Brandon Hill-Jowett, Project Manager in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Brandon Hill-Jowett

Project Manager in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Member since August 19, 2020
Brandon has a contagious enthusiasm and passion for Agile project management and has joined Toptal to share his 20 years of experience in using Agile tools and techniques to achieve successful digital transformations. With a strong business and technical background, Brandon's led teams of 60+ in both public and private sectors along the path to success for international organizations and SMEs alike. He's revolutionized delivery across cloud, web, AI, and mobile for B2B and B2C initiatives.
Brandon is now available for hire

Project Highlights

Expertise

Education

Employment

  • Senior Agile Coach in the Financial Sector

    2019 - 2020
    Natwest Group
    • Joined the team as an Agile coach to transform the Agile release train to deliver better quality at pace, by changing the structure to enable cross-functional teams to deliver 400% faster.
    • Converted a legacy monolith mortgage system into a current technology using microservices and React to reduce the cost of change and create a database-agnostic platform.
    • Coached three leaders, two release train engineers, two product managers, eight product owners, 12 scrum masters, seven SMEs, and seven teams to have an agile mindset and psychological safety to inspect and adapt.
    • Mentored leaders and program managers to generate prioritization techniques that were appropriate for portfolio-level value delivery.
    • Increased Agile maturity from 33% to 73% in six months by inspiring scrum masters to create an improvement backlog,.
    • Set up a capability framework and pathways to inspire adoption and to address learning gaps to empower all roles in the organization.
    • Acted as a release train engineer to demonstrate servant leadership and help program directors to transition to RTEs.
    • Implemented consistent reporting in Jira which were aligned with the objectives and key results.
    • Mapped out the delivery model from development to production and implemented automation using DevOps.
  • Senior Microsoft Product Owner in Multinational Manufacturing

    2019 - 2019
    Phillip Morris International
    • Joined the PMI as the digital workplace product owner to improve processes and adoption to over 70,000 people, while reducing time to market by six months.
    • Provided the strategy and created a roadmap for the digital transformation of the Office 365 product suite across 50 different countries and cultures.
    • Created a learning-and-adoption framework which reduced handovers by 80%.
  • Senior Agile Coach in the Financial Sector

    2017 - 2019
    Royal Bank of Scotland
    • Provided leadership with strategy and coaching to build capability, frameworks, and culture change for over 30,000 colleagues, using Agile ways of working.
    • Spearheaded a 6-week, discovery, and incubation program for new customer journey teams.
    • Coached, advised, and supported the standing up of 22 new teams—taking them from underperforming teams to hyper-performing.
    • Initiated the Agile playbook with 20 videos and held Lean coffee meetings as an Agile community facilitator.
    • Analyzed 12 different Agile maturity assessments to generate an RBS specific set of success criteria for maturity goals.
    • Pioneered continuous funding and governance to automate the definition of done, thereby reducing manual intervention by 98%.
    • Initiated the Agile playbook with 20 videos and held Lean coffee meetings as an Agile community facilitator.
  • CEO of a Digital Marketing Agency

    2014 - 2017
    Tag Social Solutions (Pty) Ltd
    • Started a digital marketing agency to satisfy the demand in the country for quality audience building and lead generation in the below the line industry.
    • Created, managed, and grew publisher-and-supplier relationships to the benefit of the customer.
    • Negotiated and executed terms for new partner relationships.
    • Fostered cross-organizational collaboration with third-party suppliers to consolidate goals and align objectives for customer marketing initiatives.
    • Researched and kept up to date so as to be at the pulse of the industry and to generate actionable insights for the business.
    • Collaborated with large organizations to set out their marketing visions and goals and then created digital marketing campaigns with metrics to achieve success.
    • Grew the income and client base and then sold the company to immigrate abroad.
    • Used social media platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, TikTok, Christopher AI, and third-party technology providers to achieve marketing objectives for clients.
  • Head of Application Solutions for a Microsoft Gold Partner

