Similar to a gift, 2015 has been wrapped up - its
lessons to be remembered and utilized.
At the close of one year and beginning of another, we reflect upon the year behind us and look forward to the year ahead. Let me express my deep gratitude for all your participation and support in 2015. I want to give heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make 2015 a great year for the PMI New Jersey Chapter – the volunteers, members, committees, and the Board of Directors. Your loyalty to the chapter is uplifting.
We started 2015 with sadness in losing Board Member Barbara Fuller, yet rallied to accomplish great things. As a chapter, we expanded our reach into schools and corporations to provide project management expertise and support. We offered basic PM training to students competing in multiple state science fairs and Boy Scouts pursuing an Eagle Scout award. PMINJ participated in multiple Project Management Days throughout the state at various corporations.
The NJ Chapter hit high marks with an outstanding Customer Service Center to answer member’s queries in a timely manner. PMINJ offered stellar PMP / CAPM prep courses, two sold-out symposia, numerous workshops and matched multiple mentor / mentee teams. The chapter continued monthly program meetings with engaging and thought-provoking speakers, and will continue to increase the number of satellite locations for members to remotely attend monthly meetings. Chapter volunteers planned community outreach events throughout the year, built homes with Habitat for Humanity, and facilitated coat and food drives. The chapter recognized Excellence in Project Management in awarding the Project Manager of the Year and Project of the Year Awards. The chapter also awarded and renewed scholarships to children of members attending college and awarded a scholarship to a chapter member pursuing a Master’s Degree in Project Management.
The chapter didn’t forget to thank the chapter volunteers who make all the chapter offerings possible with a Volunteer Recognition Dinner that had a Mardi Gras theme! The volunteers do this all for the members with the goal to build a stronger PM community.
We closed out 2015 with great pride by announcing that the New Jersey Chapter was awarded two PMI Chapter Excellence Awards – PMI Leader of the Year to Past President John Bufe and the PMI Chapter Excellence Award for Volunteer Programs.
I want to thank each of our members who attended events and offered comments and suggestions. Each and every interaction is a gift that you have given me. Please do participate in as many events as possible in 2016 and volunteer to get the most from your chapter. To the volunteers, I want to say a heartfelt and sincere thank you.
2016 will be an extraordinary year with so many more updates and offerings to come! Wishing you all health, happiness and success in the New Year.
Alvin Chingcuanco joined the PMINJ Marketing team in March
2015 and was charged with improving the chapter’s social
media presence. In a few short months, Alvin made
significant contributions to our social media sites which
has helped to increase attendance at various chapter
meetings and workshops. Over the summer, he led an
initiative with Montclair State University students to
create a social media strategy and calendar of postings our
new chapter year. With very limited supervision, he
managed three student teams to create a social media
strategy and identify content for these sites in six
weeks. He now manages two volunteers to coordinate
regular content updates.
Alvin was also instrumental in the update of the chapter brochure. He faciliated the necessary meetings to collect content from board members and redesigned the brochure with a new format and graphics.
Alvin is a Project Manager / Office Manager for NBP Holdings Group and an academic tutor for DeVry University. He is working on completing his MBA with a concentration in Project Management at DeVry’s Keller Graduate School of Management.
Dennis Ryan joined the PMINJ Chapter Audio /
Visual (A/V) team as a volunteer in 2009. He has now
successfully supported more than 10 major symposiums and
50 monthly meetings. As part of the A/V team, Dennis is
responsible for soliciting, selecting, managing, and
working with the A/V subcontractors for the monthly
meetings, annual symposium and IPM day events. Every
facility has different challenges in terms of ensuring
that the presenter can be seen and heard by everyone in
the audience. He works with presenters to make sure they
are comfortable with the microphone, video screen, moving
presentation on the chapter laptop and music for the
Dennis began his project management career while working for a contract manufacturing firm in the 1980s where he was responsible for new product launches and seasonal promotions in the personal care industry. In 1998, he jumped to the pharmaceutical industry and has been with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the last 10 years. He works on R&D projects supporting the development and clinical trials of new medicines. Dennis earned his PMP in 2006 and immediately joined PMINJ to network with other project management professionals and enhance his expertise.
Dennis’ A/V experience goes back to his days as a student leader in high school and continues today through his volunteer work for several organizations. He has kept his skills fresh by working with one of the most successful bands in history – hint: they were just inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!
