Lir Cowman, Project Manager in London, United Kingdom
Lir Cowman

Project Manager in London, United Kingdom

Member since September 24, 2018
Lir has 20+ years of experience leading digital delivery in many London consultancies and agencies, as project director, head of PM, agile coach, and operations director. She has delivered a range of projects, from huge platform developments to fast turn around campaigns. Clients range from startups, to household names such as Google and Unilever. She brings a pragmatic, calm, coaching and collaborative approach to jobs, ensuring successful delivery.
Lir is now available for hire

Project Highlights

  • Led and managed the discovery phase for a new client, to uncover the issues underlying their project and find several new solutions/considerations, leading them to commission the agency for the full project.
  • Rescued a large, troubled, and complex project after the entire team left weeks before the launch was due.
  • Implemented many positive changes in ten weeks at a digital consultancy. Defined the delivery processes, improved resource management, and created a balanced scorecard while project managing on multiple projects and pitching for new business.

Expertise

Select Certifications

Employment

  • Project Manager

    2021 - 2021
    GlaxoSmithKline
    • Joined the GSK NEXT Innovation Oral Health team to manage and launch their first project, a real-world evidence behavioral science experiment using IoT-enabled toothbrushes.
    • Initiated and led the discovery process, with hypothesis formation workshops, research coordination and strategic direction analysis.
    • Managed a third-party partner launching a novel offering in the consumer service area.
  • Trello Consultant

    2021 - 2021
    Molecule2Medicine
    • Defined and categorized the main types of projects and operations for which Trello would be used.
    • Defined processes and Trello templates, for example, projects in each category, collaborating with primary stakeholders to refine and adjust.
    • Integrated Trello with a range of power-ups, e.g., TeamGantt for project management and planning; Unito to improve flows of cards between boards.
    • Created a training deck covering Trello usage to take the company beginner to expert level, with details on shortcuts, Butler automation, and many other tips for efficiency.
  • Process Improvement Consultant

    2020 - 2021
    AIIR Consulting
    • Interviewed project managers, account managers, and senior stakeholders to analyze and define the current project management process and pain points for the four service lines.
    • Defined the requirements for projects, portfolios and resource management toolkit, and assessed and scored eight options against the requirement matrix.
    • Set up and rolled out Asana as the project, portfolio, and resource management tool (phased rollout over three months for import and cleansing of data).
    • Changed the project management process to improve efficiency and make the best use of old and new tools, getting input and buy-in from stakeholders and rolling out the training plan for the team.
    • Defined roles and responsibilities for project managers versus the account managers team and created a quantitative approach to team planning based on the project's pipeline (approximately one week).
    • Defined an approach for selecting and managing the freelance coach team, resulting in a tool that enabled the account managers team to filter by the criteria.
    • Created a wiki for internal knowledge management within the first weeks; this became the primary living source of process and company knowledge.
    • Created a pricing model, enabling the team to estimate pricing and margins easily based on deliverables and costs.
  • Project Management Consultant

    2020 - 2020
    Azrieli Ecommerce Ltd.
    • Coached and advised the CTO during his initial tenure for early tool selection (Jira) and process (Scrum). Coached the product owner to help improve processes and teamwork.
    • Managed a light-touch project and scrum-master, keeping the Agile team unblocked using scrum rituals with just a few hours per month.
    • Headed the developer and QA teams' recruitment; defined job descriptions and the onboarding and offboarding processes.
  • Process Improvement Consultant

    2020 - 2020
    Joorney LLC
    • Reviewed and documented the client's current sales and operations processes, then proposed and drove process changes to improve efficiency and transparency.
    • Evaluated tooling options for project management and sales teams. Defined requirements, assessed options and led selection for the new toolset.
    • Drove fundamental changes to the usage of Wrike for project managers (e.g., workflow automation).
    • Defined the executive team’s product improvement and new product innovation process.
    • Created and populated a company-wide wiki to improve knowledge transfer and company communications.
  • Delivery Consultant

