project manager

A day in The Life of a Project Manager

By Daniel Nicol, Senior Project Manager at Callidus Health & Safety.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of my 15 years in project management is long distance travel. In the one day I have travelled from London to Plymouth fitting in meetings in Bristol and Exeter in between.

I have managed medium projects covering land and building, lifts and escalators, mechanical and electrical, Fire Protection and Health and Safety. These days at Callidus my main focus is on managing projects for the M&S Corporation, “Markies” to you..

There have been some challenging projects. Such as my first night-time crane lift to remove an air handling unit on a three storey building while local revellers, revelled around the crane with me trying to clear them away as I asked myself “should a crane arm really bend like that?.”

Flat roofs? Tell me about them! Contractors who do not grasp the complexity of the job have managed to flood a store in more ways than you can imagine. Other frustrations, the Sat Nav. Why does it not understand the difference between READING and REDDITCH?

sat nav


Please don’t think it is all high drama. There are the light hearted moments. Such as being attacked by a seagull in Falmouth. Even seagulls know M&S is the best place to raise ones children and we invaded their territory. I took a beak to the forehead at high speed, blood, ambulance, hospital, stitches. Then back to find my car clamped for overstaying my welcome. £80 fine and £140 clamp release fee. How I laughed!! Another moment of high drama was when I did the full P.J.Proby and my trousers split from front to back. This was at a meeting in Cheltenham but being an experienced project manager who is used to creative thinking and improvisation, I tied my jacket round my waist, cricketer style, to hide M&S white goods.


I am most productive in the morning so I welcome an early start. That can mean up at 5a.m. for a 9 o’clock meeting in Cardiff.

On the whole I have found store managers and contractors at the various locations to be good to work with as I already meet them with the reputation of Callidus having gone before me. There can be the odd one who has forgot to make a meeting room available and in one instance despite advance negotiations for a meeting involving contractors from around the country, he decided on the day that the start of the summer sales was more important.

“Good to work with” also means they look after me well. I am known for my healthy appetite and willing to try new things so am greeted with bowls of Percy Pigs, Jelly Babies, Sherbets, soft creams, mints, and oh did I mention Percy Pigs? Scottish sparkling water is a must along with M&S orange and mango. I am channelling my inner Maria Carey and considering demanding a basket of kittens.

I look forward to two things. Getting back to my own bed at the end of time away in Premier Inns and the next 15 years of project management.

You can read more about Daniel Nicol, Senior Project Manager here.