Graduated from Michio Kato Lab, Department of Architecture, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
What do you find attractive about the job of a project manager (PM)?
Ever since I was a student, I have wanted to be a “minister of dexterity” who can do anything with agility. I was attracted to the general aspect of a project manager who has the skills and knowledge to work effectively with various specialists. In addition to that, I am now most excited when I am acting as a behind-the-scenes facilitator for a company or organization.
Looking back on the time when you started working as a PM, please tell us about the aspects that make you think you were inexperienced and in what ways you were different from how you are now.
From when I was a student until my first year with the company, to be honest, there was a part of me that had a strong conviction about my answers and the judgments I made (laughs). I even imposed my own standards of judgment on my clients, and I realized halfway through the process that I would never be able to convince them nor gain their trust if I did that. There are many different opinions, and none of them are incorrect. That's when I started thinking about how I could overcome challenges in a way that everyone would feel comfortable with. For example, when there is a situation in front of us that differs from what we had hoped for, I realized that it is much more essential to think about what we can do about it from that moment and not get caught up in the past.
In the course of your work, was there a moment when you felt that you had risen to a higher level?
The first time I felt this was when my superior stopped attending meetings (laughs). The realization that I was being trusted gave me confidence. The next step was when I realized that this project would not move forward if I only focused on creating documents and other administrative work. After I became more aware of the need for myself to act as a driving force, my view of the world changed. For example, in order to encourage someone or a company to make a decision, I had to think about how I should move under the surface to create a situation that would facilitate that decision... I started to continually think of how and whom I should engage into action for each situation.
What is the most challenging part of being a project manager?
I think there are multiple factors that increase the level of difficulty; structure, schedule, cost, and scale, but for me, the number of people involved in a project is the fundamental factor. The more people there are, the more twists and turns in communication and leaks in the scope of work that can occur. There is no other way to solve these problems except to solve them one-by-one in a steady manner. It's an accumulation of small things. Once we are over one obstacle, there will be many more to overcome down the line. In this way, I think this is a job with a lot of depth.
What are your current goals?
After about three years in the company, I started thinking, “I don't want to be a manager yet, but I want to build up the same skills a manager would have.” I want to be able to have a managerial perspective and be someone my clients can communicate flatly with; able to make suggestions and comments to improve my clients’ business endeavors. I also think of this as my preparation period for when I come across something that I want to work on as an individual. Within the next five years, I hope to become able to achieve this kind of goal. I'm sure that when I see the next stage of this goal, I'll realize again that it's much more profound.


Trust is the driving force.

Originally, I was not the type of person who had much passion for the world. But when I thought about what motivates me, I realized that it is in people’s trust. I feel joy in building up trust, and when people expect something from me, I naturally want to respond. For that reason, I never want to fail. However, I would like to be a person who can be trusted more every day by producing results that exceed expectations without being afraid of failure.