Martin West, Project Manager in Toronto, ON, Canada
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Martin West

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Location
Toronto, ON, Canada
Toptal Member Since
August 2, 2021

Martin is an open, collaborative problem-solver who has a passion for building connected teams that deliver outstanding solutions. He is an experienced IT project manager, program manager, and Agile leader with 20+ years working for top IT service firms and corporations such as PwC, IBM, Microsoft, Rogers and Sun Life across diverse industries in both large enterprise and startup settings.

Project Highlights

Enterprise SaaS Multi-tenant Product Build
Led the team to take on major challenges without concern about complexity or prior knowledge. We learned to work with unknowns and complexity as a team, understand the design, experiment with unknowns, and do incremental builds.
A Carve Out, Acquisition and Outsourcing as One Step
Major business and IT transition against an aggressive timeline through team engagement and strong networking; teams from 15 org's, transitioned eight IT services, implemented nine new enterprise systems in six months within the budget.
Cloud Program - Software Solution Built for IaaS and PaaS Infrastructure Delivery
Delivery was proven. In response to an urgent need, IBM and Rogers delivered 40+ servers, including middleware, database and application solution within five days from request to handover to operations.

Expertise

Work Experience

Product Owner and Business Lead for Building Online Facilitation SaaS Platform and Marketplace

2020 - PRESENT
Neutral Advocate
  • Coached a five-person development team on Agile methods, introduced initial delivery flow, and worked to refine as the team progressed and matured.
  • Worked with the delivery team on different agile methods: daily scrum, system demo, retrospectives, and kanban, as well as improving end-to-end delivery from "idea" to "ready to develop."
  • Provided vision from pivot, user stories, and scenarios (BDD) for a marketplace and platform for online facilitation tools for complex structured conversations online.
  • Led research for a cloud-based software dev environment to deliver an enterprise SaaS multi-tenant collaboration platform. Selected AWS serverless, NoSQL, step-function, API Gateway, Cognito, Route 53, Angular, Java, and AppSync technologies.
  • Spearheaded the integration strategy for the partnership and shared revenue model for licensing tools and service via Stripe eCommerce integration to the marketplace.
  • Used customer interviews to define a new software pattern, build a strategy roadmap, scope key technical spikes for data flow, and release our first usable working software as the MVP.
  • Built an in-house team in India to incubate the project. We completed the first build (early MVP) in around three months and pivoted seamlessly from on-premises to remote operations when the pandemic hit.
  • Developed thought leadership on how to use structured conversation and online facilitation to address constraints that many organizations face limiting the effectiveness of Agile transformation.
  • Explored the agile transformation community and the challenges of unresolved conflict. Developed resolution strategies and systems to help organizations to remove constraints from value delivery (WIP).
  • Wrote and published content such as blogs and posts, ebooks, brochures, videos, and cartoons. I also managed websites and worked with copy editors, graphics artists, voice engineers, and animators.

Project Consultant — Enterprise Integrated Planning for Startup

2019 - 2019
PwC (ABT - Brightside - Their Startup Digital Bank Offering)
  • Cooperated with leadership on establishing an integrated delivery model that included Agile planning, Agile delivery operations, and releases; supported each group with preparing the integrated plan.
  • Managed the business justification and procurement processes for the acquisition of Aha! across the bank. Then agreed on the design of Aha! and its integration with Jira as the planning tool and handed it over to the bank team for implementation.
  • Worked on issue lists to manage the release for different public launches.
  • Coached a business team with preparing plans. External teams had waterfall approaches with deadlines. The internal teams were agile, and the leadership team had market-driven go-live release deadlines (publicly announced).
  • Produced a final deck called "integrated planning for an experimental world in the context of the digital bank's agile journey" and presented it to the leadership team to implement.

Product Owner | Designer and Builder of Agile Contracting Solution

2018 - 2019
Neutral Advocate
  • Designed and configured 60% of the CMS application that involved integrating solution including series of forms, contract definition, approval workflow, eSignature, escrow, and payments flow with Ethereum-based EC-20 and payment gateway USD and CAD.
  • Produced personas, vision, product roadmap, and backlog. All documented in Aha! We also used Trello initially and then Jira for work management.
  • Developed thought leadership on shared risk in Agile contracting with the "Be Accountable Together" method termed Go BAT!; gamified shared risk as part of iteration-based contracts and wrote whitepaper-style articles on Go BAT for outsourcing.
  • Developed thought-leadership on project estimation and teams building a process to increase their ability to estimate more accurately. This is by working as a team to solve this shared problem together.

