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Whistle-stop Wednesdays: The Agile way forward

Sophie Mulcahy leads up the Agile Portfolio Management Office (APMO) team in Admiral Tech. We caught up with her to find out what the team does, what her career background is and why Tech is the place to be if you want flexibility and development. 

What do you do in Admiral and how long have you been working here?

I have worked in Admiral for 2 years. The first year was spent in Travel Insurance as a Product Manager and now I lead the Agile Portfolio Management Office (APMO). I have an amazing team of Analysts that support the Delivery Teams in Tech (we call them Tribes). We provide day to day support from a tooling and administration perspective and run the Admiral Quarterly Business Review process. Each quarter we help bring the Executive vision to life across Tech and the business, and ensure that the delivery priorities align to Admirals strategic objectives. We help track financials and value against these objectives and make it visible to everyone through reporting.

How did you get into your role as an Agile PMO Lead?

My 20 years before Admiral were spent in Financial Services in many different roles but I always defaulted to Change Management, Process Improvements and Project Management. I have always had a passion for problem solving and making things better. I did well in school but didn’t want to further educate, I always wanted to be hands-on in a job and to start earning. I joined Financial Services as my first full time job and worked my way through different jobs and promotions. I was made redundant in 2019 and although there were many jobs in the market at the time, I really had my heart set on Admiral because of the culture and all the great things Admiral brings. 

What do you enjoy most about your role and area?

Its sounds so cheesy but I have an amazing team behind me in everything I do. In every job I have had, it has always been the people that have made me enjoy my job and Admiral is no different, you really do feel like part of a family. In recent months during lockdown, I have been amazed at the support I have felt being part of Admiral and I’m extremely proud of how hard my team have worked (we formed as a team in lockdown and still haven’t all met face to face!). I feel depended on by my team for support, that really keeps me motivated. We are a new team, managing a new process with lots of opportunity to develop, I feel motivated to make improvements to the processes we have and the positive impact it will have down the line.

Are there any exciting changes or projects on the horizon?

We are going through some big changes to introduce new ways of working; these changes will support increased focus on business value through teams that are aligned to end-to-end delivery of value. My team support the administration and reporting that helps bring this to life, so we have great opportunities to work closely with Tech, Business and Finance to help Admiral realise these benefits.

Do you think there are lots of opportunities to grow and develop here?

Yes, there is so much opportunity to grow depending on how much time you want to invest, it’s hard to balance work life and home life to fit all of this in too. In the last year I have been lucky to have signed up for three externally recognised qualifications. Admiral see the benefit in developing their personnel and are really invested in this. We have our own Learning & Development team as well as a Talent Team in Tech. My team have career paths mapped and have full role profiles that they are able to score themselves against to help write development plans.

What’s the culture like in Admiral Tech and how has this adapted with remote working?

In Admiral Tech, people are empowered to make changes and are encouraged to voice their opinions (and they are listened to). I have seen lots of examples of where people have pushed back on wasted effort or unnecessary governance which is refreshing to see. People are trusted to do a good job and aren’t micro-managed, we all manage our own calendars and are able to flex our day to suit our own needs at home. During lockdown this has improved even more. For the first time in my life, I've been able to flex between work and juggling two young children. Work is still just as busy, but I'm now able to split my day up so much more. It's a dream!

Do you have any advice for someone looking to join your area?

I came from a company that was very corporate with hierarchies and lots of red tape. In Admiral it’s sometimes difficult to tell who is in charge because everyone is very collaborative and always willing to help and support one another. There are regulations that have to be followed of course, but I have found making changes a lot smoother in this environment. I found when interviewing in Admiral it’s very important to show your personality so that you can make sure you are a great cultural fit as well as fit for the role. Read up about Admiral and the wonderful culture we have.
Depending on the role obviously the job skills are really important, but you may need to consider adapting to working from home, working on your own initiative and always treating people fairly and with respect. 

To view our current vacancies, click
here. 

Read more about Whistle-stop Wednesdays: Leading an Agile squad in the Data Warehouse

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