About the series
This series of posts came to me as an idea of highlighting personal experiences and solutions of managing and being managed, focusing on a humanized approach to deliver good results and consequently a better society by countering the imposed disposability of human workforce.
I have had all kinds of professional experiences for the past 11 years, from working on a multi-billion company branch with a lot of established rules and structures, to having my own small business and later helping another one grow. Those experiences made me go through different roles in different environments, from the frontlines of development to the management of teams with +50 people in a total of more than 180 projects.
So, through many successes and failures, I’ll share my view on what makes a good management, how people can be nurtured to become an A-Team, and how we can make work be worth our time in our brief existence.
You just got assigned to a project and, even if you were the one to make the deal with a client, you might not have all the answers to make it happen yet. Many questions might come to mind, after all, what is the project about? Who is the client? How do I assemble the team? Should we have a meeting with 20 people to brief everyone? What if somebody new joins? What if somebody leaves? The list of questions can become quite long and eventually meaningless. That’s why I prefer to break down a project in small, but significant bites of information.
(I’m writing this while hungry, so cope with me in this next example, it’ll make sense).
Let’s imagine you’re about to eat a burger and have a notion of what its ingredients are, but it’s only after you start nibbling on it that you start to break down and identify the different flavors and textures, and only through that a full understanding of the burger comes to mind. And I mean literally! Especially if it's a unique good or bad flavor, it is now impressed in your brain and helps you to differentiate burgers and even different franchises!
It’s the same with a project, even though they might not be as tasty, you first start with an overview of what they are or might be, but only after going through its essential components that you understand what makes it unique and how to prepare it. For example, one can see a videogame project as just another game. But what kind of game is that? Is it for mobile or desktop? Who is the player base? What is the genre of the game?
And just like the burger, after you know at least what kind of bread and patty, what sauce, what cheese and what vegetables, you have an understanding to either go through or prepare the burger. I like to think of each main ingredient as a Lexia, opening up a branched understanding of the main subject, and it’s through them that you can delve even deeper to know how the tomato is grown, who made the bread, what is the sauce's secret ingredients and so on. The thing is that this more complex information will be necessary only later on, knowing the fundamental details are the first step to getting started.
With all this in mind, I’ll be breaking down in the next post of this series what is necessary to kickstart a project by knowing your business, understanding a purpose of the project and how to efficiently communicate with your team, your client and, most importantly, yourself.
Until next time!
It’s hard to resume more than seven years in a brief text, especially when it’s filled with so many remarkable moments. A recurring memory I have is watching the center of Helsinki from our previous office, where I would many times stop to watch people passing by or contemplate the snow falling gently to the window, slowly covering the roofs during the graveyard shifts while I thought about what the effort I was putting into helping the company grow would mean to my life and to others around me. It’s with this memory in mind that I write this text.
The reasons that triggered my leave from the company are many, but they’re ephemeral and easily eclipsed by all the significant moments in my personal and professional life that the job has provided me. After such a long time of sacrifices and herculean efforts to help the business grow, this rupture is the most significant one in my professional life, but also the most anticipated due to my long time aspirations of working with arts, heritage and technology. But I prefer to leave my aspirations for a future announcement to focus on this moment.
Success is perceived in many ways, for some it's only about finances and the luxury that it brings, for others, status, but for me it's purely about personal plenitude and lifting others into a fulfilling life. My job was rough, and like many other immigrants, I was able to build a new life halfway across the planet from scratch ( I guarantee that there isn’t any “garage myth” here). Now, seven and a half years later, I'm not rich or even have much, but I got more than I have ever wished for: A roof above my head to call home, countless meaningful experiences, food on the table and my own family. (can't forget all the cats, of course).
Having been the production’s backbone since the very start of the company, and being a producer until my last days, I had not only the responsibility, but the duty to provide sustainable conditions to nurture and lift the people around me, even when conditions were unfavorable. And that's what I consider to be the greatest success in my professional life.
I sleep with a warm heart whenever I think of the many lives I was able to transform even with the limited “power” and influence I had, giving opportunities for people to grow and excel not only their skills, but also their perceptions of the world and, with that, their own humanity.
Those results were often achieved through managerial skills, other times by simply giving a little boost and autonomy to the team to do what they do best, and, in special times, it meant giving people the opportunity to participate in projects that would take them abroad, improve their life quality or even flying an airplane or visiting the beach for the first time!
This nurturing led us to unimaginable places: traveling around the world, meeting people with diverse backgrounds, visiting places that only a few can enter, pioneering the use of videogames technology in other fields and even being awarded for that! The most significant of so many cases was the Virtual Helsinki project, which has been the company flagship since its start. A project like many others that could only be achieved by the collective effort and growth of everyone involved for many years. And the results were clear: it opened many new opportunities and guided us into uncharted territories when it comes to real-time technology and business development.
All those moments of exploration, pioneering and, quite honestly, collective struggles, created a sense of camaraderie that I haven’t experienced anywhere else so far, but something I aim to recreate in future endeavors with more sustainable conditions. As one of the “OGs" (Original Gangstas) of the company, the very first employee to move abroad and a pioneer in the XR field, my sacrifices and opportunities allowed me to see the furthest, but nothing matches the feeling of knowing many others are now able to also fly the highest.
I yearn that our paths cross in future opportunities, for now I wish all of you a prosperous and, most importantly, a happy life. Remember to always believe in your own capabilities, fight for your rights, protect a sustainable professional life, be compassionate, and lift others whenever possible. Your future belongs to you, but the present is for all of us.
It's with a clear heart and teary eyes of a fulfilled spirit that I bid my farewells to ZOAN and all the humans I met along the way.