Over his daily coffee, we sat down with REBORN’s UX/Senior Project Manager, Paulus to discuss his role at the agency, his career path and what keeps him inspired.
The Dutch mastermind describes his role at REBORN as being a facilitator of the entire digital production process, making sure all the pieces of the puzzle are kept in place whilst the many processes involved in building a digital product occur.
An average day for Paulus begins relatively early. Highly organised, he starts with recording his previous day’s hours to ensure his workload is carefully managed before opening up his email to begin organising his day.
The role of project management is extremely varied as Paulus explains, “Throughout the day, you are constantly moving in and out of different projects making sure that they are all kept moving at an acceptable pace and that everyone is happy”.
Throughout the week Paulus attends new project briefs, offers assistance on other projects and has regular stand-up progress meetings for ongoing projects. “I do believe you need to know every little detail of the project, no matter how small, so that you will make the best decisions.”
Paulus studied Leisure Management in his native Netherlands, focusing on management of concerts, events, conferences and exhibitions. After graduating, he began freelancing as a ‘Cultural Producer’ where he worked on documentaries, music management, exhibitions, tour management and other arts related projects.
In order to begin focusing on some sort of defined career, he began initiating interviews with musicians and copywriters he knew. His enquiries lead him to the owner of a digital agency (an area he knew little about) and within a year, Paulus found himself working within the agency. “I had never touched a CMS or website before…I didn’t know what to expect” Paulus explains.
When asked about what he enjoyed most about his role as a project manager, Paulus is quick to point out that he enjoys being part of the full cycle of a project. “When a vague brief from a client develops into an amazing piece of finished content, that is what I enjoy most about the role”.
Paulus loves to see growth and how different people respond creatively to a client brief. The “collaboration of beautiful minds”, pushing things and making them into something way beyond anything he could imagine is something he really enjoys.
When questioned about the most difficult part of his role, Paulus pauses, quickly explaining that he wasn’t too sure if it was a difficulty or just an accepted part of his role, “foreseeing issues before they become major problems. It’s always hard and you always have things that come up. I’m not sure if that is something that I find hard, maybe that’s something I like – that excites me.”
Paulus’ practical advice to anyone interested in a career in Project Management and UX was simple:
Divide and Conquer. Break the project down into small manageable proportions that you understand and just work from there.
Extract as much information from your teams as possible. No question is too small.
Trust the people you work with, something Paulus is quick to point out is not specific to just a project
Facilitate as best as possible and help everyone with their needs. Be a team player.
Finally, we asked Paulus what inspired him. “What inspires me? …Everything that can make me better, I like to understand how other people deal with certain situations and I try to incorporate that into my own work and ethos. Music, people, everything… I love life!”
Paulus van der Kolk is the ‘Original Dutch’ and a UX/Senior Project Manager at REBORN.