Meko Kofahl, Project Manager in Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy
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Meko Kofahl

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Location
Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy
Toptal Member Since
January 10, 2019

Meko has been working with technology and software development since the early 1990s, initially in website development, then transitioning to managing general development delivery, system integration, project teams, and project portfolios. Her industry experience has included several telcos and technology startups. Meko has recently begun coaching Waterfall to Agile transformations and has helped several SMEs with their migration to Scrum.

Project Highlights

Scrum Transformation for Financial Services Company
Meko led Ixaris through a major initiative to transition its Engineering and Product teams to a more fully Scrum methodology.
Siebel CRM Implementation Project for Vodafone
Delivered a major Siebel upgrade after a series of internal resources had been unable to successfully complete the work.
EU-funded Open Payments Ecosystem Project
Led a development team of 40 developers to successfully conclude a €4 million EU-funded innovation project.

Expertise

Work Experience

Consultant (Agile Coaching, Software Development, Process Improvement, Operations)

2018 - PRESENT
Toptal Clients
  • Conducted a lightning start involving software development, product backlog development, and UI/UX components for a medical billing software provider looking to launch a new product.
  • Worked hand-in-hand with the client, evaluated the need, and conducted a cost/benefit analysis of their website project, which resulted in recommending a phased delivery with a built-in delay after the initial phase in order to gauge customer response.
  • Conducted lightning starts involving software development, product backlog development, and UI/UX components for a company wanting to launch a political website with fantasy-football-type functionality.
  • Conducted a brief competitive analysis during a lightning start to help prepare the client for seeking eventual investment funding.

Chief Operation Officer

2023 - 2023
HERST BV
  • Partnered with the CEO to clarify needs related to project management, scheduling, and resource management. Evaluated the current tool (Bouwsoft) and designed an integration with Microsoft Project, providing all required functionality very rapidly.
  • Developed a document for potential future automation of the integration to reduce the need for manual data importing/exporting, should it be needed as the company grows.
  • Conducted personalized training for the CEO, who had some experience with Gantt charts. Provided an operations manual with more detailed instructions that could be used to train someone in the future to assume the scheduler role.

Project Manager

2022 - 2023
Babbel Inc.
  • Joined the team as an agile coach working to mentor product owners and engineering managers and help the organization become more data-driven. Reviewed four teams' agile capabilities and provided feedback and concrete action plans for the teams.
  • Coached the IT department with their migration from in-house Jira to Jira Cloud, including advising and testing. During the process, I streamlined all workflows for the growth team to simplify and standardize.
  • Created a data backlog for use with onboarding the new data analysis team, which included key metrics (and where the data needed to come from) and process information for ensuring that data requirements are considered when reviewing "Ready to Take."

Project Manager

2022 - 2023
Babbel Inc.
  • Brought on to conduct Agile coaching but also provided guidance in other areas, especially around the company becoming a data-driven organization and looping feedback into next-stage planning.
  • Mentored four engineering teams and product managers in improved Agile practices, focusing on how to use metrics to improve their estimating and continuous improvement. Helped with post-COVID-19 team building with online activities and in-person events.
  • Assisted the IT department with their Jira and Confluence upgrade, which included moving from on-premises to the cloud version.

Project Manager | Scrum Master

2021 - 2022
Biogen - Main
  • Coached the prototype development team and product owner through the successful delivery of a very short-timeline deliverable that needed to go live in concert with a service launch. The team received kudos from the C-suite as a result of their work.
  • Served as a scrum master for three development teams, each working on a different product with different stakeholder needs.
  • Streamlined workflows, coached teams in conducting effective scrum meetings, and supported product owners through prioritization and MVP definition.

Chief Product Officer

2019 - 2020
To the Power of
  • Created, prioritized, and maintained the product backlog for this seed funding-level startup.
  • Managed the development team and served as the liaison between them and the CEO/CTO.
  • Implemented development best practices in the areas of quality and testing.
  • Managed project timelines and development budget.
  • Developed grant applications and prepared other funding materials.

Head of Change Management

2017 - 2018
Ixaris Systems Ltd.
  • Designed and implemented change management plans related to the implementation of Scrum methodology and process improvement.
  • Applied change management plans to facilitate the culture of transformation, including a shift to use of OKRs (objectives and key results) for most staff.
  • Defined an implementation plan for metrics and worked with the Executive team to prioritize appropriately.
  • Presented regularly at all-company town hall meetings on progress/next steps and personally conducted customized training sessions.
  • Managed PMO and the project management team, addressing transition issues from waterfall-style reporting to more Scrum-appropriate metrics.

