From developer… to project manager

Pen-portrait of Ilhem, a Margo consultant since 2009

Ilhem started her Margo journey at a junior level, as a Java and C developer. Within a few years, she’d seized the opportunities for promotion to a contract owner role, and continues to gain technical and managerial skills.


What were your first experiences with Margo?

I joined Margo straight after engineering college as a junior. I was soon able to start my first mission, thanks in particular to the support and interview preparation I benefited from – that’s incidentally why I chose Margo. My first mission was as a Java and C developer on a Back Office application covering the entire Forex field. I also had a role in technical support. After a year and a half on a mission, I want to move into a contract owner type of role to learn more about financial markets.


So you were a developer and you got promoted to become a contract owner? 

Yes, I raised the idea of this change at quarterly project meetings with my sales engineer and my project manager. The project manager was very understanding, and Margo offered job training to support this progression. So after 2 years on mission, I was able to take a contract owner role in my team whilst retaining a technical role too. That first project was really worthwhile for me: in the same team I was first a developer for a year and a half, then supported for six months, with training, to work as a contract owner for a year.


You then changed project twice in a short time. Can you tell us about that? 

After that first experience, the process of changing mission was worthwhile, I soon got interviews.  I chose a mission as a Release Manager for market access at a large bank because the project management aspect was particularly appealing. But I soon realised that the role wasn’t for me, there was no contract ownership or user contact involved in that type of job. So I decided on a new change of mission. I appreciated the receptiveness and responsiveness of my Margo contacts: they listened to me and quickly suggested new missions, for which I am very grateful. So after one short mission – a year and three months – I started as a contract owner on counterparty risk projects. I was in charge of collecting user requirements, writing functional specifications, acceptance procedures and tests. This time my expectations were met in full!
At the start of the mission I had coaching from an experienced Margo consultant who helped me expand my abilities. In two years in this third mission, I developed my soft skills (especially in communicating with users) and also my technical skills, for example, in calculating credit risk.  I was also able to do a Bärchen course onCredit Value Adjustment which helped me a lot.


What challenges await you in 2016? 

I just started my fourth job for Margo a few weeks ago with a client in commodities. I am a contract owner on a project setting up a program to calculate Credit Value at Risk, in a team of five developers and four contract ownersI’m happy to come into contact with a new client context, new products and a new working system – it’s a good challenge for this year!


What would you say are the qualities of a good contract owner?

First of all, good personal skills for communicating both with users and with technical teams. Then you also need a good understanding of the functional context in order to take account of the users’ needs, analyse them, anticipate potential effects and propose suitable solutions. Finally, an analytical mind and the ability to establish and manage priorities are both vital in our job.


What advice would you give to a consultant wanting to follow your example? 

No career is set in stone. Curiosity and interpersonal skills are crucial. Don’t be scared to dig deep and ask questions! Try and understand the work context and how the application works via the code. You could then set yourself up as a reference point for the team and join in the decision-making. It’s also important to learn as much as possible from the experience of the most senior contract owners in the team by observing the way they work. And of course, maintain good relations with all the team members.


Business Analyst
High Performance IT
Human Resources
Risk Management


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