Namrata Tomar is a Project Manager with our Solutions Division based out of our office in Delhi, India. She has an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences and a Masters in Sustainable Livelihood and Natural Resource Governance with a specialization in Social Work, both from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She started her career with the world’s largest Sanitation mission in India. In this Q&A, Namrata shared her journey to and experiences within Dimagi. Read on to learn more about the life of a Project Manager on the Solutions Delivery team at Dimagi.
Can you tell us a little about your background and journey to Dimagi?
I started off as a science student, but course corrected and chose to pursue a degree in social sciences. My first job was a fellowship with the National Sanitation Mission in India. I worked with civil servants to guide them in strategizing a district sanitation plan. While there, one of my co-fellows suggested I look at Dimagi. Back then, ICT4D (Information and Communications Technology for Development) was not a very common term in social organizations. I was not a fan of the exercise portion of the interview process, but the interview rounds helped me get a good idea about the kind of work Dimagi does. Four and a half years later, I am still excited about my work.
In your opinion, how does Dimagi set you up for success?
At Dimagi, your People Manager is there to help you succeed. Having someone who has been with the organization longer than you have to help you acclimate to the culture is very helpful. They guide you toward the opportunities that are available to you for career growth. I leveraged quite a bit of that. People at Dimagi are always willing to take time to talk to you, especially if you are new, and help you get settled.
Describe a typical week in your role.
Every day might be different because of the mix of projects I am involved in and because every project is unique. A critical component of being a Project Manager within the Solutions Delivery team is to organize the tasks your team will be working on. I also consider how what we do today will affect my project six months down the line. Another essential part of my role is stakeholder management – making sure that the partners we work with are aware of what we are doing, are content with what we are doing and work with them on the next steps. I also manage direct reports, so some time is spent providing guidance and charting career goals which is something I enjoy a lot.
What are the skills necessary to succeed in your role?
Empathy – Understanding and accepting that those you work with, internally and externally, have different contexts.
An appetite for risks – Not all projects will have a typical life span. Being able to strive through the madness of understanding the scope and managing team expectations or working through a large portion of the team on Paid Time Off.
Communication skills – How to change gears and communication style based on who you are speaking to.
What’s the most rewarding part of your role?
I started at Dimagi as a Project Analyst and progressed to Project Manager. The opportunity to grow in responsibility and now work with partners to make decisions on what that country’s digital strategy will look like is very rewarding. Every new project gives you visibility into the possibilities you can explore and allows you to keep growing. The thought that what I do today has the potential to affect an entire country is scary but also exciting.
What challenges do you encounter?
As development sector professionals, we always want to make an impact and can get frustrated when things are not working as we want them to, which is fine However, we need to know when to step back and reevaluate our priorities. And that decision-making process is very challenging.
You have worked with both the India Division and Solutions Division Delivery teams. What has been the most significant change/difference you have experienced or had to adjust to?
While the principles or ethos of a project manager at Dimagi might be constant across divisions, what changes are the nuances of the kinds of projects you are involved in. While the India division focuses on the Indian subcontinent, the Solutions Division works in multiple countries. The exposure is more global, both internally and externally. It was a conscious effort for me to present myself to a diverse global audience.
As a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) council at Dimagi, can you share something that affected you profoundly or was fun and exciting to learn?
It has been a very reflective journey. DEI is a word that sometimes gets thrown around, but being on the committee has shown me how hard it is to define the rules or what it should mean to the organization. Everyone at Dimagi wants to be inclusive, and we are trying to develop a format to share those voices with the wider team.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career on the Delivery team at Dimagi?
Everyone at Dimagi really cares about each other and what they do. I have become the greatest of friends with a lot of my colleagues. To be successful at Dimagi, while job-related skills are necessary, you should also be prepared to bring and develop your empathetic and collaborative skills. If that sounds like you, come join our team!
Want to learn more about the culture at Dimagi? Interested in applying for an open position? Visit our Careers Page.