PROJECT OPERATIONS MANAGER- 'NIYI ADEYEMI

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AG: Position and Name of Company?
NA: Project Operations Manager at EXP Nigeria.

AG: How long have you been with Company?
NA: 2 and half months with this company, though I have been in the Brand industry for over a year now.

AG: What does your job entail?

NA: I am a project manager, so I handle every aspect of a project. It is a community-based project run nationwide so it is pretty large. As the Operations Manager, I am 100% in charge of execution and delivery of the project according to specifications, on time and on budget. But because I also need to have a strategic overview in order to execute it best, I am deeply involved in the conceptualization, budgeting and project launch phases. So, I get to see everything and its fun! I build the plan, the budget, I get to recruit staff to run the project, organize their training, procure materials needed to run the project, manage the project launch/kick off, ensure proper control/monitoring procedures on the project and handle reporting as well. It is just about everything you can think of.

AG: how did you end up on this career path, is this what you saw yourself doing 5years ago
NA: 5 years ago, no. Even up till the time I took up the job, I wasn’t too enthusiastic on the industry but I liked the role I was to play. I love managing detail, so Project management was just fine. 5 years ago, I could have sworn I would be in an HR role today but after doing 2 intensive years of HR with AIESEC (an International youth leadership organization), I felt I did not want to do HR on a daily basis because it could very easily become routine and boring. I was just looking at being engaged in a fun project at the time and the right opportunity just came. With time, I have grown more into the role and I love every minute of it.


AG: What is your typical day like?
NA: I wake up around 6.30 and get to work between 8 and 8.30. I take a quick coffee, settle down to draw my to-do list and skim through news on the internet. I then read all my mails and reply the urgent ones. Then usually I start/continue work on the most urgent things I need to deliver on, otherwise I go see my boss to see if there is anything else I need to be focusing on. No two days are always the same because especially at this current stage of planning before the project kick-off another phase, I have a lot of plans and reports to prepare, so am glued to my laptop. However, during the 10 months of actual execution, I would receive a lot of phone calls from the project teams on the field in different part of the country dealing with wide ranging issues from bus issues, illegal arrests (police and other LGA officials), financing, and minor personnel issues. Then I spend the day trying to sort it out for them on the phone. Every month or so, I also pick my bag and hit the road to inspect what they are doing. My day ends at 5.30 but I usually stay till between 6 and 7 to finish up urgent work or to reply my personal emails in detail.

AG: Most challenging aspect of job and why?
NA: Because it is a huge program run nationwide and with heavy investments, the planning phase is very exhaustive. You have to plan everything from personnel, financials, training, procurement to risk, monitoring, reporting structures, etc. It is challenging but fun too because you just get to elevate your understanding and overview of the project with every new plan developed.

AG: What is it that most people assume about your job that's not true?
NA: That the Brand industry is all about fun and that’s it. True, there’s a lot of fun because we get to run events and promotions amongst other high profile involvements for our Clients but there is a lot of deep planning and careful detailing involved. The margin for error is indeed very slim. We work hard, and we rock hard too!

AG: Favorite aspect of job, least favorite
NA: I just love being able to “manage” the everyday and every detail of the project. I also love the travelling because I get to see the country better and I loved the video shoots for a documentary on the project we had earlier this year! I don’t have a least favorite aspect of the job but as much as I love writing, writing reports could be a routinely boring process!

AG: What is the most important part about a career to you? (Good work, money, security, life balance)
NA: At this stage of my life, money and an opportunity to learn are very important to me. I can quit a job if I feel I am not learning enough or no more learning at all. It has always been my major reason for quitting any job because money always comes at the end of the day. It’s important at the early stage of one’s career to focus a lot on learning and growing because that is what gives you an edge. Money, while important, is not and should not be the ultimate.

AG: Future plans
NA: I hope to take a second degree sometime soon and set up my own company someday! I think most young Nigerians should too!NA: I am a project manager, so I handle every aspect of a project. It is a community-based project run nationwide so it is pretty large. As the Operations Manager, I am 100% in charge of execution and delivery of the project according to specifications, on time and on budget. But because I also need to have a strategic overview in order to execute it best, I am deeply involved in the conceptualization, budgeting and project launch phases. So, I get to see everything and its fun! I build the plan, the budget, I get to recruit staff to run the project, organize their training, procure materials needed to run the project, manage the project launch/kick off, ensure proper control/monitoring procedures on the project and handle reporting as well. It is just about everything you can think of.

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