Charlotte Bowerman – Senior project manager at Liz Earle
Having moved into an official project management role at Liz Earle in March 2016, Charlotte is still relatively new to the profession, although she has managed a number of other projects throughout her career, particularly while previously working at John Lewis. Charlotte found she had a natural ability to navigate projects through constraints and risks. Being process driven she also particularly enjoyed seeing projects realise their benefits after handover and delivery, so moving into the project profession was a natural fit for her skillset. She also quickly recognised that she enjoyed the stakeholder management element of project management.
Whereas many people associate project management with the construction and IT industries, the cosmetics/ beauty industry is an emerging sector in project management. Like any growing organisation Liz Earle looks to the PMO to increase the success of its projects and programmes in delivering the added value and benefits expected. Read more about Charlotte and her project management role at Liz Earle in the Q&A section below to discover what project management looks like in this industry, and what kind of projects she now manages.
How long have you been a project professional?
I moved into a formal project management role in March 2016 but have managed a number of projects throughout my career, although I still consider myself to be relatively new to the profession.
How did you become a project professional?
Previously I worked within multiple buying departments at John Lewis, managing new products assortments across a variety of categories from concept through to launch and although not officially a PM role, there were many synergies between the role I was in and that of a PM.
I found myself managing a wide variety of projects from implementing store refurbishments to launching second hand vintage jewellery online. I quickly recognised that I enjoyed the stakeholder management element of project management and I had a natural ability to navigate projects through constraints and risks. Whilst being process driven I also particularly enjoyed seeing projects realise their benefits after handover and delivery so moving into the project profession was a natural fit for my skillset.
What project management skills are most important to you?
Following the key themes that came out of the recent APM conference, for me people are really at the heart of project management and it is the ability to bring people along with you on the journey that makes a difference. The skills needed to manage conflict, engage with stakeholders effectively and to provide governance and structure to all projects is paramount, ensuring effective decision making is maintained and ultimately enabling benefits to be fully realised.
Resilience is also key in the face of risk and issue management, remaining calm and continuing to promote the necessary processes to ensure business owners, sponsors and the executive team members are fully informed to make the right decisions for the business.
How long have you worked at Liz Earle?
I joined the Liz Earle team in March 2016 following the decision to relocate out of London and back to the Isle of Wight, where I grew up. I wanted to be close to family based on the island and having temped at Liz Earle after my graduation from University I already knew that the brand ethos of Liz Earle would be the perfect fit for me to start the next chapter of my career development. (I was already a fan of the product which was also a big draw!)
How has Liz Earle helped develop you as project professional?
Liz Earle, and my line manager in particular, has been really supportive of my development as a project professional right from the outset. Within weeks of joining I was given the opportunity to take my APM Project Fundamentals Qualification and passed with flying colours.
Since then I have been actively involved in the set up and roll-out of the PMO within Liz Earle and have been given the opportunity to attend multiple APM events and conferences, including the WIPM conference last September and the APM Project Management Conference Manchester back in December 2016. This summer Liz Earle will be supporting me to complete the APM Project Management Qualification which will be a great personal achievement and the next step to continue my career development within Liz Earle and the project profession.
Why does Liz Earle need PM?
Like any growing organisation Liz Earle looks to the PMO to increase the success of its projects and programmes in delivering the added value and benefits expected. We aim to reduce the risk of projects and programmes failing and to deliver within the TCQ constraints. We look to gain economies of repetition through standardisation, consistency and the sharing of knowledge. Liz Earle relies on the PMO to make the most effective use of skills and resources through implementing a robust framework for all projects to operate against.
What practices does Liz Earle follow?
The PMO at Liz Earle has developed its own methodology which suits the nature of our specific business, but the foundations of the principles tie back to the APM Body of Knowledge and we are corporate members of the APM via Walgreen Boots Alliance. We follow a 4 Stage Gate methodology, dividing our projects into Pre-Project, Planning, Implementation and Handover phases following through to benefits realisation. Our aim is always to get the business to do the right thing, in the right way, in the right order, with the right team to enable successful deliveries of a multitude of projects.