Agile Project Manager

2017 - 2017
FoxNet for Raytheon
  • Worked with multiple streams to plan and deliver IT infrastructure upgrade for core systems to build and move a data center.
  • Facilitated and worked with the client and IT teams to manage delivery dependencies via kanban and scrum, with an overall project plan, daily scrum meeting, and the implementation of two-week sprints with planning, demo, and retrospectives.
  • Used Kanban to help the team visualize construction tasks in a project plan, strongly dependent, and Waterfall style project delivery.

Program Manager

2016 - 2017
Rogers Communications (via Procom)
  • Acted as a delivery partner to systems integration team and was instrumental in leading planning and execution of Infrastructure deliverables for a mission-critical $35 million middleware transformation program.
  • Managed and led multiple infrastructure teams delivering middleware stability and transformation projects.
  • Served as a delivery partner to the $35 million middleware transformation program which engaged global vendor partners and multiple stakeholders across the enterprise.
  • Fast-tracked projects as required to meet business-critical deadlines, such as the iPhone7 launch.
  • Mediated stakeholder group interests with support from senior infra leadership to successfully deliver the first critical project in the program.

Project Executive for IT Transition

2015 - 2016
Enercare (Now a Subsidiary of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners)
  • Led, as a servant leader, Enercare’s transition to acquire and integrate IT services from the acquisition of Direct Energy’s (DE) Home Services business; a carve-out, acquisition and outsource all in one step.
  • Turned around project to meet Enercare’s commitment to their investors. The onboarding of IT systems and services started in June and was contractually obligated to complete on December 20, 2015.
  • Led transition by separating IT 12/20 avoiding several million in support costs, freed EC to focus on further growth, and proved EC’s ability to grow through acquisition, eventually leading to Enercare's sale to Brookfield IP in 2018 for $4.3 billion.
  • Brought on post-planning, turned around program ‘in trouble’ with “set a target and manage to it” strategy. Integrated teams from 15+ organizations transitioned eight-core IT services and implemented nine major new enterprise systems in six months.
  • Participated in executive steering and managed issues and dispute resolution for Enercare at EC/DE’s Ops and Exec Steering. Made strong contributions to resolutions. Also managed messaging at outsourcer Exec Steering.
  • Set tone with outsource vendor and brought a collaborative, direct but demanding approach. This helped build collaboration resulting in flexible solutions aligned to our needs and engaged committed teams.
  • Transitioned program to operational teams, negotiated service agreement with service partner on project delivery using single-source shared risk model and addressed other key transitional activities.

Program Manager, Software Delivery of IBM Cloud

2013 - 2015
IBM for Rogers Communications
  • Led cloud program, IaaS and PaaS, contracted as part of Rogers’ IT outsourcing deal with IBM.
  • Worked through complexities of an early-stage private cloud purchased in 2011 included slow custom development, partial automation, integration with manual processes, expectation mismatch, and poor economies of scale.
  • Addressed “poor adoption” issues by working with architects to develop a decision tree to identify cloud projects and supported these projects from request to delivery. Enabled IBM to meet its contractual commitments.
  • Introduced key innovations to streamline the infrastructure delivery process. In a pilot, we reduced delivery timelines from “ask to receipt” from months to days for managed non-production servers – this impacted Rogers’ agility.
  • Worked on challenges touching every aspect of strategic outsourcing of infrastructure and ITSM services as part of the integration with existing, often manual, processes.
  • Delivered proof – in response to an urgent need, IBM and Rogers delivered 40+ servers including middleware, database and application solution within five days from request to handover to operations – a credit to the capability provided and teamwork.

Senior Project Manager

2011 - 2013
Rogers Communications (with IBM)
  • Hired to overcome delivery challenges and successfully rescued projects in trouble in three months.
  • Used a more sustainable approach to deliver a portfolio of projects under the same timeline constraints in 14 months.
  • Delivered first-of-a-kind solution with a lower cost active-passive DR solution with low RTO; team learned, resolving tough technical challenges; re-designed project with leader support based on the need for innovation and testing requirements.

