Dmitry Bukhensky

Project Manager

Dmitry Bukhensky, a project management veteran with over 7 years of experience, excelled in leading teams at Kanda Software, Redmadrobot, AIC and King Bird Studio.

His entrepreneurial achievements include launching Bloomz, an e-commerce service, and HandsApp, a mobile app development studio. He is recognized for his ability to build teams, implement efficient processes, and drive projects to profitability. Currently, Dmitry extends his expertise by consulting top management and employees across various industries.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

My typical day revolves around a structured routine with a peak productivity in the morning. Rising early at 6 a.m., I dive straight into work, tackling non-routine tasks that demand focus and attention. After a productive work session, I take a break for breakfast, then resume my professional tasks. The afternoon is dedicated to personal affairs and household chores, followed by a bit of leisure with my guitar. A visit to the gym or a refreshing walk outdoors helps break the monotony. I unwind in the evening with a good book or a captivating TV series, ensuring a balance between work and relaxation.

A key factor in my productivity is meticulous planning. The night before, I outline my schedule for the next day, including tasks, meetings, and calls. If any preparation is needed, I address it the day before to ensure a smooth workflow. This proactive approach helps me maintain efficiency and stay on track. I owe many of these insights into productivity and a systematic approach to life to the valuable lessons shared by my friend and former colleague at Redmadrobot, Semyon Kolosov.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Approaching things as a project is intrinsic to my work philosophy, and it mirrors my method for handling various tasks, be it personal or professional. The process unfolds through distinct stages: research, planning, execution, and analysis. For the initial research phase, I rely on practical tools like Miro or Figma Jam, aiding me in gathering and visualizing crucial information. Once the data is collected, I seamlessly transition to Notion, where I meticulously process and systematize the acquired insights.

Since every idea translates into a project for me, irrespective of its nature, setting boundaries becomes imperative. To maintain a structured workflow, I break down each stage into manageable tasks and input them into Todoist. This not only ensures clarity but also facilitates efficient time management, as I conscientiously set deadlines for each task. This systematic approach helps me navigate through the intricacies of idea implementation, ensuring a balance between creativity and practical execution.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The trend that truly excites me is the complete digitalization of the Internet of Things (IoT). The idea of an air conditioner intuitively cooling the apartment before I even arrive or a car proactively booking a service appointment is not just convenient but reflects a seamless integration of technology into our daily lives. Personally, I find the prospect of sneakers providing detailed insights into the number of steps I’ve taken intriguing — even if it might seem useless, it’s captivating.

I’m drawn to exploring new technological innovations and gadgets. The imminent release of the Apple Vision Pro is something I eagerly anticipate, as it promises to bring forth cutting-edge advancements that align with my enthusiasm for staying at the forefront of technology trends.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

The cornerstone of my productivity lies in my commitment to planning and prioritization, a habit that seamlessly weaves through both my professional and personal spheres. Since 2017, I’ve diligently tracked all tasks in a dedicated task tracker, allowing me to finely tune my understanding of daily capacity through firsthand experience. Each day begins with a comprehensive review of tasks, followed by meticulous prioritization. If the workload surpasses what I can accomplish in a day, lower-priority tasks gracefully shift to the next.

Adhering to the 3-minute rule is another crucial aspect of my productivity strategy: if a task can be resolved in three minutes or less, I tackle it immediately. For longer tasks, they are slotted into the day’s agenda. While many find it challenging to adopt such a disciplined approach, for me, it has evolved into a seamless routine and habit. Perhaps my initial success in incorporating this framework was aided by my perfectionistic tendencies. I find solace in tidy lists and harbor a strong aversion to unresolved tasks, firmly believing that order in external affairs contributes to mental clarity. Consequently, maintaining order in my belongings, tasks, and to-do lists has become second nature.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Embrace boldness. Many of the actions that initially seem intimidating rarely result in negative consequences. Even in the worst-case scenario, consider it a valuable experience. At Kanda Software, during a critical project I managed, a pivotal moment unfolded. The product owners hesitated to approve a major release to the platform engineering team on the eve of a significant milestone, for valid reasons. However, recognizing the urgency and the leadership’s anticipation, I took the initiative. After quick consultations with engineers and development team leaders, assessing the readiness and potential risks, I made the decision to proceed with the release. The outcome was a smooth release without any issues, and my credibility soared. This experience reinforced the notion that taking calculated risks and making decisions with conviction can lead to favorable outcomes and personal growth.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

You won’t persuade me that pop music possesses a far greater degree of complexity in terms of composition, melody, and arrangement compared to heavy metal music. While pop music is widely embraced for its catchy and accessible nature, I contend that the intricacies of heavy metal, with its intricate guitar work, complex time signatures, and dynamic arrangements, offer a depth that is underappreciated by many.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Meet new people. The richness of life, diverse experiences, unique stories, and alternative perspectives that people bring to the table are incredibly enriching. Throughout my career, particularly in large companies like Kanda Software, Redmadrobot, or AIC, I made a conscious effort to interact not only with direct colleagues but also with neighbouring teams and departments.

