We met Judit in our brand-new office space at Deák square: she just dropped by for a few hours in the morning, then rushed off to her afternoon meetings, as she’s the project leader of several, high-importance projects at one of our banking partners.
Hi Judit! Please tell us about how you became a team member at SCALER. What is your role in the team?
I was contacted last fall when they were looking for a project manager in the banking sector, and since I already had similar experience and liked the position, I gladly accepted their offer. I started my work as a project manager at one of the banking partners of SCALER after finishing my tasks at my previous workplace, in January 2023.
Those who are involved in project management would probably ask you this question first: what methodology do you follow, the classic waterfall method or the agile one?
Actually, both are reflected in my work. There are two possible situations: it’s either the circumstances of the project that determine the methodology, or we apply a hybrid approach.
The hybrid mode means that the classic project phases are still present (preparation, planning, implementation, closing—ed.), but the scope and schedule can be managed flexibly. So, in order to meet market or business goals, change requests can be added to the project scope—this means that the rough frameworks (like budget, broad scope, deadline) are determined in the preparation phase, but the partial tasks are subject to change, so we manage them as backlog issues (this method is also referred to as ‘iterative methodology’). In addition, in hybrid mode we schedule one status meeting a week, instead of the daily stand-up meetings used in the agile methodology. All in all, we play by both waterfall and agile rules.
How did you become a project manager? What has been your way that led you here?
It’s a bit of a chance happening, actually.
I originally studied PR and communication, and I even thought about becoming a journalist. After that, I got a master's degree in economics. As I have always been a restless person, it was a bit unclear to me what is it that I am willing to do every day for, let’s say, 30 years.
Then one day, at my then workplace, I was asked to help out for 2 weeks as a project manager. That was the first step in my career as a project leader. It’s been 10 years since then, and now I love this profession so much I can not even imagine working in any other role.
If you could be anything else just for one day—anything you want, really, what would it be?
Pastry chef or florist. These things always help me relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Besides, flowers smell lovely, too!
Let’s return for a little while to project management. Is there anything you consider as a hardship in your work?
The different project management methodologies companies and organizations apply can be an obstacle, but if you are flexible enough to tackle this issue, you can develop an efficient working method. There’s always a solution. Maybe it’s even better this way, without every step of the workflow being set in stone.
But it’s definitely a fact (and maybe it’s a drawback of this profession) that there is no such thing as an immediate success. Enterprise projects take longer than just a few weeks, and by the time they are completed, the whole team will have been somewhat exhausted. A round of pats on the shoulder before the team is broken up, and the next day we’re planning the next project and we build a new team.
Maybe this is the reason why I love baking: when you bake, the work you put into it brings tangible results promptly. Besides, it’s a perfect way to work off creative energy. It would certainly lose its magic though, if I had to do it full-time, and I wouldn’t find joy in it anymore, I reckon. I think it’s the monotony and the predictability that would drive me crazy :)
How do you stay up-to-date with developments and the latest project management methodologies?
Through continuous trainings. I keep looking for them for myself proactively. I completed courses in IPMA C, Agile Methodology, Program and Portfolio Management, IT Project Management in the banking sector, just to mention a few—I aim to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subfields as well. I’ve recently learnt the basics of Lean, now I set my sights on Assertive Communication, and I still have a number of things on my mind. I also believe in the importance of soft skill development, and that everybody can make time for what really matters.
You’re a huge fan of sports, what’s your latest hobby?
I used to play football, now I play tennis, but I occasionally do yoga, and I regularly work out with a personal trainer as well. In the last six months I also took up running. Sports have been an integral part of my life since I was 3 years old. By now I’ve learnt to read my body’s signals: I’m getting tired more easily and have less energy if I skip a few weeks. So I should say sport is more than just a hobby for me. I never fail to dedicate time for that.
We still have time for 3 quick questions, don’t take too long to come up with an answer!
Books or series?
If you could only recommend one series, what would it be?
Do you have any bucket list destinations?
There are plenty, but nothing extraordinary—I love cooking, so Tuscany and Sicily are truly appealing to me because of the Italian cuisine. But I’d also love to see the pyramids in Egypt or visit Greece, especially the islands, and immerse myself in Greek culture, history, and lifestyle. Oh and I’m always happy to make a short getaway to Barcelona.
Great destinations! Hope you can visit all of them. Thank you for the interview!