The work of a project
manager is to make things
happen, not to point fingers.
What’s the one skill
every project manager
The ability to communicate at different
levels. Whether it’s for the
C-suite, the board, your
team or your customers,
the message and the way
you convey it should be
What’s the best profes-
sional advice you’ve
Know yourself, don’t
try to be anyone else
and look for people who
complement your vision
and highlight your blind
spots. You don’t want to
work with people who
think exactly like you.
What’s been a
valuable lesson you’ve
learned from traveling?
I travel a lot for my work—
Romania, Mexico, Brazil,
Italy, the United States.
Getting to know new
people from completely
different cultures has
been a revelation for me.
It’s changed the way I see
projects because I realized
there’s more than one
good way of doing things.
Can you describe an organizational
As specialized buyers, we used to be organized
according to the market—as specialists in raw materials or pumps or parts. But this wasn’t the way our
customers needed us to be organized. So the Exiros
To Customers program, or E2C, involves an organizational alignment with our customers.
We conducted a major reorganization over six
to eight months in one of our biggest offices in
Mexico to provide our customers a more personalized service. For instance, let’s say you’re
a maintenance engineer working at one of our
customers’ steel mills, and you have to execute a
work order involving three categories of goods:
parts, personal protection and fuel. Those
requirements used to land on three different
desks at Exiros. Now, that engineer speaks with
just one person. It makes more sense for them.
How do you ensure this kind of change is
Changing an organization and its roles is always
a big challenge, but the most important thing
is communication. The goals were clearly communicated by top management. Otherwise, it
would’ve been a struggle for us to convince
everyone that this change was important.
We developed a very thorough communication
strategy for the various stakeholders, and we kept
communication flowing with emails, flyers and even
videos we developed and posted on our intranet. So
everyone is on the same page.
How did you introduce project manage-
ment culture to the organization?
Exiros is an operation-driven company full of
engineers, and engineers usually see things as
processes, not projects. Project management is
sometimes seen as bureaucracy. So I had to convince them that projects need to be managed.
When you’re installing something new, people
need to be able to trust you, to tell you their
problems. You need to let them know you’re
able to walk in their shoes.
So my team and I started to convince the
engineers by showing them how we manage
projects. Instead of giving my stakeholders tons
of documents and spreadsheets, we focused on
a few important aspects. For example, having
every project listed on a shared site, documenting the objectives and having a clear governance
structure defined for every project.
When our employees saw that projects were
organized and the goals were clear, they started
to see that it was worth it.
What was an early project that showed
them its worth?
During 2013, we conducted a review of the
imports process, which is very complicated in
Argentina. Together with the IT team, we developed a new set of tools to monitor every shipment
and we defined internal processes for the imports
department. Then we had to get the imports people on board.
We held a lot of meetings where they brainstormed
ideas so that they felt like they owned this change and
it wasn’t something imposed on them. This project
showed that not only do you need resources to get
things done, you need to manage them properly. I
think they felt very proud of the results.
What are you most proud of doing at Exiros?
Installing project and program culture in the company. Whenever senior leadership has to undertake a transformation, they come to the projects
team. That didn’t happen before. Also, I’m very
proud of my team. We’re not afraid to share what
we know. PM