Ekaterina Berlova, Project Manager in Barcelona, Spain
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Ekaterina Berlova

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Barcelona, Spain
Toptal Member Since
April 22, 2022

Ekaterina is a project manager following the Agile methodology with a background in finance. She enjoys the complexity of a project manager's work, with its problem-solving, technical analysis, communication with the team and stakeholders, and the ever-changing nature of the work from project to project. Being a servant leader to her team is the approach Ekaterina favors, as it helps the team to produce results at the top of their abilities while maintaining a comfortable work environment.

Project Highlights

Finance and Risk Management Tools for Australian Farmers
Led a team of specialized developers to build an online portal for dairy farmers containing interactive checklists and calculators.
Improving Agile Implementation for a Government Agency
Coached the delivery teams on best delivery practices following Agile methodology, improving the throughput of the program.
Leading Three Squads for Education Materials Publisher
Navigated post-acquisition challenges to transition 30+ members to Scrum, reducing a squad's backlog by 70%, mentoring a product owner to deliver praised software, and creating visibility into project performance through clear reporting.


Work Experience

Scrum Master

2022 - 2023
Pearson - Australia - 1
  • Navigated challenging post-acquisition dynamics and funding uncertainties to introduce Scrum methodologies to three squads, successfully transitioning over 30 team members to Agile ways of working within 12 months.
  • Mentored an external vendor team unfamiliar with Scrum, ensuring seamless integration and alignment with internal project objectives and processes. Fostered a strengthened partnership between the external vendor and the client.
  • Transitioned the product backlog from Trello to Jira amidst organizational challenges, boosting the teams' velocity, enhancing their ability to forecast project delivery timelines, and ensuring clear accountability across all members.
  • Provided extensive coaching to a junior product owner, culminating in delivering a new, highly-praised software functionality for Australian schools, celebrated by Pearson's clientele.
  • Empowered the client with a comprehensive understanding of the incoming project scope, enabling more effective capacity planning with external vendors.
  • Reduced overall team stress by fostering improved communication and understanding between client and vendor team members, enhancing project cohesiveness.
  • Reorganized and refined the product backlog, leading to a substantial decline in software bugs by over 50%.
  • Elevated one squad's efficiency and focus to the extent that their backlog was reduced by 70% after refining their Scrum processes.
  • Enhanced the client's insight into the project's scope during uncertain times by introducing effective reports and dashboards, allowing for effective capacity planning with external vendors and instilling confidence in future project trajectories.
  • Identified and addressed skill gaps among developers, resulting in the creation of valuable documentation and the establishment of transparent reporting mechanisms on squad performance.

Delivery Lead

2021 - 2023
  • Assessed the client's requirements and prepared work statements and price estimates. Provided responses to requests for proposals.
  • Established the project scope, delivery timeframe, budget, and the team required to successfully deliver the project. Established and managed project risk registers.
  • Launched a robust DevOps process and managed cross-stream impacts in multi-stream projects.
  • Led the delivery team and ran Agile ceremonies, discovery workshops, user training sessions, and stakeholder engagement meetings.

Delivery Lead

2017 - 2021
  • Managed a variety of agile projects for many clients in primary, financial, and consumer goods industries.
  • Acted as a project manager following Agile methodology, establishing project scope, delivery timeframe, and the team required for the successful delivery of the project.
  • Established a delivery process post-project to maintain the integrity of the system.
  • Acted as a scrum master during all Agile ceremonies.
  • Ran discovery process with all stakeholders, including requirements gathering, analyzing and documenting business processes and workflows, and running discovery workshops.

Business Analyst

2015 - 2017
  • Engaged with all levels of the business to develop new and improve the existing tools and processes. Reported to CFO and was involved in improving the processes of financial records and reports in Salesforce.
  • Collaborated with the Scrum team in a BA role, creating user stories and getting them to ready state, shaping the backlog, and participating in Scrum ceremonies.
  • Carried out user training for frequently deployed system improvements and new features.

Finance and Risk Management Tools for Australian Farmers

Led a team of specialized developers to build an online portal for dairy farmers containing interactive checklists and calculators.

