Smita Das, Project Manager in London, United Kingdom
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Smita Das

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Location
London, United Kingdom
Toptal Member Since
April 6, 2019

A highly experienced project manager, product manager, and scrum master based in London, Smita helps businesses define, plan, and deliver their projects and products using agile, user-centered, and lean practices. With 15+ years of experience, she is a safe pair of hands who can bring complex products to life while creating an enjoyable and supportive environment for the team.

Project Highlights

Senior Project Manager
Led a large program of work to design and build a cutting edge, interactive museum in New York. Launched in January 2019.
Program Manager
I was brought in to inject focus and enable delivery across the product and development teams for this fintech startup.
Senior Project Manager
Led the customer experience team for Fidelity Investments as part of a major digital transformation program.

Expertise

Work Experience

Project Manager

2023 - 2023
Sidekick Enterprises, Inc.
  • Worked closely with the clients and team to quickly elicit and define a well-structured and achievable product backlog.
  • Led the discovery phase needed to absorb and process previous work and quickly output a clear roadmap for MVP delivery. The client had already worked with a previous agency that had produced wireframes.
  • Built a robust and feature-filled MVP launched in the App Store after 14 weeks of development.
  • Accomplished a huge amount in the timeframes due to a great team, process, and communication, which allowed us to work as efficiently as possible, shipping a demo-able working software from week one.

Technical Project and Product Manager

2023 - 2023
Vital Network Inc.
  • Joined the team as a project manager with a heavy focus on product management duties. Steered the client and team through discovery into implementation, ensuring we had what we needed to deliver the MVP in 12 weeks successfully.
  • Wrote the backlog and worked closely with the designer and client to create a prototype. Collaborated closely with the developers on a daily basis to ensure they were free of blockers and able to proceed as efficiently as possible.
  • Donned the hat of a QA lead. Wrote test scripts based on the user stories and used Jira to raise, track, and prioritize defects.

Product Manager and Scrum Master

2022 - 2022
Bafta
  • Invited back to this prestigious organization to design, build, and deploy a Fire TV app for BAFTA members, which was urgently needed for voting season.
  • Led the early discovery experiments to help us set the project's technical direction in a feasible and validated manner.
  • Delivered the product on time and within budget, which was critical to meeting the voting season deadlines.

Senior Project Manager

2022 - 2022
Yes Holistic
  • Worked with founders to solidify roadmap and translate this into an executable backlog.
  • Took over the reins for the development team, enabling more productive and focused meetings. Was able to work with the team to solve a critical defect within two weeks of joining; this issue had been open for almost four months.
  • Re-organized the Asana backlog and ceremonies and encouraged a more independent and self-managing team culture, coupled with coaching.

Project Lead

2021 - 2022
Phorest
  • Brought on to bring structure and transparency to an in-flight, business-critical digital transformation program. Quickly implemented simple and effective process changes that course-corrected and stabilized the project.
  • Worked closely with the engineering teams and development director to realign business-critical projects with business priorities, enabling the team to deliver improved measurable results within one month of joining.
  • Coached and paired with the product owner in writing user stories and acceptance criteria and being ready for sprint planning meetings.

Senior Project Manager

2020 - 2022
Source Elements LLC
  • Joined the team during the nascent product definition stage for their new flagship product. Responsible for eliciting the vision from the CEO, crafting the backlog, and setting up a scrum delivery framework for the cross-functional team.
  • Re-organized the backlogs and separated work between development, DevOps, and support. Set up systems to enable a more transparent feedback loop from customer support into the product development function.
  • Helped the CEO set out her vision in a roadmap and supported her in prioritizing and communicating this vision to the teams.

Agile Project Manager

2021 - 2021
Halo Screening
  • Worked with founders to solidify and refine the initial design and workflow. Helped to clearly define the MVP and thus get the company to deliver in under three months.
  • Set up and ran the delivery framework. This involved a level of coaching to the founders, who were known for the practical application of Scrum.
  • Took on the role of day-to-day testing of both the back-office and consumer-facing app. This helped us spot issues quickly and ensure quality within our tight timeframes.

Project/Product Manager

2020 - 2020
Instrumental (www.weareinstrumental.com)
  • Brought in to bring structure and focus to the development and product function of this successful start-up in London.
  • Implemented an agile delivery framework ensuring the team worked with clarity around priorities.
  • Led the formation and definition of a product roadmap for the year based high-level business objectives and goals. This roadmap was elicited via several rounds of meetings and workshops with the company's C-level executives and team leads.
  • Recommended and subsequently managed the transition of support tasks to an off-shore team to enable the core engineering team to focus on building the roadmap items/.
  • Kicked off a major project to migrate back-end systems to be managed and hosted by an off-shore partner.
  • Mentored and trained an internal staff member to take over as product owner.

