Project Programme Portfolio Manager, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
2 Aug 2022
Continuing our series spotlighting the roles and lives of our employees, Jessica Regan, a Project Programme Portfolio Manager focused primarily on our space business, tells us about her typical working day
My days vary massively. I’m a big believer in flexible working and I am split between our offices in Guildford, Great Baddow, London and working from home.
But wherever I am, I’ve got to be honest and admit that mornings are not my thing. Thankfully, my first call normally doesn’t start until 9am but sometimes I’m on earlier – it depends on my workload and if I
have to log off earlier than usual. I’m also not a big fan of breakfast – it’s the worst meal of the day. If you’re going to cut calories I reckon that’s the one to miss because anything good you could have for breakfast you could have for lunch.
I wear a couple of different hats. I am a project portfolio manager for a large space programme and within that I am a senior project manager, focusing primarily on the software aspects of the project. I am also the integration lead for our In-Space Missions business and I am also a “happy at work” coach which is what I do for one of our clients, as well as in house.
I really enjoy the variety – I like the fact there is always something new to do and you’re never likely to get bored with all these different things going on. I also like solving problems. I’m less worried about where those problems are – I just enjoy fixing things.
Maybe this is rooted in my background – I’m a mathematician by training. Prior to joining BAE Systems I was at a small company which worked on sports betting software, coming in at graduate level and then working my way up to run a team of software engineers, collaborating closely with one of the main online sports betting companies. When I joined BAE Systems my first role was looking at database migration before doing a year-long project in the Defence space and then taking up my current mix of roles.
My first daily meeting is normally a stand up call with the development team, just to identify common priorities and challenges, and then after that it’s whatever is going on that day. We do lots of workshops and once a fortnight we have all the retrospective sprint planning meetings. I also sometimes get involved in sales and marketing, as well as working with technical leads to map out how the product will feed into the market. So it’s a real variety – all fuelled by regular cups of tea.
As the day progresses, I try and make sure I break for lunch but sometimes I work through. Quite often, depending on where I need to be for my home life, I use my lunch break to hotfoot it to another office or part of the country. The afternoon is more of the same – a real mix of meetings and projects, deadlines and calls. I’m often to be found talking to other teams to find out how their development plans can plug into ours. The great thing is, though, that no two days are the same. Thanks to the range of roles I fulfil, there is no chance of the job getting samey – it absolutely keeps me on my toes.
But it’s so flexible here too. For example, just the other week I attended an awards ceremony. The next morning I worked from the hotel the ceremony was staged at. I then got the train home before doing some
conference calls in the car as I was heading off to the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
We have four ponies in our family. Mum has always had horses – she had her first pony before I was born. She used to show jump then she moved onto ponies in hand so she could still compete. (It’s a bit like Crufts, but with horses.) I’ve been doing it too, ever since I was a teenager, and it’s great that I can still do all this while still managing my demanding ‘day job’ at BAE Systems.
For example, we attend quite a lot of events in Wales. So if I need to be in Wales for the weekend, I’ll make sure I am working out of our Gloucester office on the Friday. But it’s not something I’d like to do full time – there’s only so many times you can get wet through in the middle of winter – I relish being able to work from a desk with a cup of tea close to hand; give me that over some windswept hillside any day!
The best thing about working at BAE Systems is the flexibility and the people. I’m in a very lucky position – just like so many colleagues here – of being in a creative job that I really enjoy. There is no one micro-managing me – I have the freedom to make decisions and get on with things without having to jump through hoops. I’ve also relished doing work on the STEM agenda – I hope to do more of this in the future – as well as speaking at more events like OneTechWorld.
I normally log off between 5pm and 6pm but, again, it really depends on how the day has gone and if I have other commitments. Quite often I like to catch up in the evening – no one else is online and you’re not having emails or messages pop up all the time. This means you can really just fly through your to-do list, ready for the next day.
About the author
Jessica Regan is a Project Programme Portfolio Manager at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
We have been working in this ‘Space’ for more than two decades. We have specialist technologies in waveforms, electronics, antenna and digital signal processing and analytics with 20 years in ground based signal processing for various space agencies.