For an Australian government project supporting farmers, i managed the development of an online portal housing two pivotal tools:
1) Financial calculator
2) Interactive risk checklist

• Seamless integration with Salesforce CRM, simplifying farmer registration.
• Interactive UX design utilizing a traffic light color system, instantly contrasting user data against regional farming benchmarks.
• Capability for farmers to produce high-spec PDF reports with dynamic graphics.

• Discovery: determined functional and UX needs.
• Design: crafted user-centric interface.
• Build: developed the portal and tools.
• Early life support: addressed minor enhancements and any bugs reported by end-users.

• Comprehensive project management: oversaw scope, timeline, budget, and risks.
• Workshop facilitation: led both discovery and delivery sessions.
• Agile mentorship: educated the client team, specifically focusing on product owners and testers.
• Scrum leadership: guided Agile ceremonies and practices.
• Solution architecture oversight and establishment of post-release support mechanisms.

Improving Agile Implementation for a Government Agency

Coached the delivery teams on best delivery practices following Agile methodology, improving the throughput of the program.

The delivery team struggled to reach the desired velocity level due to a lack of Agile processes. i was called in for a review and coaching to improve the delivery and meet the client's expectations.

A review of the two streams of work was performed:
• BAU stream
• Ongoing support stream of work (ServiceNow)

• Establishing regular Agile ceremonies and leading them
• Coaching the delivery team and client stakeholders on the best approach to communication through the sprints
• Reviewing and improving processes around supporting tickets arriving from business users

• Velocity has increased more than two times in the first two sprints
• Decrease in number of times tickets were required to be investigated
• Faster resolution of support tickets
• Decrease in bugs discovered during testing
• Improved communication among team members

Upgrade of Telephony Platform to an Integrated Cloud Solution

Led a project of integrating a cloud call center solution with existing CRM, thus replacing the legacy VoIP system.

Managed a team of developers to set up an integration of a cloud call center solution with a CRM for a large primary industries company, thus replacing a legacy call center solution. The new solution allowed the company the following features:
• to register all the phone calls in CRM and automatically link them to the contact records present in the system by matching the phone number of the caller;
• record information about the call, such as duration, the recording, the time received, within the CRM system;
• to receive chat support inquiries within the same window inside of the CRM screen; and
• to assist customers with technical queries by connecting to customers' computer screens for troubleshooting.

• Led a discovery and delivery of the project
• Managed a go live where phone lines were redirected to a new solution—10 hours of go-live window during the night
• Led early life support (ELS) stage after going live, supporting the call center users with training

Leading Three Squads for Education Materials Publisher

Navigated post-acquisition challenges to transition 30+ members to Scrum, reducing a squad's backlog by 70%, mentoring a product owner to deliver praised software, and creating visibility into project performance through clear reporting.

During a tumultuous period post-acquisition, I assumed the pivotal role of guiding three diverse squads, encompassing over 30 members, through a transformative adoption of Scrum methodologies.
My tenure was characterized by adeptly navigating teams unfamiliar with Scrum, especially two external vendor teams, all while mitigating the heightened stress resulting from the challenging business landscape.
I championed the migration of the product backlog from Trello to Jira, optimizing workflow management.
A standout accomplishment under my leadership was the significant reduction of a squad's backlog by 70%, showcasing the efficacy of the Scrum processes I implemented.
Also, my strategy for change was intentionally gradual and nurturing, which led to enhanced team engagement, notably during retrospectives rich in actionable insights.
I diligently identified and addressed developer skill gaps, emphasizing comprehensive documentation and transparent reporting. Also, my dedicated mentorship of a junior product owner culminated in the successful roll-out of software functionality for Australian schools, earning high praise from end users.

Discovery: Lending 3rd-party Software or a Leading New Zealand Bank

Led a successful discovery project for a top New Zealand bank, culminating in the streamlined implementation of nCino, a 3rd-party lending software, which yielded substantial reductions in processing costs.

I undertook a pivotal discovery project for one of New Zealand's premier banks to evaluate the viability of nCino, a prominent 3rd-party lending software, regarding functionality and technical fit. My key responsibilities and accomplishments included:

• Led crucial workshops, ensuring stakeholder alignment and understanding.

• Articulated the project's boundaries and expectations, streamlining the assessment process.