Project Manager

2019 - 2020
FreeRoots
  • Created a product backlog of user stories for this greenfield startup in the online advocacy space.
  • Collaborated with the lead designer to enable a customer-focused approach to the design phase, including prototyping and usability testing.
  • Set up and ran an agile delivery framework with 1-week sprints and weekly reviews with the sponsors.
  • Managed the project through the full project lifecycle from inception to delivery and was re-engaged post-launch for further advisory and hands-on tasks on the use of analytics.
  • Designed, built, and delivered a digital advocacy platform together with the team in three months, fulfilling the clients' brief and enabling a successful launch.

Product Manager

2019 - 2019
Pattrn Studio
  • Worked as a product manager for a redesign program for this agency's largest client, AXA-IM, a leading asset manager.
  • Ensured a thorough audit; the record was captured and tracked to ensure all the required pages were carried over. The program was focused on the redesign of the institutional investment websites.
  • Served as a key stream lead in this extensive, complex program of work. I quickly identified, documented, and communicated timelines, dependencies, and blockers to keep the project on track.

Senior Project Manager

2018 - 2019
Banked
  • Worked closely with the CEO and product analysts to elicit requirements and define MVP.
  • Set up the scrum framework and facilitated all ceremonies.
  • Created and managed the overall schedule of wider dependencies and milestones.
  • Drove a user-centered design approach, making use of surveys and interviews to understand user needs.
  • Acted as a proxy for the CEO/product owner during sprint reviews.

Senior Project Manager

2016 - 2018
SPYSCAPE
  • Managed the overall program of work which involved multiple concurrent streams of activity with many dependencies.
  • Reported on progress and blockers to board every week.
  • Managed a large cross-functional team of designers and developers to deliver six interactive games for the museum. The full experience was delivered in 16 months from concept to launch.
  • Ensured teams worked on the right priorities by managing game backlogs and sprint planning.
  • Drove the use of early prototyping and usability testing to de-risk the possibility of expensive changes further down the track.

Project/Product Manager

2016 - 2016
BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts)
  • Managed the delivery of a greenfield technology project for this prestigious British institution.
  • Defined the product with the business manager by conducting interviews with potential users and creating a backlog of user stories.
  • Created the functional wireframes to enable the visual designer to quickly craft polished designs.
  • Prepared and presented our reports.

Project Manager

2015 - 2015
Elsewhen
  • Managed a team of developers and designers in the delivery of a product for Google.
  • Worked with a very large data set, creating an easy to use tool that enables strategists and marketers to extract useful insights easily from large and complex data sets.
  • Supported a user-centric and lean approach to product development.
  • Worked directly with Google customer to agree contract, schedule, and scope.

Senior Project Manager

2014 - 2015
Fidelity Investments
  • Served as a senior PM on a large digital transformation program. Brought in to bring structure and ensure we focused on the right priorities.
  • Worked as part of a global team to design and build new digital assets in line with the new branding. I shaped the initial backlog and aligned the large dispersed team with a clear vision.
  • Created a wiki early on to give all team members and stakeholders a reliable and single source of truth.

Project Manager

2014 - 2015
Picsolve
  • Introduced scrum and coached team members into adopting new practices with ease and enjoyment.
  • Managed all ceremonies and ensuring backlog reflected priorities of the business.
  • Enabled delivery of two crucial strategic projects to introduce multi lingual capability and achieve feature parity across iOS and Android platforms.
  • Reported directly to the board on team progress and morale.

Senior Project Manager

2014 - 2014
Fidelity Investments
  • Led the customer experience work-stream to rethink Fidelity's portfolio of digital experiences.
  • Utilized user-centered design practices to develop prototypes to road-test new features.
  • Involved many stakeholders and managed the efforts of three business analysts to break down and rework complex financial products and existing workflows into improved user experiences.
  • Worked alongside several other PMs to ensure the complex program of work ran smoothly.

Senior Project Manager

https://spyscape.com/

Led a large program of work to design and build a cutting edge, interactive museum in New York. Launched in January 2019.

A highly creative and unique vision was realized with the launch of SPYSCAPE, an interactive spy museum experience. Prototyping and user testing were central to our success as well as the tight management of scope in order to achieve our time frames. I was responsible for leading the design, development, and fabrication of the six interactive games which form the backbone of the museum experience.

Program Manager

https://banked.com/

I was brought in to inject focus and enable delivery across the product and development teams for this fintech startup.

This well funded open banking start-up needed to produce valuable, working software efficiently and quickly. I was an early hire and collaborated with the CEO and product analysts to produce a well-defined backlog which I then managed the delivery of via scrum, running all ceremonies and managing the backlog via JIRA.

