AIoT technologies hold the potential to facilitate countless aspects of our lives – be it at work or every day at home. But behind every simplifying technology is a team that works very hard to keep it up and running. As a project manager at Bosch.IO, Yvonne Yu makes sure that her various Project Delivery Teams are up to the challenge. She told us what motivates her each day to push herself and her teams towards new horizons.
How it all started…
“If you want to achieve something, you need to have two things: an open mind and the desire to learn.” Yvonne’s credo has proven true for her own journey: Her first job in IT had nothing to do with project management. Instead, she initially supported and coordinated all activities concerning IT topics as a management assistant for a major IT company in Shanghai. “That’s when I realized that IT can change our world and our lives – and how much I like working on topics that really form the future of society.” That’s why, after a short detour to a Chinese state-owned automotive group, she decided to get back into IT: “What I like about IT departments is their work culture. The team organization is agile, fast and active.” The combination of cutting-edge technology and Bosch’s corporate culture convinced her to join its Corporate IT department in 2012.
Her career @ Bosch
Initially an assistant to the vice president of Bosch Asia Pacific, Yvonne’s desire to challenge herself and try out new tasks motivated her to take on responsibilities beyond her initial role. She actively joined different workstreams to better understand her own talents and needs – and found her true calling as project manager. “Each project is unique, consisting of new teams, stakeholders and contexts, so project management never gets boring. I love that our success is clearly measurable. It’s very satisfying whenever my team and I reach yet another milestone.” Her managers supported her in her decision, gave her the freedom to try out small projects and even provided her with in-house training to gain a project management certificate. She completed her training in 2017 and finally started working as a formal project manager.
From then on, she started to get more opportunities to work as a full-fledged project manager across multiple departments and locations. In her work, she has been getting exposed to classic as well as agile project management practices. In the same context, her team was spread out across multiple locations and countries.
When Bosch.IO was established in 2020, its wide variety of IoT projects was too good an opportunity for Yvonne to pass up. She became one of the first members of the new team. Over the next few years, she worked on multiple projects from various areas within Bosch.IO, e.g. smart construction and mobility. Eventually, in 2022, she decided to relocate from China to Singapore to explore the possibilities that working in another country offers. Being exposed to different cultures has always intrigued her – and she has never regretted her decision: “I really enjoy the fact that at Bosch.IO many people from different business areas come together. Every day I get to manage several different teams with different backgrounds.”
Everyday working life
Managing all those teams also means a lot of meetings – so during the course of her workday, Yvonne constantly needs to switch between teams and tasks to keep various projects on track. “Project management is all about pace keeping: I need to have an overview of our stakeholder map and the progress of the team. I’m responsible for identifying and removing blockers so my teams can move ahead with high productivity. Connecting with people helps me to understand their difficulties and prioritize our tasks accordingly.” In Scrum meetings and daily stand-ups, she and her team exchange notes on the status of their tasks and identify new ones for the week. In addition, Yvonne needs to be aware of possible risks, choose a fitting strategy and take measures accordingly. “Other than that, keeping in touch with our customers is extremely important for my role as well. I put in a lot of effort to keep up regular interactions with our customer teams on various topics”.
In order to avoid becoming overwhelmed by all her tasks, Yvonne has a system that never fails her. At the beginning of each day, she takes 15 minutes to write down and prioritize everything she needs to take care of. “It helps me to keep calm, because it means that the tasks with the highest priorities will get done and there won’t be any burning issues popping up during the day.”
To clear her head before work, Yvonne starts each day by running. “It gives me energy while calming me down at the same time. I feel like exercising in the morning is good for my mental health: When you run regularly, you feel like there’s no challenge that you cannot overcome.” In the evening after work, Yvonne enjoys spending a lot of time with her daughter, going through her day at school and everything else important to her. “We do a lot of things together, like reading books, watching shows, and listening to music.”
Family responsibilities, working out, planning and running meetings, … Does Yvonne ever find time to relax? “Sort of: I like cooking, but I often don’t have the time to do it.” That’s when she takes her daughter for a stroll along one of Singapore’s many food courts. “Good food and time with my family really help me to relax after a busy day.” Her dream for the future: an autonomous cooking robot so she doesn’t have to prepare dinner – just like the one that impressed her at the Bosch hackathon in Shanghai a few years ago.
Looking towards the future
What intrigues Yvonne about such a cooking robot is the same thing that fascinates her about the technologies to come: “I believe that technology, especially AIoT, really is the future of society. It will make our lives easier and give people the freedom to decide which tasks they want to do themselves and which they want to hand over to machines. As time goes by, IoT and AI will only become more connected – and more beneficial for us as humans.”
When it comes to her own future, Yvonne is determined to keep trying new things. She is convinced that it was her courage to leave her comfort zone ten years ago that gave her the drive and internal motivation to come as far as she already has. To others she can only recommend: “Never be afraid to say what you really want. If you are ready for challenges, endless opportunities await you.”