Meet Henrique Marcondes, a well-seasoned IT project manager, Scrum Master and Agile Project Manager from Brazil, with over 20 years of experience in IT.
Nice to meet you, Henrique. Can you tell us bit about yourself?
I started working with technology in 1987, firstly as a developer and systems analyst. I graduated from university in 2004 in Information Systems, and then started my career as a consultant in developing and also leading development teams and projects for clients such as Visanet, HP, Unilever, Electrolux and others.
From 2008, I started to focus on projects and their frameworks (PMI and AGILE) and in 2009, I came to Citibank where I was able to further develop these skills. In Citibank, we used to work with waterfall and wanted to switch to more agile methodologies like SCRUM and Kanban. I had the opportunity to work in large and international projects involving teams in countries such as Poland, Singapore, Mexico and Brazil, inserting the SCRUM framework and teaching projects and development teams.
After leaving in 2014, I worked with What? – a Web systems development company, managing online projects at the home office in several segments, such as finance, medicine, e-Commerce and others.
The market values your certifications a lot, more than a university in some cases.
Tell us about your educational background and how your career path has changed over the years.
As I mentioned, I started early in technology and never left it. I only graduated from university more than 15 years after I started in the field. My educational background definitely did not interfere with my work as a freelancer. What mattered was the practice, “hands on”.
I worked in several companies as an employee and also as a freelancer. And often while working as an employee of a company, I freelanced for 2 or 3 others at the same time.
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When and why did you take the leap into freelancing?
This started in 2008 while working as a consultant in a company and taking care of 4 clients and 8 projects. I found out about apinfo.com where (at the time) I had several freelancers. I saw a project that interested me and I contacted them and got the project. Following the next 2 months, this client referred me to another one who referred me to another one and so it was.
In other words, I didn’t quit my job, I just continued doing freelance jobs in parallel. It’s an interesting model from an economic point of view, you earn a lot of money, but it’s kind of lifeless. My worksheet (always did) was over 350 hours/month. When the normal would be 168 hours/month (basic).
Why do I freelance? Curiosity – you want to do more, learn more and consequently earn more.
What problems did you face at the beginning of your freelance career?
The biggest challenge was having so much work and reconciling your mind in this scenario. Plus, you also have a job to go to every day.
Sometimes you don’t know who to pay attention to and sometimes you can be frowned upon by the customer.
And of course the fear of not knowing if you can handle everything. After a few years, however, this fear goes away and you feel more confident.
In your opinion, what is the most important skill required for freelance work, and why?
I think adaptation and transparency. Adapting to different situations and projects increases your range of work options. And transparency is always good for the client – they should be able to follow the progress of the job, whether through an online application or even through direct communication, such as regular or daily emails, if applicable.
We know that client acquisition is one of the biggest challenge for freelancers. How do you find new projects?
There are currently several online platforms aimed at freelance jobs like freelancermap, Freelancerpt.com, 99freelas among others.
It is important that your profile is always up to date – your skills should be clearly written and as well as the type of projects you are looking for. Always interact on the platforms, whether sending quotes or responding to a customer review.
What kind of services do you provide and what kind of projects do you enjoy most doing?
Currently I only provide services such as IT Project Manager, Scrum Master or Agile Project Manager, usually small and medium projects for clients who already have a team in place. But I also set up development teams for a project when needed. Usually using freelancers too.
What are your top tips for freelancers working in project management?
- Renew your certifications. If you don’t have any, do one, because the market values your certifications a lot, more than a university in some cases. Even if you’ve practiced for many years, it is not enough. The market requires you to have a badge, so if you already have a lot of practice, get a certification – the market will see you better.
Me, for example, I currently have the following certifications:
Google Project Management, Change Management from Metropolitan School (London), ITIL Foundation, Lean Six Sigma Yellow and White Belt, Scrum Master Certified from ScrumStudy and Certificate Agile with Atlassian Jira. And several courses in the project area.
- Keep up to date with methodologies as new things are always appearing.
- Have an account in project management applications such as JIRA, Monday, VivifScrum, among others. You can use it with your clients and you will also have a project demo for your future clients.
Which are the tools (apps, equipment, software) you can’t live without?
Jira, Excel, PowerPoint, External HD e and a great equipment, notebook or PC, or preferably both, in case one breaks. 🤯
How is freelancing in Brazil? Do you have any particular tips for people considering freelancing in your country? And how has the pandemic affected it?
When you are used to working (looking for jobs) on international platforms, there is not much to improve or deteriorate from country to country, as the client’s culture does not change – they are already used to working with a freelancer from India or Brazil or the USA.
In the case of regional jobs (Brazil), there is still a culture of little trust in freelancers, it is still somewhat marginalized in the labor market. But with the pandemic and the new normal having become “working from home”, it seems that there is now an appreciation for these professionals. They kind of started to “see” us and if they’re not careful, we’ll take care of the market. 😁
Henrique is IT Project Manager and Scrum Master. Google Project Management Certified, Scrum Master Certified, ITIL Foundation, Lean Six Sigma White Belt, with more than 20 years of experience in the IT area. He participated in projects in the companies Itaú, Itautec, Unilever, Rhodia, Electrolux, Citibank, Credicard, among others.
In his spare time, his hobby is studying Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and space stuff.