From Video Game Production to Co-Managing Dreamforce

Creative Joshua Lanada gains confidence as a project manager

When he began the UC Berkeley Extension Certificate in Project Management, Joshua Lanada was working full time as the Project Coordinator for startup video game company Trion Worlds.

There, his job responsibilities took him deeper into project management territory: working with an in-house team of 20—including copywriters, visual designers, video editors, web developers and capture artists—to execute game packaging.

Before that, he’d held positions at video game companies Atari and Sega of America, QA testing video games and producing marketing support materials.

He had studied video game art and design at San Francisco’s Art Institute of California, which launched him into his current creative career. But to advance his career, Joshua wanted to get a deeper understanding—learn all the ins-and-outs—of project management and how to deal with different stakeholders. He also wanted to prove that he was able to learn new skills.

Portrait of Joshua Lanada in black jacket and blue jeans
Project Management grad Joshua Lanada

Joshua Goes Into Career Mode

Entering the certificate program was itself a growth experience for Joshua that required some initial adjustments. Not everyone had a creative background—many of his fellow students were in the professions more traditionally associated with project management: finance, construction and engineering.

“At first, I was a little intimidated by the classes because there were project managers who are not in my industry,” he says.

But Joshua soon realized that the diversity of his classmates’ backgrounds only enhanced the learning environment.

“I saw that as an opportunity to learn more about their industries,” Joshua recalls. “Each day of class was always very exciting because I learned new things not only about the subject, but also about everyone else. The instructor and the students shared their experiences with the entire class, which made learning very interactive.”

He found that he could implement what he learned from the classes at his work at Trion Worlds the next day.

“I learned how to write more concise work statements, provide better project timelines, and track the roles and responsibilities of team members on a project,” Joshua details.

My supervisor has confidence that I can tackle any project, from small to large, from digital to print.

Since completing the certificate, Joshua has moved on to Senior Project Manager at Salesforce, where he’s employing lessons learned to a myriad of projects. Joshua manages creative deliverables ranging from websites to onsite events, while collaborating with art directors, copywriters, creative directors, strategists and vendors.

Joshua now also holds the designation of Certified ScrumMaster®.

His latest project was co-managing the sold-out Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual 4-day software conference in San Francisco—and one of the largest in the world.

How has the certificate impacted his work? “My supervisor has confidence that I can tackle any project, from small to large, from digital to print,” says Joshua. “It's worth taking the time to get the certificate because you learn so much about project management, and it also exposes you to other project managers in the industry whom you can also learn from.”

Joshua has come a long way from his video game QA days, but he's showing no signs of slowing down. Next he’ll be taking the Special Events Project Planning Course to enhance his understanding of the event-planning process. 2019’s Dreamforce may be the best yet!