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A Day in the Life of Lily Ashikova, Project Manager

Lily Ashikova

Our name is intentional. “Kin” refers to family and “Carta” refers to maps. When together, we’re Kin + Carta — a group of connected makers, builders and creators, who come together everyday to help our clients build experiences and plot a clear path forward in today’s digital world. Carta is what we do, Kin is who we are.

Day in the Life is a series that brings the day-to-day experiences of working at Kin + Carta to light, all through the eyes of our Kin. And today, we want to take a look at the Day in the Life of Lily Ashikova, Project Manager.

Lily Ashikova joined Kin + Carta (formerly Melon) in 2006 as a .NET developer. Fast forward to 2024, she is a Senior Project Manager.


Lily, this is your eighteenth year at Kin + Carta — congrats! In 2014, we interviewed you for the first time. What has changed since then?

A lot has changed, and at the same time, a lot is still the same. Kin + Carta has grown so much, however, it still feels like one big family. This, to me, is great! The growth has also enabled us to work on bigger and more interesting software development projects. Professionally, I have changed, too, becoming a Project Manager in the last 18 years.


What helped you with the transition from Team Lead to Project Manager?

It happened pretty organically. The team lead role requires much more technical skills, while the managerial one requires more soft skills. With strong motivation, enough time, and training, anyone (developers like me included!) can become successful managers. I had valuable trainings and support provided to me from Kin + Carta along my journey.


Related to your new role’s training, what have you learned?

I am more of a straight-to-the-point person, so I have learned to be kinder and more considerate when I interact with others. I’m more patient now with both my teammates and our clients. I don’t get frustrated when they don’t understand me right from the beginning. Now I can explain something more than 5 times in different ways, if needed. I can now walk in other people's shoes. This took me years. Also, I have learned to say “no” when I can’t or don’t have the time to do something.


What do you love the most about your job, the one thing that’s made you stay for so many years?

Developers, developers, developers! Okay, and the management also. The team spirit is always high, even amidst everything else changing – projects, clients, technologies. But the way teams work together and the management acts keep me here.


Tell us more about your work with the management.

I have been closely working with one person from the management in the last couple of years — Mario Berberyan. He gives me autonomy and is easy-going.


Which is your favorite project so far?

It’s no doubt an ongoing project from 2014 for Philips. It is a long-term project and I like it because it is relatively complex and constantly changing. We’re building a marketing and forecasting system that aids the company’s marketing departments and financial controllers in their strategic planning and reporting. We’ve used several technologies throughout the years including .NET Core, MS SQL 2019, PowerBI, ag-grid, jQuery, HTML, CSS. Following technology and the team dynamics, it has been a continuously great roller coaster to be on. No way to get bored!


Which was the most challenging one?

Nine years ago, we did a car service chain project. We’ve used Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework — technology that was relatively new to me. The team I worked with was new too, and pretty big. We all counted up to 15 people at the busiest time and had a very tight deadline of 3-4 months for completing the whole project. I was in deep waters, but quickly learned to swim. And swim fast!


Do you prefer working in a small or big team?

I love working in big teams. A big team, in my opinion, means a more complex project. This is what I enjoy the most. This is when I learn the most. I am good at coordinating people and motivating them to make things happen. The bigger the challenge, the more accomplished I feel.


You have previously shared with us that you are proud because of the team you have built. Is this the thing you are the proudest of?

I am at least twice prouder than before since I am part of two teams now. My colleagues make me proud with each professional milestone we conquer. On a personal note – I have two kids that make me pretty proud, too. Overall, it seems I am quite a proud person (laughs).


How do you stay motivated at work?

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” – this is the quote that I carry with me, every day. Motivation is the strongest when it comes from within the person. If I can help spark this self-motivation, I have completed my goal.


Teach us a lesson.

Embrace every moment with focus and dedication. Pour your heart into every task and give it your absolute best. Cultivate gratitude and cherish the people around you.

Ready to bring your passion to Kin + Carta?

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