Project manager looking at AR screen with Gantt chart schedule or planning showing tasks and deadlines
Michael Neubacher works as a project manager in the area of “Development & Delivery Management”. In this interview, he tells us what his day-to-day work is like and how he got to this position.
Michael, what does the Project Management post involve?
My main task is coordinating projects between my business unit’s autonomous, agile Self-Contained Units (SCUs) – across team and department boundaries.
For a specific project, I look at aspects such as: What should be changed in the existing product management process? What should the details of a feature workflow be? The goal is to have uniform processes for developers, product owners and customers to work with. To achieve this, I consult with department and team leaders who tell me where improvements can be made. I also visualise the current processes and evaluate the degree to which they are following ideal processes. If deviations occur, I help the individual teams find the causes.
Another task is improving the tools we use. For developers and project managers, tools should be simple to use and require minimal administrative effort. No tool is irreplaceable, which is why I am also interested in the many project management applications on the market.
At the moment, I am very interested in coaching. In our project management team, we share our project management experience with all interested employees.
What was your career path to this position?
I joined Porsche Austria in 2000 as a trainee in the “New Media” department. Two years later I moved to Porsche Informatik. That is when the website for the Austrian car dealerships and other Internet applications were being developed. One of my main responsibilities at that time was the quality assurance of the Euro conversion for DasWeltauto and also the documentation of new tools.
In the years that followed I had numerous other areas of responsibility. I was IT coordinator for the partner countries, head of a support and QM team and had various project management roles.
So you have held numerous positions within Porsche Informatik. What made you decide to take on this new post?
It was the challenge of organising a business unit’s project processes and requirements management processes for my 300 or so colleagues. First, I have to understand how the existing processes work and how our tools (Jira, Confluence, the Notes database, etc.) interact. With this understanding, I then look for optimisation opportunities.
This post takes me out of direct project management and makes me an attentive observer of the process landscape. It also gives me the opportunity to develop more in the direction of coaching. I help project managers, for example, with our project management process, agile methods and using our PM tools.
From today’s perspective, what advice would you give to yourself back in 2000 when you first joined the company?
budget, scope and time, no matter what the cost. That caused me sleepless nights. I have learned that project managers cannot influence these parameters all by themselves.
My advice: Do your best and remain calm. Find the right balance between healthy dedication and necessary detachment.