased customer satisfaction and reduced project costs.

Agile Consultant and Coach

2021 - 2023
Black Hat
  • Developed and implemented an agility assessment tool for various clients to establish performance levels in product development teams and create action plans to improve value creation.
  • Assisted corporate clients in implementing program management structures based on the Scaled Agile Framework managing multiple Agile teams developing for one value chain.
  • Facilitated Agile implementation in leadership teams to sustain Agile transformation across teams and departments.
  • Led process improvement initiatives to increase team and product development velocity.

Project Manager Screener

2020 - 2023
  • Joined the Toptal team to screen project manager candidates that wanted to join the Toptal network and validated their knowledge, skills, and competencies.
  • Screened over 200 project manager candidates over the last three years.
  • Integrated the new scrum master vertical and screening team. Opened a new candidate validation process focused on the scrum masters' knowledge and skills.

Agile Coach and Project Manager

2019 - 2019
  • Cultivated Agile values on three teams over six months, focusing on transparency and a continuous improvement mentality.
  • Rolled out around 15 customer-facing SaaS implementation projects, engaging client change and technology management teams.
  • Designed and enforced an internal innovation and continuous improvement program, raising and implementing 10+ opportunities to enhance the business unit's performance.
  • Led an internal product development team of six members, achieving a new version release in two months.
  • Worked with clients in the banking, alimentary, governmental, and services industries.
  • Managed 10+ software development projects for customers in Google Cloud Platform, big data, and machine learning technologies.
  • Led change management process on customers; assessed knowledge gaps, defined a training strategy, designed materials, and implemented them with customers.
  • Transformed training processes to implement an e-learning self-paced platform. Worked with instructional designers along the process to enhance the training experience.

Scrum Master

2018 - 2019
Latam Airlines
  • Coached a nine-member development team in scrum implementation and into becoming a self-organized team.
  • Achieved a minimum viable product release in four months (eight sprints), turning internal developments 3x faster than average.
  • Piloted new technologies for the organization, including Jira, Google Cloud Platform, continuous integration/continuous development models, Kubernetes Engine, Angular, and microservices architecture (Spring Boot).
  • Coached the product owner towards business value and minimum viable product mentality.
  • Trained other teams to adopt agile values and philosophy, helping our business unit become more nimble.

Commercial Systems Engineer

2017 - 2018
Latam Airlines
  • Designed and implemented the technology migration and improvement roadmaps to meet migration goals and deadlines.
  • Coordinated the revenue, digital, distribution, and pricing teams to a 99% effective migration, achieving business continuity and zero customer impact within the merger of Lan (Chile) and Tam (Brazil) airlines.
  • Mobilized the multidisciplinary technology team to improve availability and accuracy from 85% to 99%.
  • Analyzed and tested data to ensure zero impact on the company merger process.
  • Trained and guided Brazilian users (in Sao Paulo) in the new technology usage.


2015 - 2017
Universidad de Concepción
  • Taught three courses on innovation, business, and well-being management to engineering students, involving external organizations for hands-on experience.
  • Designed and implemented a social innovation course for engineering students, engaging with external social non-governmental organizations.
  • Promoted innovation knowledge and skills in higher education engineering students through project-based learning methodologies.

Co-founder and Commercial Manager

2015 - 2016
  • Designed and implemented a technical-commercial strategy to develop a new customer portfolio, achieving a 30% quarterly growth.
  • Created and managed a customer portfolio of 30+ clients by integrating traditional business channels with digital creation.
  • Raised USD 50,000 in private and public funding for new technologies development and implementation.

Strategy Consultant

2014 - 2016
FBL Consulting
  • Consulted small and medium businesses to improve process efficiency, business outcomes, and internal customer well-being by implementing management models.
  • Coached the business to implement new internal development processes and management models to create innovative in-house capabilities.
  • Performed a gap analysis on the skills and knowledge of collaborators, defined a strategy to close those gaps, and designed training materials that lecturers later implemented. Implemented some of the project workshops as a lecturer.

Engineer | Research, Development, Innovation

2012 - 2014
Incuba Udec
  • Analyzed and improved go-to-market strategies for 15+ university research technologies.
  • Led innovation processes through a design thinking framework in 3+ small and medium businesses to enable value creation and business innovation.
  • Helped researchers raise governmental funds (USD 1 million) to improve technology development.

E-learning Manager

I significantly improved the course development time, reducing it from six to three months, and reduced development costs by 300% by optimizing vendor management.

Acting as an interim e-learning manager, my responsibilities included:

• Managing multiple e-course development projects
• Defining scope and coordinating instructional design activities and vendor technology development
• Identifying and coordinating with instructional design vendors
• Providing overall project management support for e-courses
• Providing expert advice and feedback on the design and development of e-courses
• Holding weekly review meetings with vendors and internal team members
• Providing weekly status reports on projects to the publisher and other designated team members
• Leading the development and launching of 6-8 e-courses in a quarter
• Editing courses and loading them into the platform
• Coordinating with the team in India

I acted with independent thinking and as someone who proved to be comfortable being proactive, making decisions while keeping stakeholder needs in mind.

