The amazing work of our Project Management Team Lead Lucija Zlatar on implementing a strategic feature for A1 telecom earned her the title of Best Project Manager at the prestigious, internationally recognized IPMA Project Management Awards.
Organized for the eighth time by the Croatian branch of the International Project Management Association, the IPMA Project Management Awards present top projects, promote excellence in the PM community, and provide a framework for assessing one’s own competence in a competitive environment.
Lucija Zlatar won the title of Best Project Manager presenting her work for A1, one of the largest Croatian telecom companies and our long-term client. The project’s objective was to implement a chatbot feature to A1’s mobile app. Strategically important for the client, the goal was to reduce the load on the company’s call center and provide 24/7 user support.
Driving digital transformation since 2005
Our partnership with A1 dates to the early days of Infinum, practically since its formation in 2005. It’s been going on for so long that our CEO Nikola Kapraljević worked on one of A1 projects as a mobile developer.
The scope of our cooperation has varied over the years, and since 2018 we’ve been developing the client’s mobile app, an end-to-end digital experience offering personalized service to every user. The app is well-received on the Croatian market and known for its rich palette of telecommunication services as well as a bold business strategy actively driving digital transformation in the industry.
Reaping success with a sustainable project strategy
Released in October 2021, the feature was an immediate success. The chatbot named Nikša so far received 207,000 inquiries, which translated into 91,000 user sessions, 6,500 per month.
It took several teams, both in-house and client-side, to develop this digital assistant: design and UX experts, backend, mobile and cognitive computing team, software testers, and customer support. And of course, one Project Manager to coordinate them all.
“My primary role was that of a Project Manager, but due to the complexity of development and team size, I often found myself jumping into Scrum Master’s shoes. My goal was to set up sustainable yet flexible processes to help the team reach its goals. Though the project team is normally self-organized, they needed some extra support during the development phase so they could focus more on the delivery and boost their efficiency,” Lucija revealed.
Understanding the trends in the telco industry was of utmost importance, as well as their influence on business activities, Lucija further explained. It was also crucial to understand how the functionality being developed would reflect on the client’s business. And because backend, frontend, and cognitive department development took place at the same time, the PM had to be aware of the project and organizational interdependencies at all times. Considering all of the above results in a sustainable project strategy.
Creating value for clients
This project is just one of many Lucija Zlatar has successfully brought to completion during her almost three years at Infinum. Starting out as a Project Manager, after two years she took the role of a team lead. A big part of her work now is mentoring her three-person PM team, and maanging one important internal project – the accessibility initiative. Together with several colleagues from different teams, Lucija is working on promoting the importance of accessibility features and implementing them in Infinum’s products, thus creating value for clients while making digital products accessible to often disregarded user groups.
Still, she remains actively involved in client work.
“Working on actual projects is the only way to stay on top of your PM game. It’s a very dynamic job, and that is how you learn to manage projects even better, make more accurate predictions, and settle escalations more easily. The more projects you work on, the better you get at it,” Lucija said.
Our star PM also shared Infinum’s approach to project management. Besides optimizing processes and managing teams efficiently, her main focus is making sure the client gets value for money. Every project must have a tangible output, if not a complete market-ready product, then a version of it they can take to investors, stakeholders, or users for testing.
Excellence with an international certificate
The IPMA award is confirmation enough that Lucija implements these principles with great care. Besides community recognition, as the best PM in Croatia she received the prestigious IPMA Project Manager certification, the only internationally-acknowledged certification program based on competences.
“I know it sounds like a cliché, but for me this award is a recognition for the work I’ve done so far, but at the same time it comes with a responsibility to continue pushing my boundaries and improving my skills even further, both on projects and as a mentor,” Lucija concludes.
Attending a different kind of a ceremony than the ones normally found in her work schedule, Lucija received her award at a gala held in Zagreb. As they say, this is only the beginning. Congratulations to Lucija! We can’t wait to see the projects she’ll tackle next.