Speaker: John A. Seber, Chief Operating Officer,
Velankani Information Systems, Inc.
If you respectfully follow the “standard process” in pursuing job opportunities, you may be experiencing inadequate responses. John provided some insight that might be helpful in your job search.
Some of the highlights include:
John is available via email at
. Also check : www.viscoop.com
About John Seber: John Seber began his technical career after completing his BA in Mathematics at Montclair State University and a Certificate in Computer Programming at the Chubb Institute of Computer Technology. He subsequently earned a Masters of Management Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. John joined Velankani Information Systems in 2001, and is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the company’s staffing business. Previously he enjoyed a 20+ year career in directing financial systems development and maintenance at AT&T/Lucent Technologies. Prior to this he supported numerous applications at Allied-Signal (Honeywell) and Chubb Insurance.
It often seems that a lean, agile development environment
will always be at odds with the structure and constraints
of the PMO. Rick Freedman described the situation
well in a recent blog post:
Many firms have committed so completely to PMBOK process flows and CMM best practices that many of the core concepts of agile development, such as “barely sufficient” documentation and change-friendliness, seem like heresy. In fact, I’ve had people in my Agile Project Management classes tell me that their perception of agile is that the key message is “everything you know about project management is wrong.”
Yet it does not have to be this way. The agile PMO can bridge the gap between these two very important groups and help organizations to execute projects more successfully. While it does require a bit of change management, it is not as impossible as it seems and the benefits far outweigh the effort. First, let's look at the skills and strengths that each team brings to the table.
The Benefits of Agile
Agile development has exploded in recent years for a number of reasons. For one thing, it encourages constant communication with customers throughout the development process, which helps to minimize scope creep. I recently spoke with an executive at a well known financial institution who believes that this is one of the key benefits of agile. It allows customer advocates to see what you are developing very early in the cycle, and you can then correct as needed before it's too late. This also enables companies to adapt themselves to the needs of the market very quickly. In a 2008 article, “The Agile PMO Role,” Tamara Sulaiman asserted that “agile teams are cross-functional, self organizing and self managing.” With characteristics like these, it's not difficult to see how agile development teams can be extremely effective.
The Benefits of the PMO
Likewise, the PMO brings significant advantages to the organization. Its primary focus is on metrics and progress tracking, which are crucial components of successful project execution. It can also help facilitate communication between developers, project managers and executives. Sulaiman puts it this way:
“Let’s say you are a manager or leader in an agile organization. Your development teams have implemented Scrum and are now working toward release. You’ve got the Scrum of Scrums working so that teams can communicate with each other about cross-team dependencies and impediments on a daily basis. But there’s a gap, isn’t there? As a manager, how do you effectively and efficiently measure progress, manage risk and keep your eye on the big picture across these agile teams? Wouldn’t it be great to have an easy way to communicate budget and schedule information at the program level to the organization?”
While the agile worker is concerned mainly with innovation and fast delivery, the PMO can help to keep the rest of the organization informed as to what is going on. Scope changes, delays or quality issues can arise at any time, and when they do, they must be communicated to all of the stakeholders so that they can revise timelines and adjust their expectations.
In addition, standard PMBOK methodologies (e.g. compliance management) are often more successful at managing corporate initiatives than other methods. The executive at a large grocery store chain once told me that in his company, it is necessary to meet deadlines and not allow any deviation from scope from a legal standpoint. While agile is all about discovery – discovery of what the customer really needs as well as the discovery of what is possible – it does not always meet the needs of project-oriented organizations with specific requirements. If you have to meet a new HIPAA regulation right away, you don't have much use for discovery. This is where the PMO can help the most.
The Value of Working Together
Combining the strengths of these two groups is a strategic move that will help organizations reach new heights of profitability that they never thought possible. Project risk can be more effectively managed when the PMO is keeping an eye on things, and agile teams can achieve greater levels of transparency than before. In addition, the PMO can benefit from increased flexibility and dialogue with the customer, not to mention the fact that they will have more time to focus on their leadership role. A recent article entitled “Agile Project Management” makes the following point:
“Agile methodologies free the project manager from the drudgery of being a taskmaster thereby enabling the project manager to focus on being a leader – someone who keeps the spotlight on the vision, who inspires the team, who promotes teamwork and collaboration, who champions the project and removes obstacles to progress.”
Steps Towards an Agile PMO
One of the best ways to get two different teams to work together is to highlight their similarities instead of their differences. Believe it or not, the agile team and the PMO do have things in common. For one, they are both interested in prioritizing projects to ensure that the organization is investing in the right ones. Even as the economy improves, this is something that organizations must continue to do, and both agile teams and project managers can work together to achieve it.