Digital Implementation of Customer Training Processes

Enabled faster implementation and escalation, increased customer reach, and learned knowledge validation

Managed the transformation of the customer training process, which was implemented through traditional approaches (20 people personal training in classrooms), into a digital e-learning self-paced platform.

Led a multidisciplinary team of 5+ content creators, developers, and customer service representatives to design and implement courses.

Innovation Process Implementation

Reduced process implementation time by 100%. Designed and implemented an innovation procedure at the organization level

Led a 6+ person team in implementing innovation methodologies, aiming to identify new business opportunities and develop operation solutions, achieving operational time improvements of 200%, enabling new customer acquisition and business models.

Trained business and operation representatives in innovation processes and methodologies, resulting in institutionalized innovation standards. The implemented procedure consisted of a 4-stage innovation process based on the design thinking methodology. The stages were: business challenges exploration, solution ideation, prototyping and testing, and solution implementation.

Revenue System Development

Minimum viable product release in four months and monthly feature releases

Guided a newly formed team of nine developers, one business analyst, and a product owner into adopting the scrum development framework plus other practices from Kanban and extreme programming (XP) with E2E ownership of the product involving architecture and infrastructure design and implementation, software development, QA testing, deployment (continuous integration and continuous delivery) and operation.
Technologies used included Jira, Google Cloud Platform, Bamboo, Kubernetes Engine, Angular, Selenium, and microservices architecture (Spring Boot). Implemented pilot technologies for the organization: cloud infrastructure, continuous integration pipelines, and microservices architecture. Coached team members into performance improvement through 1:1 sessions, continuous feedback, and goal management.

Availability System Improvement

Increased availability accuracy levels from 85% to 99% for major digital distribution channels

Led a multidisciplinary team of 9+ people from business (revenue, pricing, and distribution) and technology units (digital, development, IT business continuity, and operation research) in identifying errors in the availability systems, adopting short-term fixes and implementing long-term solutions to improve the system's overall efficiency.

Internal Processes Optimization and Automation

Improved process performance for over 200% by automating and standardizing day-to-day processes

I successfully managed a complex project for a financial service, improving their day-to-day operations.

Some of the key achievements in this project include:

Proficient use of Asana, demonstrating expertise in the Asana project management software and effectively managing all aspects of the project.

Mentorship and coaching, acting as a mentor and coach to the organization, helping to transform the mindset and setting the structure required to prepare the organization for new projects.

Status reporting, consistently keeping the organization's senior officials informed of the project status through regular status reports and meetings.

Project documentation, maintaining accurate project documentation and follow-up systems, mainly Jira, to ensure the project was properly tracked and recorded.

Instrumental in team development, removing roadblocks to the team's work, mentoring the team, and utilizing organizational resources to improve their capacity for project work.

High-quality work, encouraging a sustainable pace with a high level of quality for the team, ensuring that the project was delivered on time and to the client's satisfaction.

Project Processes Standardization and Automation

Achieved the standardization of the company's operation and billing processes and improved efficiency, which allowed obtaining valuable KPIs for decision-making at the company level

Successfully improved the utilization of Wrike and coached the project team on its full advantages.

Effectively led the team on various responsibilities, including planning, scheduling, and managing all aspects of the project. Maintained status reports, compiled historical data, and presented status reports to senior officials.

Assisted in team development and empowerment, promoting meaningful contributions from each team member.

Showed strong experience in fast-paced software development with Agile (scrum) and Wrike proficiency.

With excellent analytical skills and attention to detail, drove continuous improvement throughout the project lifecycle.

Also led the project team to execute various tasks, including project planning, scheduling, coordination, and management.

Contributed to the project's success with solid experience with Wrike and project management, excellent analytical skills, and attention to detail.

Also praised for my strong communication skills and ability to respond to rapidly changing situations with flexibility and rigorous attention to detail.

SAFe Implementation

Improved development time by 50% in the Innovation Department by implementing a program management structure based on SAFe, making work across various teams visible, and improving dependency and risk management

Demonstrated experience in implementing Agile methodologies, specifically the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

Developed and implemented an agility assessment tool to evaluate the performance levels of product development teams and create improvement plans.

Assisted a forest manufacturing industry corporate client in setting up program management structures using SAFe to manage multiple agile teams.

Facilitated agile implementation within leadership teams to ensure sustained transformation across teams and departments.

Additionally, I led process improvement initiatives to increase team and product development velocity.

Proctoring App for K-12 Institutions

Developed a proctoring product MVP for a K-12 learning platform focused on the Asian market using state-of-the-art AI technologies for face recognition and integration with existing LMS in three months.