• Conveyed intricate findings, highlighting nCino's potential value and integration challenges.

• Collaborated with engineers to formulate strategic insights, driving the project's direction.

My adept leadership during the discovery phase provided the foundational insights that spearheaded the successful implementation of nCino over a subsequent 18-month period, reinforcing the bank's commitment to leveraging top-tier technology solutions for optimal operational efficiency.

User Permission Structure for the World's Largest Dairy Company

Designed and implemented a new user permission structure across six Salesforce platforms, transitioning from role-based to function-specific permissions, streamlining user support, and enhancing operational efficiency amidst technical complexities.

I took charge of a comprehensive initiative to re-design user permissions across six Salesforce instances. The project's core ambition was to migrate from the traditional role-based permissions to a more nuanced, function-specific structure. This project was done for one of the most technically complex Salesforce instances in the world and took over 12 months to deliver.

As a delivery lead, I guided the project through the following phases:

• Analysis and discovery: understanding the requirements for function-based permissions through workshops with SMEs.
• Design phase: creating a new permission structure and obtaining approvals from the design authority of the client.
• Implementation: carrying out the build, deployment, and UAT of the new structure, followed by post-implementation support.

Also, I successfully navigated the following challenges:

• Addressing extensive technical debt within Salesforce instances.
• Navigating broader complex cross-stream impact issues and pivoting during deployment.
• Coordinating with various development teams for cohesive updates.

The implementation resulted in a significant reduction in technical debt and lower user support costs.

Discovery and Prototype Building for Detention Centers for Minors

A 2-month discovery and prototype building exercise resulted in the initiation of a 12-month long, $2.7 million budget delivery project of a new management system for child detention centers.

The project aimed to replace their outdated, paper-based booking and reporting processes with a streamlined digital system.
• It spanned two months, commencing with two weeks of discovery workshops to understand existing workflows, requirements, and complex regulatory constraints.
• A functional prototype was then developed over three weeks, iteratively refined based on daily feedback from internal stakeholders.
• Following approval from senior stakeholders and the Design Authority, a comprehensive backlog was defined and estimated, informing team size, skillsets, and budget.
• The project's eventual approval and allocation of over $2.7 million underscored the agency's commitment to modernizing detention center management.
2010 - 2011

Master's Degree in Finance

University of Otago - Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

2007 - 2009

Bachelor's Degree in Finance

University of Otago - Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand


Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant



Certified Salesforce Administrator



Certified Scrum Master



Microsoft Excel, Project Management & Work Tracking Tools, Slack, Jira, Confluence, Salesforce, Asana, Trello, Visio


Agile, Agile Project Management, Requirements Analysis, Agile Leadership, Agile Software Development, Agile Delivery, Kanban, Lean Project Management, Scrum


Team Management, Discovery Workshops, Stakeholder Management, Workshops, Sprint Planning, Backlog Management, Scrum Master, Process Flows, Process Improvement, User Stories, Cloud, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Business Analysis, Consulting, Business Process Improvement (BPI), Process Analysis, Web & Mobile Applications, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Data Reporting, Agile Transformation, Business Requirements, Detail-oriented, Process Improvement Project Management, Salesforce.com Administration, Software Development, Agile Product Delivery, Team Leadership, Stakeholder Engagement, Digital Project Management, Reporting, Feature Backlog Prioritization, IT Project Management, Delivery, Sprint Retrospectives, Teams, Certified Salesforce Administrator, Data Analysis, Business Process Analysis, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Project Management, Operations Management, Planning, IT Projects, Remote Team Leadership, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Agile CRM, Software as a Service (SaaS), SaaS, Remote Work, Agile Coaching, Estimation & Planning, Project Discovery, Project Consultancy, Project Planning, Project Tracking, Project Reporting, Business to Business (B2B), Process Optimization, Integration, Risk Management, Technical Project Management, Lucidchart, Salesforce Service Cloud, Finance, Portfolio Management, Statistics, ServiceNow, Vendor Management, Scrum Coaching, Mentorship & Coaching, Risk Assessment, Project Viability, Permissions design, Cross-stream Impact Management, Debt, Discovery, Prototyping, Project Estimation

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