    2007 - 2017
    iSolve Business Solutions (Pty) Ltd
    • Transitioned from a Microsoft certified trainer to developer, principal engineer, solution architect, and worked up to the position of head of application solutions for an international Microsoft Gold partner.
    • Led and managed the application solutions department to deliver over 110 bespoke offerings to SMEs and large organizations as a Microsoft partner.
    • Served as a senior Agile consultant and project delivery lead for five years—advising C suite and below about relevant Agile methods and practices for their industry, organization and departments.
    • Led or collaborated on 13 Agile transformations from organization restructuring to adoption and training.
    • Coached executive leadership about Agile best practices, resolving common problems like prioritization, estimation, prediction, transparency, and deployments.
    • Radiated metrics like velocity, lead time, cycle time, and burn-down charts to drive continuous improvement, leading to a focus on value for stakeholders and product owners.
    • Researched competitors and created business opportunities—winning 80% of tenders and new clients from pre-sales through to sign off.
  • Founding Member — Training and Consulting

    2000 - 2007
    Tutortec Closed Corporation
    • Founded a quality training and consulting brand to service the technology industry.
    • Set up the company dealing with all aspects of operations, logistics, marketing, commercials, technology, governance, and legal compliance.
    • Grew the contractor database to over 240 consultants, servicing our client database of over 50 clients nationally and throughout Africa.
    • Created an automated system for clients to request resources, and the appropriate consultants to be contacted for contract engagement, with all processes automated from legal obligation to payments.
    • Trained and consulted in the technology space for various industries like education, insurance, banking, consulting, medical, finance, and government.

Project History

  • First Notification of a Loss Insurance Web Application
    Introduced the CIO of a global insurance provider and their leadership team to Agile and delivered the first-ever project using DSDM in a 6-month timescale in light of a projected 18 months.

    I managed a small outsourced team to directly collaborate with the customer to gather requirements, prioritize them against weighted shortest job first, and then using great visualization techniques, bring the product to life within the first two weeks for feedback.

  • Operational Application Consolidation for the Insurance Industry
    Embarked on a project of massive proportions to amalgamate the functionalities of three systems into one bespoke in-house system, reducing yearly licensing costs by £2 million.

    I managed a large Waterfall project with over 20 developers spanning multiple teams in a 5-year project to consolidate data, features, and processes while aligning to the global IT strategy.

    The project followed the usual Waterfall breakdown structure of work and consisted of multiple phases of analysis, development, testing, and finished off with a data migration ETL project which took one year.

  • Onboarding Portal
    Advised on human capital strategy and created an onboarding process and portal that increased delegate subscription by 70% and was 50% faster with an increase in automation.

    There was a requirement to deal with the complexity of the onboarding process while tackling the ability to scale with quality.

    I managed the project where we used the latest Agile development tools and techniques to create a portal for new delegates out of university to enter into a multinational accounting organization and professional services network.

  • Strategy Decision Dashboard
    Developed a reporting dashboard solution for strategic decision making resulting in faster time to the market than competitors, embracing bleeding edge technology.

    I collaborated with several business intelligent specialists and analysts to create the model and reporting dashboard to surface relevant data at the correct level using the Microsoft technology stack, SQL, Power BI, and SharePoint.

    The purpose was to allow the CIO of the multinational accounting organization to prioritize investment initiatives

  • Legacy Application Rewrite
    Implemented the digital transformation of four legacy systems to modern patterns, reducing licensing costs by 90% and operational costs by 80% for one of the four big banks in South Africa.

    Using a strong team of technology-agnostic developers, we quoted and delivered four applications using Java in less than one year for the banking industry.

    This led to the continuation of our companies services and so far a 10-year relationship still exists.

  • Mining Feasibility and Reporting Portal
    Reengineered software development practices to turn a 5-year project into an 18-month success.

    I took an existing application that had several developers which had reached its limits in terms of functionality and rewrote it using a combination of new and existing services to generate near impossible speed. I optimized the data analytics which had taken 12 hours to generate graphs to where it did it just under 15 seconds.

  • Content Management System
    Initiated a revolutionary content management system using Microsoft technologies, taking the telecom's giant client to the cloud.