Contract Project Manager

2016 - 2017
Vodafone Malta (Contract)
  • Successfully completed a distressed Siebel CRM Implementation which had been mismanaged by underqualified internal resources.
  • Served as technology team liaison to the Oracle consulting team for a major technology project.
  • Conducted initial billing project requirements definition for the technology team.

Contract Project Manager

2015 - 2016
Government of Malta (Contract)
  • Led the planning for a €10 million overhaul of the national Pitkalija farmer’s market. Aspects of the project included the technology, location, construction, logistics, workflow, and staffing aspects of the market, as well as comparative analyses of other national markets in Europe.

Interim CIO

2013 - 2015
Hili Ventures
  • Developed and maintained a groupwide 3-year IT strategy and budget for Hili Ventures (serving as interim director of IT) and began building a PMO to support the implementation teams across the group.
  • Hired and mentored junior PM staff and led the technical contract teams. Converted strategic plans into prioritized project and action plans and worked with various companies, teams and departments on implementation. Developed and reported multiple sets of corporate KPIs to senior management and at board level on overall performance.
  • Led the implementation of Prophix software deployed for groupwide financial consolidation (€150,000 budget).
  • Led rollout of Office 365 software for all Hili group companies to facilitate collaboration and other goals (700 licenses deployed over 6 months). Included installation, training, and ongoing consulting on department usage and development of intranet sites.
  • Filled in for the COO directing the execution of his operational strategy while he was occupied with an aggressive acquisition schedule.
  • Conducted multiple process redesign projects for PTL Limited (included Software Development processes, Help Desk processes, Billing/Invoicing processes). Introduced Agile software development methodology to PTL.
  • Guided the PTL software team to receive first-ever ISO 9001 certification, helping them define appropriate processes and document them sufficiently.

Senior Project Manager | Process Manager

2005 - 2008
BEA Systems
  • Created the project office for a start-up telecommunications-focused division of about 50 people, delivering three new products and miscellaneous other projects (maintenance packs, etc.) on an annual timetable using Agile methodologies.
  • Delivered strategic projects included annual budgeting and planning, risk assessments for moving an entire product’s development offshore, and implementation of that offshore move to a 100-person Beijing-based team. Oversaw the Beijing team to ensure successful delivery.
  • Managed two critical early implementations: one for AT&T with a value of $2 million, and one for Cingular in the range of $5 million.
  • Created and managed an early-adopter beta programme designed to provide early access to our software in exchange for customer feedback and personalized implementation support.
  • Onboarded the initial department offering, a SIP Server product purchased from a Japanese company. Served as liaison with the Japanese vendor, created initial documentation and installation packages, and worked to set up an internal test environment to allow for internal training and development experience.

Contract Project Manager

2002 - 2005
Personix (now Fiserv)
  • Managed the data integration project for Personix’s major client, Verizon. Worked extensively with Verizon personnel to coordinate data formats, testing, reporting, and planning.
  • Led the internal development team for the migration of 10 disparate COBOL systems to a rules-based EAI (Mercator) system.

Operations Project Manager

2002 - 2002
H3G
  • Managed the testing and operational readiness of the application teams, including the flagship Italian go-to-market application “VideoGol”. This application, was the first video sports highlight application delivered by any major telco at the time.

Technical Project Manager

2001 - 2002
Etnoteam s.P.a. (Contract)
  • Led the team of 25 Italian developers delivering 10 discrete WAP and website applications on behalf of Omnitel and Etnoteam for the global launch of Vodafone’s Vignette-based Vizzavi portal.
  • Served as liaison to Etnoteam's client (Vodafone's Vizzavi CIO) with a smaller onsite installation team of ten resources, responding to customer requests, changes, and operational requirements.

Director of Technology

1999 - 2001
Modaexchange.com
  • Led development of the original business plan which resulted in a successful seed investment of $1.25 million.
  • Designed the integration architecture for combining the inventory and production data across multiple disparate designers' technology systems.
  • Negotiated the use of QRS software, representing use of a multi-million dollar system on a revenue-sharing basis with no upfront cash investment.

eCommerce Lead | Technical Project Manager

1998 - 1999
Baker Robbins & Company
  • Managed two major e-business projects for clients – one Fortune 50 company and one Fortune 500 company. Both projects were firsts in their respective industries and are among the “success story projects” listed on the company’s webpage.
  • Managed the Y2K testing and performed some process design for a major division of a Fortune 10 company.
  • Led a small development team to build a web-based interface to a CICS system for the purpose of online auto loan applications for a Fortune 10 company.
  • Created new legal XML service offerings for Baker Robbins to market to current clients.