Senior Project Manager

https://www.fidelity.co.uk/

Led the customer experience team for Fidelity Investments as part of a major digital transformation program.

A complex program of work to review and improve key digital user journeys across a number of retail products. I was responsible for managing a large team of UX designers, business analysts, and front-end developers in delivering and testing prototypes for usability testing.

Project Manager

http://www.freeroots.com

Led a team of developers, designs, and test engineers in the design, build and launch of an online advocacy tool.

The client's budget and launch strategy meant the project had to be launched in three months from kick-off. Through effective and transparent planning around estimates and priorities, we were able to ensure a robust MVP was launched on time and on budget.

We adopted a user-led approach to design, we created a prototype and user-tested with 5+ testers before investing in front end development.

Program Manager

Set up the engineering and product teams with a framework and tools to enable sustainable and impactful delivery.

I was brought in to help the business and engineering teams align and successfully deliver value add projects. My focus was creating a roadmap that could be easily shared and managed as well as instilling healthy working practices by way of an agile delivery framework that ensured the developers could focus and deliver on the highest priority projects. Over four months there was a genuine transformation in how the company working and delivering against its business goals. I also mentored and trained an internal member of staff to take over as product owner.
1995 - 1998

Master's Degree in Law and Economics

University of Manchester - UK

SEPTEMBER 2007 - PRESENT

Certified Scrum Master

Scrum Alliance

JULY 2006 - PRESENT

Prince 2

QA

JULY 2005 - PRESENT

Diploma in Project Management

Open University

Tools

Trello, Atlassian Suite, Project Management & Work Tracking Tools, Jira, Balsamiq, Spreadsheets, Asana, Google Analytics, OmniGraffle, GitHub, Pivotal Tracker, Microsoft Project, HubSpot, Figma

Industry Expertise

Banking & Finance, Financial Services, Retail & Wholesale, Music, Asset Management, Gambling, Entertainment & Leisure, Digital Agencies, Education Technology (Edtech), Public Sector

Paradigms

Agile Project Management, Scrum, PRINCE2, Kanban, Usability Testing, Requirements Analysis, Agile, Agile Workflow, Agile Product Management, Agile Software Development, Agile Leadership, Testing, User Acceptance Testing (UAT), Waterfall Delivery, XP, Test-driven Development (TDD), UX Design, Data Science

Platforms

iOS, Android, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Windows, Linux, Shopify

Other

Discovery Workshops, Mobile Applications, Design Sprints, Apps, Product Management, Product Owner, Project Management, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Digital Project Management, Backlog Management, Sprint Planning, Websites, Digital Transformation Program Management, Project Discovery, Agile Practices, Project Planning, Project Scoping, Estimation & Planning, Product Roadmaps, Project Timelines, Scrum Master, Software Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Business Requirements, Technical Project Management, Proof of Concept (POC), Feature Prioritization, Project Tracking, Mobile App Development, Estimations, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Project Reporting, Governance, Leadership, Complex Problem Solving, Communication, Agile Program Management, Project Management & Delivery, IT Project Management, Discovery, Workshops, Business Analysis, Legacy Software, Sprint Retrospectives, Project Rescue, Teamwork, System Migration, Web Applications, Best Practices, Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Coordination, Cross-functional Collaboration, Startups, Stakeholder Engagement, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Agile Coaching, Website Redesign, Story Mapping, Lean Product Development, User Stories, Program Management, Digital Transformation, Mobile UX, Advertising, Retrospective Techniques, User Research, APIs, Waterfall Methodology, Product Discovery, Technical Requirements, eCommerce, Product Development, Game Development, Project Estimation, Enterprise Project Management, Native Mobile Apps, Product Design, User Experience (UX), Operational Workflow, Business to Business (B2B), Databases, Integration, Process Improvement Project Management, Process Documentation, Business Process Optimization, Operational Assessments, Data, Product Strategy, App Integration, Process Optimization, Notion, Budget Management, Resource Management, Client Management, Client Presentations, Analysis, Digital Advertising, Mobile, Social Media Strategy, Videos, Microsoft Teams, DSDM, UX Flows, Wireframing, Project Budget Management, UX Strategy, Web, Mobile Apps, Single-page Applications (SPA), Portals, User Requirements, Writing & Editing, Facilitation, Workshop Facilitation, Social Media, Bootstrap, Quality Assurance (QA), Gaming, Encoding, Digital Strategy, Education, Media, Online Banking, LAMP, Lean Startups, Music Industry, Request for Proposal (RFP), Project Management Office (PMO), PMO, SDKs, Web Development, Virtual Reality (VR), Shopify Customizations, Video Streaming, K-12 Education, Social Networking, Machine Learning, Event Management, Data Migration, FireTV, Software Development

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