Meet the Team: Stephanie Boudreau
Q. What exactly is it that you do here?
I’m the liaison between the clients and the developers, so I have to communicate effectively. It’s a multifunctional role. I serve as a project manager, a business analyst, and in some sense a consultant - that’s part of the solutions portion of the role. It’s not just to gather requirements, but it’s also to give input, advice, and feedback. Obviously, we are not here to tell our clients how to run their business, but there’s a consulting element.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love working here because there’s a lot of autonomy that is given. I’ve never been in a role quite like this before where I genuinely have responsibility. I have responsibility for the quality of my work, which I think is really, really cool. As far as the company goes, I also have never worked for a place that genuinely invests and has a lot of confidence in their employees the way that the partners here do. Brad, Dave, and Sumit are genuinely wonderful humans and do care about investing in their team. Also, they make really smart investments in how they run the business, as well. We saw this when we had the all staff quarterly meeting and they were talking about what the goals are for the company - they set really realistic goals. It’s not like, “Oh, we want to be a 20 million dollar company next year” because they realize what needs to go into the business will take some investment and that might mean smaller growth. I’ve never really worked for a company that has that long term thought, which I think is very cool. I appreciate it. It ensures longevity for the company, which is important. The perks of the job are great, like the free snacks in the kitchen, but working for people who genuinely have an interest in seeing their people succeed is the most important thing for me.
Q. What’s the hardest project you’ve had to work on?
Monat. I’m relatively new to the company too, but I have three clients - Akezo, Total Wine, and Monat. Monat started engineering back in August 2018, so I had the opportunity to get my feet wet a little with Akezo and Total Wine with the help of Mindi. She was there to guide me while I was still getting comfortable in my new role. Monat has been the most challenging. It’s my first big one, but from what I hear, it’s also what they call a “beast” of a project. It’s a big one in a very condensed timeline. Slatwall is built so that it is highly customizable, but there is a lot that is out-of-the-box too that can satisfy eCommerce business needs. Monat is a different kind of business since they’re a multi-level marketing company, which requires them to need a lot of customization. Monat would have been a huge project even with a longer timeline.
Q. What do you spend the most time doing each day?
Monat is unique in the sense that it goes through stages. Typically, projects go through engineering, development, QA, and UAT - and then launch. For Monat, the engineering and development stages are happening concurrently. Right now, I write user stories, then I meet with the client to confirm what I have as my understanding is correct. Then, that discussion usually ends in me needing to make edits, changes, or go back to the drawing board for how it needs to work for their use, so it can get very time-consuming. Also, there is a lot of time spent in these meetings to gather and review requirements.
Q. What’s the most important thing for a Client Solutions Manager to do?
Analysis is very important. Something that I am working on myself is not just listening, but being able to understand what the client requirement is. I am currently working on developing a deep understanding so - when I go back to the developers or discuss it with Sumit - there’s very clear direction. That also prevents me from having to go back and forth. I think gaining that full depth of understanding is very important because it can eliminate a good deal of back and forth between the client and developer, which tends to consume a lot of time.
Q. Do you have any special tricks that help you be more efficient?
Being able to focus is something that helps with efficiency. Also, having a designated workspace. Something I do to help facilitate that is I tend to book a conference room for myself and I go in there and take my headphones. That helps me really get a lot of work done.
Q. How do you deal with uncooperative developers?
One of my strengths is connecting with people. I’ve always been in a customer manager or an HR role. Through that experience, one of the skills that I have developed is communicating with people and identifying how they like to receive information. So, I really don’t experience a problem with a developer not doing something that I asked or not answering a question that I have. I find all the developers here to be very helpful and kind.
Q. How do you deal with uncooperative clients?
I don’t have uncooperative clients. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made and it’s tough to get all the parties in a room to talk about something and make a decision. So, the decision-making process has been an arduous one. If we have a question, the turn around time to get the answer can be lengthy sometimes. All you can do is wait, follow up, ask if there’s anything they need from us to help facilitate with them making a decision. Obviously, there is no place in what I do for being a hothead. In the end, each party has the same goal. We are on the same team and working with them to facilitate what needs to get done. They know we need information, we know that they’re looking for an end product. So, just, doing everything you can to work through a struggle and talking is the best way to figure it out. Communication is key.
Q. In your mind, what’s typically the biggest reason a project goes south?
Scope creep. We are given a timeline and the client starts thinking as we start engineering - what do you envision, what is the expected functionality. So, the creatives start thinking of more things that would be cool to have. Before you know it, the scope of work becomes bigger and bigger. There comes a point where we have to define with the client what is needed for launch and what, perhaps, can be included in subsequent phases of the project. I definitely think scope creep is a killer of a project if it’s not managed properly.
Q. If you weren’t a Client Solutions Manager, what job do you think you would have?
I would be in HR. That’s what I’ve always done. I love other human beings and helping others solve problems. I’m a people person.
Q. Do you have any special secret talents?
Yes, I do! I’m double jointed in my shoulders, so I can pop them out and it looks like I have wings. I also did gymnastics for 13 years, so I’m very flexible. I have short legs, so I can grab my feet too. Is being flexible a talent? I think it’s more of a skill.
Q. Favorite company-outing you have gone on so far?
When we went to Apex. That was really, really fun. I have an obsession with speed, so I loved the go-karts. I didn’t think I would like laser-tag that much, but that was really fun too!
Q. How do you spend your free time?
I have four best friends that I spend all of my time with. They are my soulmates. We do everything together. In the summertime, we surf, kayak, and go to the beach and lake. I pretty much spend my summers outdoors.
Q. Do you have any pets? If not, what pet would you want?
I have my child if that is what you’re asking. My child is my cat. His name is Gonzo, but I call him Bub. He’s five and I would run into a burning building to save him without a doubt. I love him so much.
Q. Favorite movie?
There’s a lot. The first two that come to mind are National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and The Big Lebowski.
Q. Favorite snack from the kitchen?
The Stroopwafels. They’re delicious.
Q. Favorite local lunch place?
Nu Kitchen. The Southwest Chipotle Avocado bowl is what I like there.
Q. Favorite video game?
I got a Nintendo NES Classic for Christmas. I play all of the Marios and I school at the Mario games. I don’t play video games, unless it’s Mario.
Q. Dream vacation?
I am trying to figure out how to get myself to Greece. Whenever I go on vacation, I try not to be touristy. I would rather go to a grocery store and cook, so I book Airbnb’s a lot. I want to see the stereotypical white tops of the buildings looking over a big cliff and seeing the very blue Mediterranean Sea. I want that experience really bad.
Q. Favorite website to kill time?
Sephora and YouTube. Also, I love fragrances, so I spend hours on Scentbird.
Q. Favorite internet cat celebrity? (Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow, Captain Pancakes, etc.)
Q. Delivery or Digiorno?
Delivery. Dominos has the best pizza with their garlic crust.
Q. Coke or Pepsi?
I don’t know, since I don’t drink a lot of soda. But, I drink seltzer. The Basil Orange Lime from Fuel is delicious.
Q. Marvel or DC Comics?
I like Deadpool, so I would go with Marvel.