Dennis can always be relied on to keep his cool during emergencies like equipment malfunctions or unforeseen presenter requests. Over the years, Dennis has shown leadership, patience, perseverance, adherence to the highest standards of quality – and he brings good music and cheer to each event. Please stop by the A/V table at the next meeting and thank Dennis for his years of contribution to successfully managing A/V for the chapter events!
What do the NJ Turnpike Widening Program, Atlantic Health
System Chilton Integration, and Solix Design
Connect2Compete Program have in common? They are all
past recipients of the PMINJ Project of the Year Award!
The purpose of the Award is to recognize, honor, publicize, and celebrate the accomplishments of the Project Team involved in the Project of the Year (POY) for superior performance and execution of exemplary project management.
Any project with some or all team members located in New Jersey, coordinated by a NJ-based company, or completed within NJ that is perceived as having effectively applied project management principles and techniques is eligible to submit.
If you have any questions regarding the POY, please send an email to or contact Louis A. Vazquez (Director, Project Awards) at 908-799-3006.
Find additional details and nomination form on the PMINJ POY site.
ADP held its third Annual Global Project
Management Conference on November 13. The day was
co-organized by PMINJ VP-Marketing Elaine Tanimura.
The agenda was full of fantastic information and knowledge
sharing for the ADP Project managers.
The morning was focused on Project Managers
as Leaders and the Importance of Strategic Business
Execution. Elaine led a group discussion on the
upcoming changes to the PMI Continuing Certification
Requirements (CCR) that were introduced in December.
The latter part of the program was focused
on PM Career Growth and Development along with a session
on Increasing Influence, Commitment, Accountability
without Authority and the day closed with a session on How
to Build your Professional Brand.
It was a very successful day for the ADP
Project Management team and PMINJ was there to encourage
membership and participation in all of its upcoming
Pictured above: Elaine Tanimura, Kevin Fitzpatrick and an ADP employee
For the third
straight year, the PMINJ School Outreach team spent a day
teaching project management skills to Boy Scouts of America
(BSA) Eagle Scout candidates. The training course was
delivered by PMINJ members Dennis McCarthy, Kevin
Fitzpatrick and Mike Vitale at the Patriot's Path Merit
Badge Workshop in Parsippany. The Scouts were introduced to
project management fundamentals as they relate to their
Eagle Scout Service Project. The interactive sessions were
interactive and well-received by the Scouts and BSA
If you know of an organization that can benefit from the introductory course, please contact Mike Vitale at .
Above - Dennis McCarthy and Roger Gallo
Below - Kevin Fitzpatrick and Michael Vitale
Who are you – a project manager, IT person, marketing
expert, e-commerce specialist? What do you
do? Where do you want to go? How do
you fit who you are, what you do, and where you want to
go into a LinkedIn profile?
The November PMINJ Career Networking Local Community of Interest (CNL) session provided great advice for how to showcase your career on LinkedIn from two guest speakers: Gail Rolls and Michael Milutis. Gail is an award-winning Senior Recruiter at the global IT services firm Computer Aid, Inc. and Michael is the Executive Director of the IT Metrics & Productivity Institute.
Gail started by walking the audience through how to professionally craft a résumé by using sample résumés to point out common flaws. Among the most egregious flaws: not crystallizing who you are and what position you want at the top of the page and neglecting to include your LinkedIn URL and contact information at the top of the page. In today’s market, the LinkedIn professional account is so ubiquitous that if you lack a profile, recruiters may wonder what you might be trying to hide. Experienced recruiters read résumés in 30 – 60 seconds so be concise. While your aim may be to appear suitable for many positions, leaving recruiters to wonder about your goals could take you out of contention.
Michael opened with a walk-through of his own LinkedIn profile. He admitted to agonizing over each section and its unique challenges. He explained that each section changed as he refined his personal objectives. According to Michael, LinkedIn is a branding tool. You need to decide how you want to be seen. As he transitioned from programming to lobbying Congress to marketing, Michael had to learn to sharpen his goals and describe himself accordingly.
Michael advised to “program your profile as a heat-seeking missile” to find those specific opportunities that represent your dream job. Don’t succumb to résumé paralysis – instead you should plunge into an audit of your life and create your brand.