When it comes to a difference of opinion, compromise is necessary. Creating an agile PMO in your organization will take a bit of diplomacy and mediation. The executive I spoke to at the aforementioned financial institution warns, “Don't be pure PMI or pure agile.” Rather, find ways to get each team to give a little ground. Agile developers might compromise by tracking their time to task in order to keep the PMO updated on their progress. At the same time, project managers can compromise by being flexible and willing to update plans and schedules as necessary. If the organization uses a project tracking solution, a work request module would be especially helpful by providing a mutual feedback loop.
Organizations can really benefit from the agile PMO if they are willing to put in a little effort to make it succeed. The right management processes such as open discussion and compromise will enable managers to capitalize on the strengths of each group, resulting in successful project execution and increased ROI.
About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Learn more about Curt at http://journyx.com/company/curtfinch.html.
When you attend PMINJ’s
monthly programs, you will always find Dennis Komsa at the
sign-in table ready to help you register for the
meeting. In return for his dedication, strong
leadership skills and proactive efforts as team lead of
the On-Site Registration team, Dennis is being recognized
as PMINJ’s Volunteer of the Quarter.
Dennis became a member of the NJ chapter in 2008 and, in the following year, volunteered to take lead role for the On-Site Registration team. His strong leadership skills are evident as he deals with scheduling his team, now reaching 15 members in size, to ensure that there is ample registration support for each meeting. As part of this responsibility, he deals with resolving any registration issues.
For each of the eight months that PMINJ holds a dinner meeting, Dennis will insure that there are sufficient volunteers to work at the meeting’s on-site registration table. He has demonstrated flexibility in handling last minute changes in scheduling. With a recent increase in volunteers, Dennis has improved the scheduling of team efforts so that each volunteer has some time off for dinner and networking. Also, Dennis takes responsibility for bringing the registration supplies and name tags early to each meeting.
In addition to handling the walk-in registrations on the evening of the meeting, Dennis assists in compiling the payment analysis that is done after registration is completed. He also follows up with post-meeting issue resolution.
Dennis’ volunteer efforts do not stop with the PMINJ organization. In addition, Dennis is an active volunteer with the Somerset County United Way; as a member of the Resource Development and Marketing Committee, he heads their Social Media efforts to expand the organization’s outreach program. He has helped them establish a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, established a blog on MyCentralJersey.com and is currently in the process of implementing a high school intern program to lend staffing assistance.
Whether you are new to
project management or a seasoned project manager, by
joining PMI and the PMINJ Chapter, you have taken an
important step in your professional development. The
NJ chapter is over 4500 members strong. From our
dedicated board members to the many experienced project
managers with diverse backgrounds, our chapter has a lot
to offer members no matter what their experience or their
location. So as we face the ever challenging
and competitive economy, it is important to make the most
of your chapter membership and understand what benefits it
As a New Jersey Chapter member you are entitled to a number of member only benefits:
These member only benefits are in addition to the other
great opportunities our chapter offers such as networking,
training and job ads.
With so much available to you within our chapter, are you really making the most of your membership? The best way to take advantage of everything your membership has to offer is to GET INVOLVED! Our monthly meetings offer great networking opportunities with other NJ Chapter members and presentations from many different informative speakers. If you are unable to attend the main location, you can take advantage of one of our satellite locations. These sites provide the opportunity to network prior to the evening’s formal presentations. We also have a large group of members who volunteer their time on a monthly basis. From serving as an elected member of the board to participating on a committee, it’s a great way to earn PDUs, use your project management skills and support our chapter and community. Volunteer opportunities are always available. See the listing on our website!
If you still do not find something to fit your time or interest another great way to enhance your chapter membership is to make suggestions for improvement. This is a chapter for members run by members. If you have a suggestion you think would improve your membership experience, as well as those of other members, don’t hesitate to provide your feedback to a board member, on a survey, or through email to . Don’t forget we also send out surveys to our members and have recently begun holding member focus group meetings. Your feedback is important to us. The only way you can make your membership more valuable is by letting us know what you think.
Finally, it is vitally important you keep your PMI and NJ Chapter membership up to date, as well as your personal profile information. To stay connected to the chapter we need the right information to contact you. If you move, get a new phone number or change email providers, you should remember to go to www.pmi.org to update your information. Our chapter will receive a monthly update with your new contact information. Keeping your profile current will ensure you will continue to receive our newsletters, surveys, and any emails updating you with important chapter announcements.
