Meet Paulina Ptak I Project Manager, Sportsbook, Krakow
She’s the go-to person for her team and helps things fall in to the right place. Hear about the hot topics and interesting initiatives she’s working on.
Tell us about your role and what it involves:
A Project Manager’s role concentrates around delivery. On daily basis I need to make sure that projects we run in the company, meet our business targets, and that they are aligned with William Hill’s roadmap. I am concentrated on financial governance, risks and issues management, resource planning and, generally speaking, making sure that we’re on track with anything that we committed to.
I keep senior stakeholders up-to date with project progress, including our successes as well as blockers or impediments that arise on the way. The most important part for me though is being close to the team as their support and their go-to person. Resolving any issues and challenges that come on my teams’ ways is always top priority and it always comes first. After all, it’s people who form the company and without them we wouldn’t be able to deliver a single thing – no matter how well we would have planned it.
In general, project manager’s work consists of dozens of little things that need to be done to keep our projects moving. Successful delivery happens when all little pieces come together. Basically, that’s the essence of what we do – we make them fall into right place.
What excites you about tech at William Hill?
I’m mostly excited about everything new that is happening in William Hill’s tech. I am lucky to be project manager of some really interesting initiatives! By working on Sportsbook AWS Migration, and Sportsbook Site Reliability Engineering, I get not only to cooperate with the most tech qualified colleagues, but also to see on daily basis how tech business is growing and changing. The best part is that I get to see how we actually apply it in William Hill!
Amazon Web Services is for sure still a hot topic in tech world, and I am proud that I may see first-handed how we are becoming a part of it by transforming our services. Also, as this is a new solution, never applied before in Sportsbook, we get to design and test multiple scenarios, work on multiple spikes, and investigate various ways of working. This all means that our Platform Team has actually a great impact on the look of the final product we deliver.
Site Reliability Engineering is another important Sportsbook initiative. By working inside our team, we know that we have a real impact on our customers’ experiences. We do our best to make their interactions with our products as fast as possible, as seamless as possible, and just as good as they can be. It’s really great to see positive feedback from our clients after we apply our improvements – it gives us all a boost to do more.
All in all, it’s great to see that William Hill doesn’t settle on existing solutions. I’m very happy that the company has a hunger to go one better!
Which projects are you most proud of that you’ve worked on here?
It’s not projects that I am proud of. It’s the people who stand behind them and their hard work to achieve great results. Every one of my teams contributes highly to Sportsbooks’ overall results – earlier mentioned Site Reliability and Platform teams, as well as Koki Monsters, for example by their latest breadcrumbs release. For our Customers, it has been a great improvement – and we can see it in actual numbers, which is absolutely amazing!
I believe that it’s not only about delivering big changes and significant milestones. It’s also about those small things, those nuances that may seem not that important at first glance, but, in the end, they make a huge difference for our Customers. And that’s what really matters – wanting to do more, even if these are “only” the littlest things that doesn’t seem to make a lot of change. And that’s what I’m most proud of – people caring for the smallest details to achieve greatness.
How do you go one better every day?
It’s actually very easy when you do what you enjoy. I am a project manager by choice, not by chance. I really like every aspect of my job, so it’s rather natural that I am always willing to go the extra mile – wouldn’t you for something that’s not only your job, but also your hobby? I’m very much into management as a whole, so I happily spend time on learning new ways and methods during workshops or trainings, which pays off at my everyday work.
Also, I am a very curious person, I deny to accept everything as-is, I always need to go deeper, see the background, get to know the details – it’s a great entry for finding processes’ gaps and room for possible improvements. Personally, I am a big Lean fan and I don’t like waste – I simply enjoy doing things better and easier. I’m very happy that going one better is one of William Hill’s values – it really gives me a chance to challenge myself every day and ultimately to grow. Going one better is really easy when you’re surrounded with people with the same attitude – the more, the merrier, they say, and I agree.
Can you tell us a bit about your career story?
A few years ago, I graduated from college with absolutely no idea about what to do in my life. By chance, I started working in financial services. Back then I was supporting project managers in financial part of their work. During our meetings, listening to their discussions, I got to know that project management is so much more than just finances and Excel sheets with numbers in. I was excited about my managers’ daily work, how they talked about their meetings with clients, forming teams, progressing with work, solving upcoming challenges, planning deliveries. And that’s when I really got to like the whole project management idea – work consisting of connecting the dots, having hands on dozens of various tasks every day, working with a lot with people in a dynamic environment – when I got to know it, I knew it was perfect for me.
I came up with a plan, I moved on to a different company that offered starting positions in project management. For the next years I worked as project management officer, learning from senior managers all about project delivery. I got to see it all from “behind the scenes”. I got to observe, learn and to finally practice. After some (intense) time, I was finally ready to start my first job as project manager. And that’s when William Hill came in.
Honestly, this has been the biggest work challenge so far. I needed to dive deep into IT world and to adjust quickly. It felt a little scary but it turned out not to be - I had an amazing team with me from the very beginning, who made it all very easy for me. Now I get to do what I really like every single day and it’s the best reward for all hard-working times.
None of it would be possible if it wasn’t for amazing people that I met on my journey – those who believed in me, those who trained me, those who always pushed me to just a little bit more. With right people, everything seems possible. I really hope that I get to do the same for someone else in the future.
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