    I managed the CMS system full SDLC from tender to delivery, using Microsoft professionals to deliver a fully employee-centered intranet portal, based on the SharePoint 2013 platform, while minimizing the need for custom development.

  • Intranet
    Developed a worldwide multilingual intranet solution done in true Agile style, reducing cost of change from eight weeks to two days,

    I collaborated with multiple countries and specialists from third parties including a marketing consultancy to deliver the look and feel for an intranet including the functionality of the system.

    This involved integrating data from various sources and providing workflows for approval and automation of communication and processes.

  • Operation Management Platform
    Converted 300 requests from a business into a roadmap and backlog, delivering the project in 1/3 of the time using Agile techniques.

    We delivered a system that operates seven services of an insurance organization (we received over 300 requests, projects, and features) and improved the service they provided to their customers.

    We worked together with the company and two teams of eight to create the roadmap and prioritized backlog, and then delivered on that backlog in an iterative manner.

  • Insurance Switch Integration Workflow
    Generated an application service to centralize and process requests for the insurance industry to surface an individual's insurance subscriptions, reducing the manual process for confirming data and ensuring consistency and transparency.

    The client wanted to help players in the insurance industry gather data about their clients and the insurances they have to ascertain their financial requirements accurately.

    To surface this, we created a switch using .NET and Microsoft technologies to allow metadata and interfaces to be accessible. This enabled subscribing clients to access this data in alignment with regulations to help their clients.

  • Enterprise Bus for a Healthcare Not-for-profit Organization
    Worked as a solution architect and created a roadmap for a technology upgrade to cater for the highly sensitive customer information move to the cloud.

    A health organization required a highly governed process to protect its data while trying to navigate the legal implication of using data in the cloud. The confidence at this time in the cloud was low but eventually we collaborated with Microsoft to validate quality concerns using Azure cloud.

    We proposed and implemented a K2 workflow, SharePoint for intranet and internet and business intelligence dashboards, as well as a geo-based mobile app.

  • World-class Case Management System for the Government
    Delivered a case management system for the Competition Commission to deal with all cases past and present.

    There were many problems that were encountered involving GDPR, conflict of interest and legal obligations, as well as dirty data.

    Using SharePoint, K2 workflow tools, we created a business intelligence solution to surface accurate and relevant data with Microsoft BI tools and Power View for each level of management.

  • Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Platform for the Government
    Managed a program of 16 projects which included developing a custom operation systems.

    The department of planning, monitoring, and evaluation needed a system upgrade with new features to satisfy their digital transformation.

    The projects involved solution architecture, windows applications, web and mobile applications, BI and workflow applications, and solutions.

  • Microsoft Office 365 Migration for a Multinational Manufacturing Company
    Created and implemented the Microsoft roadmap for the digital transformation of the Office 365 product suite across 50 different countries and cultures.

    I worked with over 50 countries and affiliates to lead the adoption, learning, and technical implementation of Microsoft O365 in a multicultural environment. I laid out the prioritized backlog of tools and services based on the organization's requirements, and dealt with the legal implication and regulations of the various countries.

    The team consisted of over 150 people.

Education

  • Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree (cum laude project management) in Business Management
    2002 - 2007
    UNISA | The University of South Africa - Pretoria, South Africa
  • Bachelor of Commerce degree in Information Systems
    1994 - 1999
    UNISA | The University of South Africa - Pretoria, South Africa

Certifications

  • Certified Product Owner
    JULY 2020 - PRESENT
    Scrum Institute
  • Certified Scrum Master
    FEBRUARY 2017 - PRESENT
    Scrum Institute
  • Agile Project Manager Practitioner
    JANUARY 2014 - PRESENT
    APMG International TM
  • Microsoft Certified Business Management Solutions Professional
    MAY 2011 - PRESENT
    Microsoft
  • Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional
    JANUARY 2011 - PRESENT
    Microsoft
  • Microsoft Certified Professional Developer
    JANUARY 2008 - PRESENT
    Microsoft
  • Microsoft Certified Trainer
    JANUARY 2007 - JANUARY 2019
    Microsoft

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