As VP of Membership, it is a privilege to serve this great membership community. Project management isn’t just about projects – it’s about people too, which is why it’s so important to get involved. If you have questions or concerns about your NJ Chapter Membership please contact me. Our chapter is committed to building professionalism and excellence in Project Managers. But we need your help to take the steps to be an active member in our Chapter!
is clearly an important factor in ensuring business and
project success. But how can an organisation tell whether
its management of risk is good enough? Maturity models
provide a framework to benchmark capability and compare
existing approaches with best practice. The first such
model in the risk area was the Risk Maturity Model (RMM)
developed in 1997. This describes four levels of
increasing risk capability, termed Naïve, Novice,
Normalized, and Natural.
Each maturity level can be defined using four attributes
– culture, process, experience and application:
Risk management is too important for us to do it poorly.
We need to assess and monitor our risk management
capability, compare ourselves with best practice, identify
areas of shortcoming that require improvement, and keep
developing. Risk maturity models like RMM provide a
valuable framework for such assessments. They can help
organizations benchmark risk management capability, design
a structured path to improvement, and measure progress
towards the goal of enhanced risk management
Oh there is a problem alright. And it starts with the
fact that you have a boss, peer or project team member who
is completely in denial about the chaos that is all around
them. If they do see any kind of issues, well those issues
start with you. This is not meant to be spiteful. This is
the behavior of someone who is completely oblivious to the
fact that they cause problems. If they do have any inkling
that there is an issue, then they have a perfect excuse.
Do any of these sound familiar?
What kinds of chaos surround this person? Their chaos can
be lack of organization, time related or memory related.
The chaos created by this person looks like chaos created
by creative types or even by someone who deceives others
into thinking they are organized. The key here is that
they absolutely do not own their issue. They really do not
see that there is a problem. If they miss a meeting, they
can blame their assistant who did not remind them of it.
They really think you didn’t leave them a message because
their assistant gave it to them and it was buried under
the piles of paper on their desk.
So what's a project manager to do? Well let's look at what not to do first - do not blame them. Do not put them on the defensive. Do not constantly harp on them about the problem. Do not argue with them about their excuses, just move on. Find a way to work around the problem because you’re not going to be able to change them.
Now step back and look at the big picture. What do you want from this working relationship? Where do they have problems and how can you help? Even if you don't feel like you want to help them, remember you are helping yourself too! With that in mind:
You may think that’s a lot of trouble to go to, but it
will actually save you time and make your job less
aggravating. Hand delivering memos might seem a bit
extreme but you’ll know that they’ve been read. Another
method that works is to deliver the memo and have them
initial that they have read it. This also serves to create
a paper trail that no one can argue with.
If you do have to call them on the carpet about their behavior, ask them how you can help them get control of their disorganization. Knowing that you’re willing to help them will make them much more willing to work on the behavior that is causing so much chaos for the project.
As for their other skills, take advantage of them. You may want to find what they are best at and exploit that. If your problem person excels at something that another project team member isn’t so good at, perhaps he or she could take the burden off their co-worker in exchange for that person handling their calendar.
And remember, their behavior is about them, it is not about you. Don't take it personally.
About the Author: Margaret Meloni, MBA, PMP, is an executive coaching consultant for IT professionals.
The PMP exam is a 4-hour, 200 question, multiple-choice,
computer-based exam that leads to the Project Management
Professional (PMP) credential. It is based largely on the
contents of the PMBOK® Guide, although you will probably
want to use other books as well during your exam
preparation. The PMBOK® Guide is wide-ranging and covers
many concepts: the exam contains questions from all the
knowledge areas, so there is a lot of material for you to
cover in your study.
A PMP exam simulator can form a valuable part of your exam preparation. As you would expect from the name, it simulates the exam. A PMP exam simulator is a piece of software – either on your computer or available online – that provides a similar environment to the PMP exam, giving you the chance to practice in advance of taking the real test. Here is more information about what to expect from a PMP exam simulator.
A simulator presents you with questions like the real exam: A PMP exam simulator mimics the online environment of the real exam, down to the questions. It shows you realistic exam questions and gives you the chance to take some practice exams. The exam questions are also split into the same proportions as they will be in the real test. For example, only 8 per cent of the questions in the exam will come from the Closing process group. The exam simulator will ask you questions in the same proportions, so you will get a feel for how often different areas of the syllabus will be examined.
A simulator allows you to practice: We all need to practice things before we are good at them, and taking exams is no exception. If you haven’t taken a computer-based test before, the computer environment can be daunting. Using a PMP exam simulator means you have the opportunity to simulate many practice exams. You can do this at home, or at work, and you can make the experience as close to the real exam as possible by making sure that you have no distractions for 4 hours. Switch off your phone, and immerse yourself in the questions. Then you’ll know exactly what taking the real exam will feel like.