This approach has proven invaluable. Over time, I found myself collaborating with some of these people in shared or related teams. The pre-established connection facilitated the building of relationships and accelerated teamwork. Additionally, engaging in professional meetups has been a powerful avenue for networking and community building. Through these interactions, I’ve encountered remarkable experts, and in some cases, I’ve been able to assist them in securing employment within the companies I’ve worked.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

When I struggle to focus, my go-to strategy is to allow myself some intentional time to be unfocused, if the situation permits. Taking a step back and giving my mind a brief break often helps reset my focus. When that’s not feasible, I change the environment. For instance, if I’ve been working from home, I might switch to a coffee shop to inject a fresh perspective into my surroundings. This change of scenery has a knack for breaking the cycle of overwhelm and reigniting my concentration.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

The key of my strategy for business growth and career advancement is a mix of diligence and courage. While the importance of diligence is evident, the element of courage holds a main role in my approach. Early in my career, I often found myself in meetings with thoughts or ideas I hesitated to share, fearing they might be too simple or potentially wrong. This hesitation stemmed from a fear of criticism or a perceived loss of credibility. What I consistently observed, however, was that when I hesitated, someone else would often voice the very idea I had in mind, receiving approval from the group.

At a certain point, I decided to overcome this fear and started expressing my thoughts and ideas without reservation, even in front of individuals with higher rank or more experience. I began making important decisions on my own behalf, taking responsibility for them, and not shying away from the potential for mistakes. I realized that a single, non-repeated mistake is a source of valuable experience rather than a career-breaker. This shift in mindset, characterized by fearlessness in expressing ideas and taking responsibility, has been a consistent part of my approach.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

One significant failure in my career occurred during my initial role as a project manager, where I worked with a particularly capricious client. In an attempt to appease the client, I consistently painted an overly optimistic picture—promising idealistic deadlines, assuring a bug-free project, and presenting the technical implementation as straightforward without any potential pitfalls. Predictably, the project took a turn for the worse, leaving the client dissatisfied, and ultimately resulting in project failure.

I learned the importance of managing expectations realistically and transparently. I began to communicate more effectively with clients, providing them with accurate assessments of timelines, potential challenges, and the complexities of technical implementations. This shift towards transparent communication not only helped in rebuilding trust with clients but also proved essential in preventing future misunderstandings.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A mobile application that leverages image recognition technology to generate recipes based on the contents of a user’s refrigerator. The app could allow users to take a photo of the ingredients they have on hand, and then provide them with a list of recipes they can make using those ingredients. It could even include additional features such as meal planning, shopping lists for missing ingredients, and dietary preferences for a more personalized experience.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Todoist, my personal task tracker. I’ve been relying on it since 2017, and it has become the central hub for organizing my daily responsibilities. Todoist categorizes everything into distinct projects, covering aspects like work, personal matters, and household tasks. Within the personal category, I’ve created sub-projects related to specific areas like music and health, establishing a hierarchical structure for seamless organization.

The flexibility of Todoist allows me to employ different structures, utilizing both simple to-do lists and more complex Kanban boards based on the nature of the project. I leverage the system of priorities and labels to further refine and categorize tasks. Crucially, I make it a habit to assign deadlines to all tasks, transforming Todoist into a fundamental tool for everyday project management.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

A mini tripod and a desktop small studio lamp for my iPhone, transforming it into an external camera for video calls. In my opinion, enhancing the quality of virtual meetings is crucial nowadays. I find that using video during calls significantly boosts engagement, a notion supported by a compelling study commissioned by Zoom and conducted by Morning Consult. For individuals, it showed that video interviews significantly impact hiring decisions, with 84% of people managers expressing more confidence when candidates have their video on. Professionals also reported feeling more connected to their work and colleagues (75%), while 72% of managers felt their direct reports were more engaged with video on.

The advantages extend to teams, where 79% of professionals believe colleagues pay more attention with video on, 75% find the quality of discussions substantially better, and 59% think team building is more effective. From a business perspective, video builds trust with clients (70% of sales and marketing professionals), increases the likelihood of closing deals (69% of sales professionals), and enhances overall job performance (61% of professionals).

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

Marshall Rosenberg’s “Nonviolent Communication.” The book has significantly enhanced my communication skills, reducing time spent on unnecessary debates and increasing overall effectiveness. What I appreciate most is that the concepts presented can be applied even when the other party is not familiar with the framework. The book has been instrumental in fostering clearer, more empathetic communication, and it continues to be a valuable resource for navigating various interactions.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

This year, I thoroughly enjoyed watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The series weaves a beautiful story with a delightful sense of humor, set against the backdrop of the vibrant New York City in the 1960s. What particularly struck me about the show is its portrayal of perseverance and the tangible results that stem from unwavering determination. The main character’s journey not only entertains but also serves as a poignant reminder of the power of resilience and the pursuit of one’s passions.

Key learnings:

  • Meticulous Planning: Proactive planning, outlined the night before, using tools like Todoist, contributes to maintaining efficiency and staying on track.
  • Courage and Transparency: Dmitry’s career advice centers on expressing ideas without reservation, overcoming the fear of mistakes, and taking responsibility for decisions, fostering personal growth.
  • Realistic Expectations: Learning from a project failure, Dmitry highlights the importance of transparently managing expectations with clients, preventing misunderstandings and rebuilding trust.
  • Investment in Virtual Meetings: Recognizing the impact of video on engagement, Dmitry invested in tools to enhance the quality of virtual meetings, emphasizing its role in building trust and improving overall job performance.