PMO Consultant

2010 - 2011
Central West CCAC
  • Worked with the senior leadership team to establish enterprise PMO function delivering projects against the annual plan. CW CCAC was challenged with many initiatives and needed help setting priorities to balance organizational and customer demands.
  • Established governance model to manage reporting, prioritization, project alignment, resource allocation, and escalations allowing the executive and director teams to manage CCAC’s commitments to projects.
  • Built integrated PM methodology enabling non-PMs to plan, schedule and manage their projects successfully.
  • Designed and built a SharePoint application, using Excel and InfoPath forms, "the ePMO" and then transitioned it to PMO manager, providing an actionable ePMO model for CW CCAC.
  • Provided training and support for the creation of initiation forms for 26 projects for the annual planning process, providing the basis for prioritization of the 2011 strategic plan.

Enterprise SaaS Multi-tenant Product Build

https://community.janars.com

Led the team to take on major challenges without concern about complexity or prior knowledge. We learned to work with unknowns and complexity as a team, understand the design, experiment with unknowns, and do incremental builds.

Assembled an insourced team in India to build an enterprise SaaS multi-tenant secure platform, a marketplace for the delivery of online facilitation tools.

It was built using AWS Serverless, Cognito, DynamoDB, Step Functions, API Gateway, Route 53, and AppSync. We also created a partnering shared revenue for the marketplace that supports subscription and per-use models through integration with Stripe. We also integrate with Jira. It was validated as an enterprise-ready platform by a bank service provider.

A Carve Out, Acquisition and Outsourcing as One Step

Major business and IT transition against an aggressive timeline through team engagement and strong networking; teams from 15 org's, transitioned eight IT services, implemented nine new enterprise systems in six months within the budget.

I worked through influence in a matrix struggle.

I learned early that building a workable quality plan was not possible, so I built a high-level schedule based on dependencies and hired missing team members. Then, I drove the program through daily status call and problem resolution, after-meets with the team every day.

The team really stepped up; it was a bit chaotic at times, with dependencies not fully understood, yet we managed to find solutions.

The biggest challenges were all overcome:
• Outsourcing: we transitioned the roles of four different IT service providers to one new service provider.
• All shared services had to be created new as the existing organization of 100 people had little need for systems for running at a company 10 times the size.
• Email transfer to new service - due to instability fears about the existing server, we could not automate the transition to perform manually.

By separating IT on Dec 20, this avoided several $ million in support costs, freed EC to focus on further growth, and proved EC's ability to grow through acquisition, eventually leading to Enercare's sale to Brookfield IP in 2018 for $4.3 billion.

Cloud Program - Software Solution Built for IaaS and PaaS Infrastructure Delivery

Delivery was proven. In response to an urgent need, IBM and Rogers delivered 40+ servers, including middleware, database and application solution within five days from request to handover to operations.

During the implementation of the IBM Cloud, we broke down so many barriers to change. Both IBM and Rogers had many audited rules that could not be broken. Every battle was fought hard. Automation was not the hard part.

We worked on challenges touching every aspect of strategic outsourcing of infrastructure and ITSM services as part of the integration with existing, often manual, processes. The resulting delivery was proven by delivering 40+ servers to production, fully loaded with middleware, databases and applications in less than five days.

I managed the software delivery team using Agile principles based on the contract to deliver the automation.

The biggest challenge was that cloud technology had moved on significantly since the purchase. Leaders were inundated with TV ads of the vision for cloud, while this version of IBM was still script-based without a graphical interface.

Addressed “poor adoption” issues by working with architects to develop a decision tree to identify cloud projects and supported these projects from request to delivery. Finally, we enabled IBM to meet its contractual adoption commitments.

PMO Consultant

Worked with the senior leadership team to establish an enterprise PMO function to deliver projects against the annual plan. CW CCAC was faced with initiatives that needed help setting project priorities against organizational and customer demands.

• Established Governance model to manage reporting, prioritization, project alignment, resource allocation, and escalations allowing the executive and director teams to manage CCAC’s commitments to projects.
• Built integrated PM methodology enabling non-PMs to plan, schedule, and manage their projects successfully.
• Developed a SharePoint application using Excel and InfoPath forms, and the Enterprise PMO (EPMO) was transitioned to PMO manager, providing an actionable EPMO model for CW CCAC.
• Provided training and support to create initiation forms for 26 projects for the annual planning process, providing the basis for prioritization of the strategic plan.
1986 - 1989

Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Business Administration

Middlesex University - London, UK

OCTOBER 2017 - OCTOBER 2018

SAFe Certified PO/PM and Certified Scrum Master

Scaled Agile

AUGUST 2017 - PRESENT

Qualified Mediator (Q.Med)

ADR Institute of Canada

MARCH 2008 - MARCH 2022

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Institute (PMI)

Collaboration That Works

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