Keeper Spotlight: Q&A With Project Management Consultant, Ivan

At Keeper Solutions, we are very fortunate to be able to work with some amazing people and learn from them. Whether it is discussing the merits of various automation frameworks with two highly experienced QA engineers or chatting all things DevOps with an incredible DevOps engineer, it is always a pleasure to tap into their knowledge and expertise.

One person that we feel incredibly lucky to work with is Senior Project Management Consultant, Ivan Vedak. Ivan started working as a contractor with Keeper Solutions only recently but has already become a valued member of the team.

Recently, we sat down with Ivan to discuss his career to date, his passions and motivations as well as his views on project management and the role project management in the overall development process. But first, we started out by asking how he got into technology…

Ivan: I’ve always been curious about how things operate. I used to disassemble things as a kid to figure out how they worked. A PC with a 286 chip was my first computer (back in 1991) and I started assembling and disassembling computers after that, writing code and exploring the software and hardware side of things. This is what drew me to study physics and more especially particle physics. What could be more fascinating than the tiniest particles that make up the universe?

After that, I moved to study IT. This brought me back to my original love, which was IT and computers. After finishing my studies I spent the following ten years at ISP dealing with various projects and technologies, from SME to international systems, from copper to optics. I then expanded my horizons by working in project management for a business that dealt with smart traffic systems.

Q: You’ve a great deal of experience as a project management consultant. For companies, what are the benefits of having a project manager in their development process?

Ivan: There are numerous benefits of having a good project manager on the roster. This includes a definition of roles and responsibilities, better organization of the team, better workload sharing, better projection, control over the project, and better communication between team and stakeholders.

A good project manager is the glue between numerous components of the project. Sometimes leader, sometimes support, sometimes a shoulder to cry on, sometimes a friend to share things with. Also, projects that have project managers on board tend to be more organized, better planned and executed more precisely. 

Q: How essential is teamwork and collaboration for your role and how do you create an environment that fosters these values?

Ivan: Teamwork, collaboration and communication are the most important values when it comes to building relationships within a team. I think that communication is the key to having good team synergy and a great relationship with customers or stakeholders. 

Most conflicts, misunderstandings and fallouts are a result of miscommunication or not communicating at all. In order to keep the project on track and the team happy, everything needs to be communicated freely, clearly and on time. Eventual alarms, drawbacks and deviations need to be raised immediately and a treatment plan needs to be discussed to mitigate the minuses on the project. 

Q: What are your preferred project management tools? 

Ivan: There are many tools for project management and the process differs for every company, department, and team. Generally, I use one calendar tool, one project planning tool, one task management tool, one time management tool, one collaboration tool and one project reporting tool. 

I like having a single source of truth for every project, so as not to have miscommunication on misinformation on the project. Personally, I prefer JIRA/Confluence/Slack/Google Suite because of the great integration between those resources. Everything is integrated, which saves time and gives validity to the information. 

Q: What are you enjoying most about your role at Keeper right now?

Ivan: Every project manager needs to have a little OCD, to bring order to chaos, to sort things out, and to be precise and organized. The production and development process can be pretty chaotic, especially when working in the highly volatile environment of AGILE development.

I like working on innovative projects, with forward-thinking and motivated teams and individuals. And working with technologies and tools that are cutting-edge. It makes me a special type of happy and proud when we see how our work is affecting our world and the people around us.

Q: Outside of computers, what do you like to do most?

Ivan: I could say two things, gaming and music. 

Gaming was with me from the early days, from DOS games to MMORPGs, and everything in between. I used to code some simple games and translated some of them. I was big into online PVP in MMOs, playing competitively. Now I just suck in LOL, and play isometric RPGs from here and there. 

I’ve dedicated a lot of my life to music. This goes from owning and curating the biggest Croatian hip hop portal to having a hip hop magazine, record label, and music studio. I’ve also participated in a few hip hop groups, and managed a few artists. I ran several hip hop and UK bass music party series and a music festival. On top of all that, I have been a DJ for the last 24 years. As a long-term DJ, I’ve done all sorts of gigs ranging from playing in front of a handful of people to performing at festivals in front of a few thousand. 

A lot of those activities included project management in some shape or form. 

Q: What motivates you?

A: Making things better; learning and making myself better in the process. Everything can be made better in some way, whether it’s more optimized, more fluid or easier. 

In life, I try to work on things that will help people, and make a good impact. Also, I don’t want to be the smartest guy in the room. That would mean I am in the wrong room!

A huge thank you to Ivan for taking part in the interview and sharing some photos with us.

For more employee spotlights check out:

Employee Spotlight: Q&A with Emma Wilson, Our Senior Marketing Manager

Can You C# The Future? An Interview with Kristijan Kralj

Employee Spotlight: Q&A with Keeper Solutions CTO, Nick Holme

Employee Spotlight: Q&A with Giovanni Bonessa From our Costa Rica Centre