    2019 - 2020
    YLD
    • Delivered MVP for B2B SaaS in the finance sector; led an embedded YLD and client development team to deliver a successful MVP over ten weeks as the Agile coach. The client commissioned an additional six-month team extension.
    • Led the discovery for a new publishing client. Performed two weeks of analysis of issues on their incumbent project. Uncovered several approaches to accelerate development. The client engaged YLD to support them for the remainder of the project.
    • Optimized further operations for YLD. Developed a company dashboard with objectives, metrics, and targets; agreed and disseminated with the leadership team. Further improved internal communications. Proposed changes to Sales CRM.
    • Delivered RFP and new business. Led the new business team in complex, documentation-intensive responses, including creative concepts, work schedule, and budget planning for one-year delivery, and compliance with legal and procurement requirements.
    • Coached C-suite team members, helping to clarify and enact change.
  • Project Director

    2019 - 2019
    AKQA
    • Coached and managed the project for a location services client based in Germany.
    • Led the remote development team in Poland as scrum master using classic Agile Scrum while working concurrently with the design and UX team in London using the Kanban approach for design system set up.
    • Delivered a Drupal upgrade in less than the two months allocated.
    • Operated tooling configuration and set up: Jira for the development teams and Abstract and Zeplin with InVision and Sketch for the design and UX teams.
  • Delivery Consultant

    2018 - 2019
    YLD Consultancy
    • Defined the delivery process; created all the necessary documentation, lifecycle, playbook, templates, roles and responsibilities, checklists, and supporting sales assets.
    • Identified issues and optimized operations; introduced a company-wide wiki and new resource management tools. Developed a balanced scorecard at the request of the CEO.
    • Acted as a delivery lead for an existing large corporate SaaS client, completed MVP and agreed on a six-month team extension. Also delivered new business with a gambling company, heading the intensive two-week discovery and project initiation.
  • Delivery Director

    2013 - 2018
    Potato
    • Led and delivered complex design and built projects from the initial RFP and estimation to post-project review. Projects had team sizes of five to ten people for a six to twelve-month engagement with the main client, Google.
    • Coached and led the project management team. Managed risk and monitored the health of budget, scope, and timelines across up to 50 concurrent projects. Improved tools and practices to support quality delivery.
    • Identified opportunities and managed relationships with senior stakeholders at Potato’s main client, Google, growing the account by 200%. Acted as the first point of contact and escalation.
    • Mentored and coached teams. Line manager for senior team members in UXD/development; line manager for the whole project management team. Achieved team growth from 30 to 100+ with low staff turnover <10%.
    • Defined and improved processes, tools and practices to enable quality delivery across the multi-million portfolio of 50+ projects across all disciplines. Led and line-managed operations team of four, supporting the 100-strong wider team.
    • Defined and documented processes such as resource management, project management, and sales playbooks.
    • Defined and improved reporting and the actions from the reports such as resource utilization, project budget and schedule analysis, sales and revenue forecast, pipeline management, and team planning.
  • Project Director

    2012 - 2013
    MRM McCann
    • Delivered almost £1 million of work over several months as the contract project manager.
    • Launched the first-ever Vauxhall mobile site, built on AEM CMS.
    • Led a complex data integration project, co-coordinating many third parties and senior client stakeholders.
    • Reskinned and rebranded the existing Vauxhall site of several hundred pages within a fixed deadline of three weeks.
  • Head of Digital

    2011 - 2012
    J. Walter Thompson
    • Managed project overages by 85% by improving the project management processes and estimation.
    • Grew the digital account portfolio by 30%, working directly with senior clients such as Unilever and Duplo.
    • Defined digital processes and trained the wider non-digital, non-agile agency to work with digital, agile teams. Created templates and tools to improve delivery–source control, estimation templates, and many other elements.
    • Recruited new staff (20% growth). Improved efficiency by 10% by training non-digital staff to do some digital work.
  • Freelance Project Manager

    2010 - 2011
    Various Agencies
    • Delivered a complex Umbraco CMS and data migration project, £500,000 to £1 million range, for a Wunderman Automotive client, Jaguar Land Rover.
    • Managed a complex Flash financial modeling project, from £500,000 to £1 million range, for MRM McCann for a financial services client.
    • Delivered Sitecore CMS and a large eCommerce build; from £500,000 to £1 million range, for TulloMarshallWarren's charity client, Marie Curie Cancer Care.
    • Managed Flash and Unity online game activation toolkits, from £100 to £500,000 range, for OgilvyAction's telecommunications client, Vodafone.
  • Operations Director

    2007 - 2010
    iris Worldwide
    • Optimized process, tools, and templates for the digital team of up to 80, covering project management, resource management, utilization analysis, new business and business development, estimation, sales pipeline planning, and revenue forecasting.
    • Completed hands-on delivery for some of the more complex projects for clients such as Lucozade and Sony.
    • Headed the project management team and drove quality throughout the project management process on all projects.
    • Grew the company from 20 to 80 over two years in the new digital arm of a wider integrated agency.
  • Senior Project Manager