What projects are you currently working on / have you worked on?
One of the biggest programmes of work that I am currently involved in is the delivery of our Christmas Gift Range for 2017. This incorporates a 360 degree approach of programme managing nine different work streams ranging from the initial concept, strategy and commercials through to the technical development of the packaging and bringing to life instore and online, via visual merchandising and instore activation. As the project is heavily restricted on the timing element (Christmas is coming on December 25th whether we like it or not!) it is challenging to ensure all milestones are met, the programme of work remains on track, the necessary stakeholders are kept engaged and decisions are made in a timely manner.
My most recent projects include the successful delivery and launch of several of our new product launches, Liz Earle™ Superskin Treatment Oil for Body, Liz Earle™ Dry Oil for Body and together with the Superskin™ Overnight Mask. I’m currently working on some top secret product innovations for the future which are always exciting to be a part of.
How does project management embrace the Liz Earle philosophy?
At Liz Earle we follow our Precious Recipe (We Care More, We Never Settle, We Are One Team) which under pins our brand and the PMO embrace all elements of this.
We Care More:
- To be a centre of excellence supporting successful project and programme delivery.
- To operate in such a way that our project and programme activity delivers optimal efficiency, sustainability and adding value to the portfolio.
We Never Settle:
- To embrace continuous improvement of the Liz Earle project management methodology and evolution of the project management tool set.
- To support business growth and agility through governance enabling responsiveness to opportunities without compromising core values.
We are One Team:
- To provide leadership for the business in all areas of best practice and project management principles.
- To optimise talent and develop a highly skilled, empowered and performance driven project delivery team through training, certification, skills development and career progression programmes.
What impact have your past / present projects had on the pharmaceutical / cosmetic Industry?
Since the Brand was founded in 1995, exceptional service and honest, expert advice have been at the heart of everything we do, and most important of all are our customers so all the projects we undertake are shaped by these principles.
We’re passionate about all we do and like to keep things simple, and being a botanically-based beauty company, we have developed a high-performance range of skincare, haircare, bodycare and make up that really works.
We never test on animals and are certified under the Humane Cosmetic Standard by Cruelty Free International (previously known as the BUAV), none of our ingredients are derived directly from animals and all our products are suitable for vegetarians.
We've been lucky enough to win some fantastic awards for our products and our service. In fact, our best-selling Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser is one of the most awarded cleansers in the UK, with over 100 awards and accolades including, most recently being awarded Editors’ Choice in the cleansers & toners category of the Social & Personal Awards, and highly commended in the best cleanser category at the Natural Health International Beauty Awards 2017.
We apply our Precious Recipe into all aspects of how we operate as a business and were awarded Which? Best Online Retailer 2015 and Which? Best Customer Service (Small Business) 2015 as a result. We’re passionate about responsible sourcing, balancing factors such as performance, sustainability, ethics and soil-safe practices to determine which source to use.
Where we can, we work closely with ingredient growers and farmers, not only to ensure the quality of our ingredients but also care for the environment, promote fair working conditions and incomes for communities.
The Green House is our head office, based in Ryde on the Isle of Wight and around a third of our over 900 strong team are based here. We designed this visionary building to include many environmentally-friendly innovations, including geo-thermal heating, which uses the natural heat from the ground to keep us warm (and cool) and a facility to harvest rain water, which is then filtered into our bathrooms to flush our toilets.
Movement and sensory timers ensure our lighting automatically turns off when there is no-one in the room, we are very proud of our 92% recycling rate, and all our food waste is composted on site which saved 11 tonnes of CO2e through diversion from landfill in 2015.
So whether the projects we deliver are new products and services for our customers or delivering business operational improvements everything is carefully considered in line with our Brand ethos and core principles.