Moustafa Alsaadi, a program manager, has been with Brightspot since 2018.
To kick off the summer, Rose went on the record with Moustafa Alsaadi, a program manager who has contributed to a wide array of projects from California Times to Billy Casper Golf since starting at Brightspot in 2018. Moustafa shares about his unique role at Brightspot and the many hats he wears, the empathy he's developed in his role working on client delivery projects, and why the California Times project stands out as a memorable moment in his career.
Where did you work prior to Brightspot? What brought you here?
I was at a company called Gravitate Solutions. The company worked mostly with associations and had developed an applications management system that had many similar characteristics to a CMS like Brightspot. Users could manage events, members, and websites. It was a great place to work but, ultimately, I wanted to find a place where I could work with larger clients on more visible and mainstream projects. After looking at Brightspot's client profile, I was very impressed and knew those were the types of partners I wanted to work with.
Can you tell me more about your role as a program manager? How does your position fit into our delivery process?
I had a client ask me the same question the other day, because it seems like I do a little bit of everything. I see it as an all-encompassing role that ranges from writing requirements to advocating for the client to leading the delivery team. I make sure that everyone is working on the right priority and getting everything done on-time. I love my job because there are so many different aspects which ensures that it never gets boring.
As you just mentioned, our program managers wear many different hats. How did your background prepare you to juggle so many different demands and responsibilities? Is there a specific part of your role that you find most enjoyable?
One of the biggest things going for me is that since graduating from college, I have worked at smaller companies, where I've always had to wear multiple hats. Those experiences line up perfectly with what I'm doing now because a program manager is, at least, three jobs in one. The role requires me to juggle all different types of work at the same time.
My favorite part of my job is putting myself in the client's shoes as we build new features and being the first person to review and test them to make sure what we're building meets the client's expectations. I enjoy thinking as the client and understanding their day-to-day business to make sure we are delivering to their expectations.
In the two years that you've been at Brightspot, you have worked on some really interesting projects. Does one stand out as most memorable?
LA Times for sure! The entire California Times project with The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union Tribune, and the other local sites under them was the most interesting project I've worked on in my career, period. First, the visibility of the sites we built made the work that much more meaningful. Millions of people see and read the LA Times. Second, the integrations, migrations, and functionally we delivered and built for them was very complex and made the work even more exciting. Lastly, we had a really great and talented team. Seeing it come together with beautiful sites and an excited newsroom made it worth all the extra hours.
How do you think Brightspot best benefits our clients?
The coolest thing about Brightspot is even though it has amazing functionally out of the box, it is easy to customize to meet the client's exact needs. Every customer uses Brightspot differently. It's really inspiring to see it go from a tool doing one thing over here to another tool doing a totally different thing over there, yet still being built all within the same platform.
What professional skills have you strengthened or developed since coming to Brightspot?
The ability to empathize with the client. I have learned how to look at problems in a different light and understand the needs from the client's perspective. At the end of the day, their happiness is most important to us and developing the skill to empathize with them has been very helpful.
Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
But the people are the best! The types of projects and clients we work with are really unique, which makes every day different. Although I've only been here two years, it feels like much longer because of the breadth of experiences. Every day presents fresh new challenges and it's awesome to work at a place that pushes you to do great work.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
Remember when we got to go outside, that was fun! I love going to the gym and spending time outdoors exercising with my dog. Oh, and food! Food is my favorite. I love going to new restaurants and trying new dishes.
While we are at home physically distancing, do you have any books, television, or movies recommendations to share?
I have so many recommendations! The pandemic has given me so much free time. I read a really good book recently called The Silent Patient. At the beginning of the book, the wife murders her husband and then goes silent. She starts working with a psychiatrist who tries to get her to open up and explain what happened. It was really good! I also just watched an amazing show on Netflix called Money Heist. It's about a group of thieves who are trying to steal money from a mint in Spain. I loved it!
What is your favorite sport team?
I love Liverpool and watch every game! I am very happy the Premier League came back last weekend so Liverpool could win its championship!