A simulator shows you where you need additional preparation: Taking practice exams is good preparation for the PMP exam, but don’t get disheartened if you don’t pass the first time. The purpose of “failing” at home is to understand which areas of the PMBOK® Guide you need to review. A simulator will show you which questions you got wrong and point you in the direction of what you need to review. Use this feedback to work on your study schedule so you spend time focusing on the areas where you need more practice.
A simulator demonstrates that you are improving: Much of your PMP exam preparation will be self-study, as preparing for the exam can take 8-12 weeks. During that time, it can be difficult to know if you are making any progress. A PMP exam simulator will show you where you are improving. Take a practice exam when you start your review, and note the topics where you need more work. Then review these areas. When you take another practice exam, or work through some test questions in a non-exam environment, you’ll get immediate feedback regarding whether you got the questions right. You will be able to tell if you are making progress on the areas where you were weaker at the beginning of your studies.
A simulator gives you confidence: One of the advantages of using a PMP exam simulator for your studies is that you will feel more confident about tackling the real exam. Having practiced with realistic questions and taken sample exams in an environment that reflects the testing conditions of the PMP exam, you will know what to expect on the day. Knowing what to expect removes much of the stress of taking exams: at least you are fully prepared and have already “lived through” an exam-type situation. The exam will appear easier, because you can focus on the content of the questions and not on familiarizing yourself with the online environment or the way the questions are presented.
In summary, a PMP exam simulator is a tool that supplements your personal study for the PMP exam. It provides you with a realistic, computer-based testing environment that enables you to practice reading, understanding and responding to the exam questions in a short period of time. Using a PMP exam simulator before taking the real exam is a good way to prepare yourself for both the exam environment and also the types of questions that you will be asked.
About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP is a noted PMP expert. He has helped over 13,000 students prepare for the PMP Exam
The 25th Annual PMINJ Symposium WOWed over 600 in
attendance at the Pines Manor in Edison, NJ.
The first keynote speaker of the day, Scott Regan woke the audience with energy and moving inspirations for leadership in the face of change. Scott pronounced it's not the same world and won't be four years from now, standing on top of the only partially empty table in the room surprising the attendees! Scott motivated the attendees to participate in a practice workshop, by stepping through a hand-out, to bring home what it takes for a project manager to keep the focus on what matters and realize personal strengths.
Three tracks anchored the day: WOW Leadership, WOW Methodology and Build Your WOW Brand. The first morning track session gave examples from great leaders, defined ITIL process excellence and spoke of “Good to Great” project management best practices. Next, over a nourishing break, project managers had the opportunity to network and gather information from a diverse range of exhibitors. The second morning track session offered attendees a choice of three popular topics covering “Navigating Organizational Politics”, “Applying AGILE with PMBOK” and “Transitioning Project Management Skills To Build the Green Economy”.
An elaborate buffet lunch was followed by Rory Vaden's invigorating keynote - “Take the Stairs”, compelling attendees to stop procrastinating and take the next step literally and figuratively to accomplish personal and organizational goals. A hard act to follow, the afternoon sessions engaged attendees to lead in crisis, to guide their organizations into sustainably programs and to create a personal brand. The attendees buzzed in the exhibitor room during the afternoon break for more networking, and to bring the speakers’ concepts home and apply them!
The final keynote, Tres Roeder, presented the case for and the reality of the human side of change: awareness, whole body responsiveness, clear communication, adaptability, diplomacy and persistence. These are the skills required for project managers to be change agents. This was also a great way to close the Symposium leaving project managers with much to ponder on, and bring back to their daily work and personal lives...
Overall what emerged from this veritable mind expanding day was that leadership is a choice and participation is required to leverage this choice regardless of where one is positioned in the organization. Furthermore, there was unanimous energy for project managers to lead the change and to Be the change. Volunteering for PMINJ was also cited as one of the success factors to expand personal and corporate value. This year made it apparent, it's time for all project managers to recognize their leadership, methodologies and personal strengths to leverage the insights presented at the 25th annual PMINJ symposium!
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John E Beilin
Monica Shillings Biroc
Barbara A Cadmus
Diane M. Cash
Subramanian Cilambakkam Loganathan
Karen M Cirillo
Stephen J Clark
Scott Donald Collins
Ricky Devon Davis
Gopalakrishna Bhat Delanthamajalu
Terence P Dignan
Christopher Joseph Dixon
Gerald George Fajardo
| Shince Francis
Richard Gaza Herczeg
Ryan M. Ismail
Ashwina K. Keertikar
Yvette Janine Lincoln
Roger V Mendoza
Mazen M Mokhtar
Venkat Vinay K Moturi
| James J OBrien
Curtis L Russell
Nishidhdha Narendra Shah
Matthew J Strycharz
Ramanarao V Yedlarajaiah
Robin Marie Young
Joseph S. Kerick