Senior Systems Analyst

1997 - 1998
Compaq Computer Corporation
  • Responsible for the requirements definition, planning, prioritization and project management of all Internet projects within North America, as well as representing North American requirements in Global projects.
  • Managed a portfolio of 100+ projects, with individual project budgets up to US$11 million. Total portfolio value exceeded $160 million.
  • Delivered a customer configurator to allow the online customization of consumer-level machines and SME servers.
  • Worked with an external graphic design firm to deliver an award-winning customer service portal.

Scrum Transformation for Financial Services Company

Meko led Ixaris through a major initiative to transition its Engineering and Product teams to a more fully Scrum methodology.

Over the course of six months, 90% of all 115 staff were trained (including executive management), a transition backlog was defined and executed, and the team was making significant progress towards greater efficiency and delivery of value. Revenue during this period was the company's highest ever and we were rapidly approaching profitability despite the disruptive nature of Scrum implementation.

Several Communities-of-Practice were established to ensure wide agreement on technical decisions and process, town hall meetings were regularly convened, and improved metrics and KPIs were developed and put in place.

Siebel CRM Implementation Project for Vodafone

Delivered a major Siebel upgrade after a series of internal resources had been unable to successfully complete the work.

The three-month effort included a review of this project-in-distress, revised launch planning, evaluation and revision of technical plans, executive communication, coordination across the entire company to minimize downtime of the related call center, and communication to the international Vodafone Center of Excellence on progress. Because the upgrade had been postponed multiple times, only certain steps could allow for a rollback in case of an emergency, making the project somewhat risky and challenging. The upgrade went smoothly during an overnight launch, to schedule, and with no major issues arising post-upgrade.

EU-funded Open Payments Ecosystem Project

Led a development team of 40 developers to successfully conclude a €4 million EU-funded innovation project.

With six months left to completion, the €4M EU-funded Open Payments Ecosystem project lost its project manager and brought Meko on to finish the effort. An assessment was done shortly after engagement showed the run rate of the project to be much higher than previously reported and offshore staffing was cut to reflect the actual budget. The scope of the project was carefully evaluated and re-prioritized. All major deliverables were successfully concluded by the deadline, and the project passed all subsequent audits and EU reporting requirements.
2009 - 2012

Master's Degree in Anthropology (Underwater Archaeology)

Texas A&M University - Texas, USA

2007 - 2008

Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology, History, and English

Washington State University - Washington, USA

AUGUST 2017 - PRESENT

Certified Agile Leadership (CAL-I)

Scrum Alliance

AUGUST 2017 - PRESENT

Professional Scrum Master Level III (PSM III)

Scrum.org

MAY 2017 - PRESENT

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

Scrum Alliance

AUGUST 2016 - PRESENT

Professional Scrum Master Level I (PSM I)

Scrum.org

JUNE 2015 - PRESENT

Professional Scrum Master Level II (PSM II)

Scrum.org

JUNE 2007 - PRESENT

Advanced Project Management Certificate

Stanford Univeristy

JUNE 2003 - PRESENT

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Institute (PMI)

Tools

Microsoft Project, Microsoft Excel, Jira, Office 365, Slack, Skype for Business, Project Management & Work Tracking Tools, Asana, Trello, Atlassian, Confluence, Zoom, Basecamp, Bugzilla

Industry Expertise

Telecommunications, Technology, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), Financial Services, Retail & Wholesale, Automotive, Government, Premium Content Subscriptions

Paradigms

Agile Workflow, Agile Software Development, Scrum, Agile Project Management, Agile, B2B, Waterfall Delivery, Waterfall Development, Requirements Analysis, Lean Project Management, PMBOK, Rapid Prototyping, Agile Product Management, Kanban, Agile Leadership, Lean, Change Management, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Manual Testing, ITIL Continual Service Improvement (CSI), B2C, Microservices, Agile Delivery, Application Architecture, Database Design, DevOps

Platforms

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), SharePoint, iOS, Windows, Windows XP, Linux, Android

