Pramod is Senior Manager of the Service Project Management Department
After graduating with an MBA and MCS from a university in India, I worked for several Indian companies, one of which was a cell phone manufacturer affiliated with a major Indian consumer electronics manufacturer, where I was involved in application development. I later came to Japan as a business consultant, and after six years, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, which prompted my company to order me to return to my home country. While pondering the possibility of helping Japan in the aftermath of the disaster, I learned about Rakuten’s efforts to encourage Japanese society. Empathizing with its business model, I came to Japan again in 2012 and joined Rakuten.
Resonating with Rakuten’s efforts to support people affected by the disaster through IT.
When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in 2011, I was working as a business consultant in Japan. After the disaster, many foreigners, including myself, returned to their home countries, but I was very concerned about the social situation in Japan and thought that there was something I could do, so I decided to return to Japan. At that time, I learned that Rakuten was contributing to society by supporting people affected by the disaster through IT, which really resonated with me. I also wanted to connect people around the world through IT and help Japanese society recover together, so I quit my job and became a member of Rakuten.
Managing development projects such as “Rakuten Ichiba”.
I am in charge of leading a team of project managers for system development in the Service ＆ Project Management Department of the entire EC Company, which operates “Rakuten Ichiba” and “Rakuten Global Market.” My team has six to eight members, with our mission being to complete various projects on schedule, within budget and without compromising its quality. To achieve this, I strive to clarify the goals of each project as well as accurately understand the qualifications of our engineers and the costs associated with the infrastructure.
I am also working on the challenge of building a team that can handle both business and technical projects. This is one of the most rewarding tasks for me, as I am sure it will greatly help me improve my leadership skills and build my career in the future.
Being a “hub” for coordinating the needs of business stakeholders around the world.
My team always has about 10 to 20 projects going on at any given time, with each project manager working on about three projects at the same time. With so many projects going on at once, we have to constantly make decisions about what to do and how to prioritize them. This is the most difficult task.
The important thing in project management is to listen to the needs and demands of the people involved in the project and to make yourself the “hub” so you may coordinate the various information appropriately. It is also important to set up a work environment where software developers and back office staff can concentrate on their own work.
The more tasks we have, the more communication among members becomes important. At times when we have to handle so many tasks, we try to build strong team relationship through socializing by going to baseball games, cherry blossom picnics and fireworks festivals.
What I love about working at Rakuten
Feeling accomplished when a project is completed.
Since many people are involved in the projects of my department, communication across departments is really important. I find the project management role, bringing all people involved together in one direction, to be very rewarding. In order to get great results in various projects, it is important to first clarify the goals. The project manager must have a clear understanding of what needs to be supplied to the stakeholders at each of the overseas offices of Rakuten and to instill this understanding in the manager and other members.
In addition, we have to manage a wide range of factors such as the quality of engineers, risks, schedules and costs. It is challenging to pursue all these things at the same time, but that is what we project managers are tasked with doing. We must be able to combine and manage all the elements. I always experience a great feeling of accomplishment when we complete a project to the satisfaction of all parties involved on schedule and within the given budget.
What I value in my work
Communicating among members and assuming various risks as a team.
A good project manager must have leadership skills. At Rakuten, to demonstrate a high level of leadership regarding colleagues with various backgrounds, deep project management knowledge and negotiation skills are required. Frequently, as is the case with larger projects, company executives may be directly involved, so accurate communication skills are essential for effectively reporting the situation and asking for their judgment.
If a project it is necessary to immediately determine the cause of the stagnation, and if the person in charge is in a difficult situation, it is necessary to approach their supervisor. In risk management, it is important to rank and prioritize risks. To identify all possible risks and understand the risks in various areas, I believe it is important to have multiple meetings with members to avoid any chance of misunderstanding.
The appeal of working at Rakuten
A great place to develop your skills as a project manager.
People at Rakuten come from different countries and possess different abilities, but everyone works together. My team is a very diverse and multinational environment, so I need to be able to manage diverse people appropriately. We are diverse not only in terms of nationality, but also in terms of business content.
In other words, project management at Rakuten is about uniting diverse human resources and businesses. I think it’s a tough environment for project managers, but I can say that it’s the best place to develop your skills.
In addition, the company culture is open to anything and everything, so anyone who wants to become a project manager can take on the challenge. Even people from other industries can challenge themselves if they learn about IT and software at our company. It is a very blessed working environment for those who are eager to grow.
*The affiliation and contents of the article are based on the contents at the time of the interview.
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