A day in the life of a Project Manager in retail

Grayce Analyst, Andrew Frain shares his experience with Grayce and how it’s helped set him up for success in his future career.

Andy has been on our Development Programme for two years and is currently working as a Project Manager at Pets at Home.

What were your immediate priorities on client site?

I made sure that I could hit the ground running as much as possible. At the time, I felt I had a lot of technical skills I’d need to develop. So, I focused on making sure I got up to speed in terms of the systems the client were using, as well as making sure, within the first month, that I knew everything there was to know about the project I was going to be managing.

What are some of the key challenges faced by your client?

Certainly from my experience, we’ve had massive increases in the level of governance since the partnership with Grayce began. The client identified a need for it and the Grayce Community have really driven that change using the variety of change qualifications we’ve got and drawing on the experience of our colleagues at Pets at Home who’ve worked in a number of different industries.

How have your skills improved since joining Grayce?

Having looked at it from the outside, I didn’t really appreciate what a diverse range of skills there were in change delivery, and what a multi-faceted industry it is. My skills have developed vastly - facilitating meetings, supplier management, conversations with senior stakeholders. I think tailoring your style to deal with such a diverse range of people really is probably the biggest improvement in skills for me.

How much responsibility have you been able to build into your role on client site?

The first project I delivered was quite a big one for the business strategy, but budget-wise relatively low-key. And then I moved onto a new project, whereby I was just managing one of four workstreams which was near to completion anyway, so I just took that over from someone else. And then, within a couple of months, I’d gone from managing that workstream to managing all the finances, managing all the governance, and being a kind of global PMO role for the whole project, while maintaining my PM responsibilities on my workstream. So, it’s quite a vast increase in terms of responsibility in what is probably the biggest project Pets at Home have done in recent times.

If your Assignment Lead could describe you in two sentences, what would they say?

I think they’d probably say enthusiastic, go-getter attitude, and not afraid to take on anything really – as well as being transparent with timelines, and not being afraid to challenge back. She’s previously said I’m very direct, but in a friendly and positive way.

How would you describe the perfect Grayce Analyst?

For me, the biggest thing is having the drive to continuously improve. You have this opportunity in so many different businesses, depending on where you’re deployed to develop skills there immediately from the day you start. The exposure you get is massive! You’re given a lot of responsibility. And provided they understand what you can do, and you demonstrate that drive, the sky is the limit really – from my experience anyway. So I’d say drive, determination, and the ability to be adaptable and learn on the job are probably the three traits that I think have the most value.

What does the Grayce experience mean for your future career?

It's opened up doors that I hadn’t previously considered would be open to me. I’ve had a couple of other jobs before joining Grayce and it’s probably the first job where I felt like it’s something I could truly excel in.

I’ve had exposure to people far up in the change industry within the client site. Watching what they do on a day-to-day basis, and the kind of things I achieved in my first twelve months alone has boosted my aspirations. I’m very much aiming to get to the top in change, so a Head of Change role. Perhaps, with enough time, a Director in IT would be quite an interesting challenge. Certainly things that, if you’d have asked me a couple of years ago, I’d have never even considered would be a career for myself.

Why should your peers join Grayce?

From a professional perspective, immediately you’re given the chance to excel and drive your own development, as well as driving real change on client site.

On a personal level, the people I’ve met through Grayce have all been absolutely lovely. They're so switched-on. You can have really engaging conversation with any of them. The socials are really, really fun. You get a core group which is just growing month by month. I'm on the CSR Team and the work we’re doing for charity is awesome. As a holistic experience, it’s been great! I make no reservations about saying it’s been my favourite job since I left university.

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