Other

Project Delivery, Project Lifecycle, Project Planning, Software Development Management, Agile Transformation, Agile Sprints, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Certified Scrum Professional, Scrum Master, PMI, Archaeology, Startups, Early-stage Startups, Small Business, Project Management, Project Management Office (PMO), Mobile/Web Project Management, Analysis, Startup Consulting, Agile Program Management, Process Improvement Project Management, Project Rescue, Distressed/Special Situations, Applications, Web Applications, Mobile Applications, Business Applications, Web & Mobile Applications, Best Practices, Business to Business (B2B), Business, Budgeting, Lean Budgets, Business Cases, Business Logic, Global Business, Business Agility, Business Rules, Business Coaching, Business Solutions, Business Reporting, Business Processes, IT Business Analysis, Risk Analysis, Needs Analysis, Backlog Grooming, Backlog Management, Feature Analysis, Agile Practices, Agile Certified Practitioner, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), Scrum Coaching, Project Management Operations, Cross-departmental Collaboration, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Cross-functional Collaboration, Business Transformation Project Management, Business Transformation, Waterfall Methodology, User Requirements, Project Timelines, Project Management & Delivery, Program Management, Time Management, Team Management, Risk Management, Sprint Planning, IT Project Management, Project Scheduling, Sprints, Sprint Retrospectives, Client Delivery Management, Team Leadership, Communication, Stakeholder Management, Strategic Planning & Execution, Web Project Management, Detail-oriented, Digital Project Management, Vendor Management, Accountability, Planning, Operations, Project Tracking, Coaching, Project Coordination, Conflict Resolution, Meetings, Organization, Work Breakdown Structure, Cost Control, Scope Management, Software Implementation, Certified Project Manager, Resource Allocation, Scope of Work, Scope, Productivity Improvement, Complex Problem Solving, Software Project Management, Integration, Project Management Professional (PMP), Creative Thinking, Mentorship & Coaching, Prototyping, Project Estimation, Functional Requirements, Business Requirements, Web Platforms, Project Reporting, Release Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Creativity, Resource Management, Product Development, Complex Program Management, International Projects, SaaS, Training & Training Content Development, Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), Business Strategy, GAP Analysis, Systems Analysis, Process Optimization, Process Design, Governance, Mobile, QA Leadership, QA Automation, Business Analysis, Quality Assurance (QA), Training, IT Service Management (ITSM), Technical Project Management, Process Improvement, Workflow Optimization, Agile Coaching, Remote Team Leadership, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Apps, App UI, App Store, Application Monitoring, Beta Testing, Billing, Business Design, Online Business, Business Planning, Business Advisory, Business Research, Business Ownership, Feature-driven Development (FDD), Feature Planning, Test Cases, Agile Product Delivery, Lean Startups, Scrum Product Owner, Scrum Product Owner Contractor, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO), Fintech Consultant, Business Management, Risk, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), Business Transformation Program Management, Digital, Digital Transformation, Digital Transformation Program Management, Management Consulting, Product Owner, Product Ownership, Enterprise Product Ownership, Software as a Service (SaaS), Waterfall Modeling, User Stories, Databases, Open Source, Product Management, Product Roadmaps, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Roadmaps, Mobile App Development, Reporting, Leadership, Data Migration, Business Intelligence (BI), Forecasting, Financial Modeling, Initial Public Offerings, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Investments, Discovery Workshops, Project Discovery, Portfolio Management, Dashboards, Analytical Dashboards, Facilitation, IT Projects, Business Operations, Team Mentoring, Hybrid Project Management, Discovery, Vendor Selection, Lean Portfolio Management, Enterprise Product Portfolios, COE, eCommerce, Technical Product Management, Mobile Apps, Objectives & Key Results (OKRs), Virtual Reality (VR), Customer Support, Business to Consumer (B2C), ISO 9001, ITIL, Manual QA, Manual Software Testing, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), IT Security, Scrumban, Organizational Design, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Fintech, New Products, Feature Prioritization, React, RESTful Microservices, Documentation, GDPR, App Development, Wireframe to Product, Strategy, Process Documentation, Business Card Design, Agile DevOps, Agile Deployment, Professional Agile Leadership (PAL), Agile Release Training, Compliance, Chief Operations Officer (COO), HRIS, Business Development, Social Networks, Relational Databases, Data Modeling, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Teams, Stakeholder Mapping, Process Flows, COO, Human Resources (HR), 3D, IT Program Management, Product Comparison, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Chatbots, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Facial Recognition, Healthcare IT, React Native, Augmented Reality (AR), Unity3D, Operational Assessments, Notion

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