Did you know that the first things a potential employer see in LinkedIn are your photo and title? Think about the image you want to portray and what it says about your suitability for the position you want. Consider the Summary section your fundamental career DNA and not a condensed résumé. Use it as your personal mission statement instead of a recounting of your past. Describe yourself in the first person instead of in the third person. This is your vision of who you are partnered with finely crafted stories of what you have done. As you describe accomplishments in your profile, Michael suggested embedding the company mission statement to provide context for the achievement.
Both Gail and Michael had similar advice for members whose aim is to target a related but different career path. Be sure to capitalize on strengths, minimize what you are moving away from, and play up those skills that would be important to a hiring manager in your target field. If you’re in transition, then describe what you’re doing to keep yourself marketable.
Michael shared one last tip – consider contributing a LinkedIn article that demonstrates that you are a thought leader in your field. This could significantly increase connections and one of those connections just might be the link to your next job!
recently began my journey into the diverse world of
project management and this is the first in a series
of articles on my and many others’ transition into the
field. As a new project manager enters the field
or into a new position, it’s easy to assume that the
process will be clear-cut: plan, execute,
monitor, and close the project while meeting budget
and deadline constraints. But in practice, the process
is hardly straightforward and project managers are
confronted with unexpected challenges such as handling
conflicting deadlines, producing complex deliverables,
meeting demanding expectations, adjusting to project
amendments, ensuring stakeholder satisfaction, and
everything else that comes with the chaos of the
Previous to my project manager position, I held a highly technical role within a toxicology laboratory that epitomized a strong matrix organization. I was involved in several coordinated projects, but only at the functional role where I delivered specific components under an established work breakdown structure. Most of my work was methodical, straightforward, and protocol defined. Aspiring for more challenging work, I transitioned to the project management group within the pharmaceutical development division. Looking back, it was less a transition and more a baptism by fire. Previous to this role, I held project manager volunteer positions for nonprofit charities and established a decent network of veteran project managers through the Project Management Institute as well as from other personal relationships. Despite having these resources available for consultation, nothing prepared me more and helped navigate through my role better than the PMBOK Guide and courses I’d taken towards the Project Management Professional Certification.
The immediate challenges going into the role consisted of managing the client’s immediate expectations, overdue deadlines from previous projects, stakeholder complaints, and building relationships all while an acquisition and merger was in progress. All internal training sessions were expedited or postponed so I could start working to balance the team’s overall workload demands. The project management division was facing challenges due to PM attrition and operational cost reduction initiatives, which resulted in managers trying to do more with less people. This left me in the position of being the first to support the workload of many ongoing projects of previous PMs. The environment was initially hectic as most of the remaining PMs were awaiting relief on their added workload, especially on the complicated projects where the stakeholders were demanding and aggravated. While I was excited to take on the responsibility and resolve ongoing issues, the challenge came with constant pressure and stress. I embraced the chaotic environment and looked to thrive in it, but my resources were limited and there was no given methodology from the company to approach these issues.
Fortunately, I had a senior network to consult with on many challenges who supported my implementation of several key PMBOK processes. Specifically, I applied the process templates on project communications, project scope, and stakeholder management in creating sub projects to handle the immediate demands of each project. Thanks to the communications template I was able to realign communication channels that addressed previous breakdowns where external inquiries didn’t reach internal teams responsible for the deliverable in question. The stakeholder register provided a tool to input and track requests and the responses of the applicable functional teams. When faced with a functional team with competing priorities and timeline estimates that far exceeded sponsor expectations, I facilitated an in-person meeting with the team and together we were able to create a micro work breakdown structure to prioritize and expedite tasks to meet the sponsor’s deadline.
As I move forward, I realize that the challenges will come and go. There is no doubt that my professional and personal networks along with my foundational PMBOK knowledge have been key in navigating my first 90 days as a professional project manager. Based on conversations I’ve had with many senior project managers, it seems that the culture shock of the transition from a technical role into a project management role is very common, no matter the industry.
In the coming months, I will continue to share experiences from my and other project management professionals’ transition into their respective fields and highlight how they overcame their early, mid, and senior career project management challenges.
How does your expertise stack up against
these desired project management traits?
Resolutions to build on these skills won’t succeed overnight or on their own. You already know how to design and execute a project plan – it’s time to make a plan to implement your career resolutions. Good luck!