Developed an AI-powered online proctoring solution for a cheat-free learning environment by:

• Creating an industry benchmark of existing solutions
• Preparing technical specifications
• Estimating timeline and cost with development
• Validating key initial decisions with stakeholders
• Managing a team of developers and designers to develop the MVP
• Overseeing the product development

The client, a learning platform focused on the Asian market, aimed to expand the platform's capabilities, including AI-driven proctoring and other features.

I assessed existing information for the upcoming major release, prioritized features, and oversaw development.

Accounting Nexus Calculation App Development

Crafted an AI-driven SaaS platform to facilitate account analysts in evaluating nexus taxes based on varying state regulations.

Under my leadership, an AI-driven SaaS platform was crafted to facilitate account analysts in evaluating nexus taxes based on varying state regulations.

The platform's primary challenge was to calculate exposure to nexus taxes, taking into account the differing regulations and thresholds set by each state.

Client-owned and operated a data analytics platform implementation company that was in business for over a year.

Completed an organization assessment and proposed a structure for product development, team management, and running client projects.

Managed a team of three data engineers, one data analyst, and one data analyst intern and expanded with a few developers.

Coached the CEO of the company in agile and product management best practices.

Oversaw the development of an MVP, launching it to market in four months.

Scrum Master – AI Revenue Optimization Tool in Airline Industry

Maximized revenue by dynamically adjusting pricing and availability based on market demands and real-time data.

Served as the Scrum Master for a groundbreaking AI project at an airline company. The objective was to develop an internal tool leveraging AI to optimize revenue strategy. This innovative tool collected input from revenue analysts and processed it using advanced AI algorithms to suggest and implement the best pricing and availability strategies.

My expertise in Scrum methodologies and deep understanding of AI technologies played a pivotal role in guiding the development team through the successful implementation of the tool.

My leadership and collaboration skills ensured effective communication between stakeholders, developers, and analysts, delivering a cutting-edge tool that significantly improved revenue optimization for the airline company.
2022 - 2023

Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Business Administration

OBS Business School - Barcelona, Spain

2020 - 2022

Advanced Ontological Coach in Coaching

Newfield Network - Santiago, Chile

2013 - 2015

Master's Degree in Systems Engineering

University of Concepcion - Chile

2009 - 2014

Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Engineering

University of Concepcion - Concepcion, Bio Bio, Chile


Six Sigma Yellow Belt



Scrum Product Owner Certified (SPOC)



UX Design


MAY 2020 - MAY 2023

Certified Scrum Master



Professional Scrum Master Level I (PSM I)


Wrike, Atlassian Suite, Jira, Asana, Figma

Industry Expertise

Education Technology (Edtech), Aircraft & Airlines, Higher Education, Digital Marketing


Agile Product Management, Scrum, Agile, Agile Project Management, Agile Software Development, Implementation Project Management, Requirements Analysis, Agile Leadership, Design Thinking, Kanban, Continuous Integration (CI), Azure DevOps, UX Design, Servant Leadership, Six Sigma, Agile UX, DevOps


Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS)


Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Team Management, Presentations, Technical Project Management, Product Development, Scrum Master, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Project Management, Google, Engineering Management, Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), Team Leadership, Education, Business Analysis, Consulting, Web Platforms, IT Project Management, Sprint Planning, Reporting, Project Tracking, Technical Product Management, Learning Management Systems (LMS), Strategic Planning & Execution, Detail-oriented, Communication, Digital Project Management, Best Practices, Mentorship, Process Improvement Project Management, Video Streaming, Scope Management, Benchmarking, Product Benchmarking, Budgeting, Videos, Streaming, Agile Product Delivery, UX Strategy, UX Process, Agile Coaching, Business to Business (B2B), Training, Training Content, Project Rescue, E-learning, Training & Training Content Development, Lean Startups, Strategy, SaaS, Coaching, Innovation Management, Leadership, Systems, Websites, Estimations, Planning, Discovery, Program Management, Edtech Design, Marketing, Product Management, Backlog Management, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Software as a Service (SaaS), Web Project Management, Product Owner, Discovery Workshops, Project Planning, APIs, Process Optimization, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, MySQL, Cost Management, Business to Consumer (B2C), Product Discovery, Automation, Business Process Automation, Branding, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Fintech, Process Documentation, Industrial Engineering, User Experience (UX), Project Management Professional (PMP), Workflow, Time Management, Performance Analysis, Progress Reporting, Project Reporting, Leadership & Coaching, Dashboards, Cybersecurity, IT Security, Collaboration, User Onboarding, Onboarding, eCommerce, Revenue Strategy, Web Applications, Data Migration, Business Management, Business Model Canvas, Commercial Management, Sales, Web Design, Web Development, Human Resources (HR), Human Capital Management, Research, Sales Operations, Portfolio Management, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Teamwork, Big Data, Product Delivery, Quality Management, Web UX, App UX

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