    2003 - 2007
    MRM McCann
    • Delivered a wider range of projects as the senior project manager for this large online marketing agency. Clients included HP, MSN, UPS, and RBS Group. Budgets up to £500,000 per annum. Projects ranged from games, widgets, OLM, eCRM, and site builds.
    • Deputized as head of project management. Defined and improved project management processes, recruited and trained staff, and created documents, tools, and templates for the wider project management team to use.
    • Initiated and delivered internal operations improvements in areas such as resource management.

Project History

  • Discovery Phase Uncovering New Solutions
    Led and managed the discovery phase for a new client, to uncover the issues underlying their project and find several new solutions/considerations, leading them to commission the agency for the full project.

    The agency had begun working with a publishing client, who was worried that a significant internal project would not hit its deadlines. The purpose of the discovery phase was to assess the project and problems in more detail, to plan how the agency would best assist the client.
    The issues outlined by the client were relatively simple; they wanted additional manpower to reduce the risk. After 12 interviews with assorted members of the project team, I realized that part of the problem was a difference in understanding the requirements. The development team believed it had to build a complex, future-proof platform - whereas what was driving the imminent deadline was a much smaller problem; specific areas needed to move off an existing platform to complete a contract. Neither the development team nor the management team was aware of this difference in requirements.
    The client was very pleased by this analysis and recommendations and commissioned the agency to do extensive further work.

  • Charity Site Challenge
    Rescued a large, troubled, and complex project after the entire team left weeks before the launch was due.

    The project was a large, complex, new site development for a leading charity, enabling them to receive donations of money online for the first time. Their financial projections relied on this eCommerce enablement happening on time. However, the existing development team had left the company abruptly, with no handover notes or materials other than a set of thousands of stories in Mingle.

    What I did:
    - Quickly onboarded a team of five new developers.
    - Managed client's expectations around launch date and risks ahead.
    - Reset budget expectations with senior stakeholders and the agency board of directors.
    - Ran a gap analysis to identify what the full scope was; what had been completed, and what was left to be done; replanned the remaining work and got approval from all on this redefined project scope and timings
    - Launched within ten weeks, with a very happy client and team.

  • Quick Operations and Delivery Improvements
    Implemented many positive changes in ten weeks at a digital consultancy. Defined the delivery processes, improved resource management, and created a balanced scorecard while project managing on multiple projects and pitching for new business.

    This was a brief contract. I made many improvements to how the company worked in just over two months. Given that they hired me again a year later, I could see that the changes were still being used.
    I helped the existing delivery team define their offering and collaborated to develop improvements. I created all the necessary documentation, such as the playbook, templates, roles and responsibilities, checklists, and supporting sales assets.
    I proactively identified issues and optimized operations. Within the first week, I set up a Wiki and began porting information from various sources.
    I also identified that resource management could be far more efficient with new tooling and began the rollout of this within the first two weeks.
    I developed a balanced scorecard at the request of the CEO, working closely with the senior management team to get their agreement on the metrics. While doing this, I also did hands-on project management. I was the delivery lead for an existing large corporate SaaS client, and led the delivery of new business with a gambling company, heading the intensive two-week discovery.

Education

  • Master of Business Administration degree in Technology Management
    2006 - 2010
    Open University - United Kingdom
  • Bachelor of Arts (First Class) degree in English Literature, Psychology
    1992 - 1996
    University College Cork - Cork, Ireland

Certifications

  • Professional Agile Leadership (PAL 1)
    MAY 2020 - PRESENT
    Scrum.org
  • Stay Lean with Kanban
    MARCH 2020 - PRESENT
    LinkedIn
  • Scaled Professional Scrum
    JANUARY 2020 - PRESENT
    Scrum.org
  • Professional Scrum Master
    MAY 2019 - PRESENT
    Scrum.org
  • MBA (Technology Management)
    JUNE 2010 - PRESENT
    Open University
  • Project Management (M865)
    DECEMBER 2006 - PRESENT
    Open University
  • PRINCE2 Foundation
    DECEMBER 2005 - PRESENT
    Office of Government Commerce
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
    JULY 2005 - JULY 2009
    Project Management Institute (PMI)

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