Some Meanderings and Project Management

This week I had the opportunity to spend some time with Ciber‘s Global Program Manager, Tom Kent. Tom has been a mentor to me for the last seven years or so. We discussed the different dynamics in the corporate world in comparison to the consulting world, over french toast and oatmeal at the Kenwood First Watch. Many of you probably understand this, still I cannot stress enough the positive affect a mentor can have on one’s life and career. I know that my father struggled when his best friend and confidant moved away, and my dad stressed to me over the years the importance of having someone to talk to. If you don’t have a mentor, look around. Look for someone who’s life you respect and approach them. Ask them if you could get their advice. Most folks are flattered by this question. Use it to begin a valuable relationship that will serve both of you well.

I also bumped into PDR‘s Natasha Allie again at the Panera across the street. We chatted for a moment.

Tom Trame, Haverstick‘s ace program manager, and I shared some time at the Blue Ash Ruby Tuesday for lunch. We discussed some of the endemic issues in project management and focused on the problem that many, if not most, project managers don’t create an environment conducive to straightforward discussion about schedule, scope, and cost, and the give and take between the three when inevitable project changes happen or more information is learned. Tom is the man to manage your portfolio of projects, and, if on the off chance one of your projects begins to go sideways (cough…wouldn’t happen to you…cough), he knows how to step in, recalibrate communications and expectations with project sponsors, mentoring the PM to get the thing back on track.

Our conversation served as a segue for some time I spent with Xavier Professor Tim Kloppenborg, Ph.D. Tim recently published Contemporary Project Management with CENGAGE, where I’ve done work in the past. Tim and I talked in his Schott tower office about project management, his new book, and how we might be able to collaborate in ways that would help his students. Tim had some good perspective on today’s project management not being the project management based on the fundamentals created 40 years ago, the main differences being how communication has changed over time, and the array of communication tools at our disposal today. As usual, when you throw people and the passing of time at disciplined processes, you generally have an easier time tweaking the processes than the people to fit new paradigms.

In any case, I came out of our meeting with a few to-dos, including presenting to one of his undergraduate classes, working with one of his star students who graduates this semester, and perhaps serving on an IS or Management program advisory board. The advisory board role may dovetail nicely with a similar role that I serve in at UC. I look forward to continually working with Professor Klopppenborg.



~ by Andy on February 8, 2008.

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