December 2022 TechCast | The Key to Improving Tech Outcomes: Project Management
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From managing budgets to meeting deliverables in a timely manner, project managers play a critical role in helping organizations improve outcomes and maintain successful partnerships. So, how can tech companies leverage project management to revamp how they produce deliverables for their clients?
The December 2022 episode of the Arizona Technology Council’s AZTechCast podcast featured experts including Mary Kirk, principal consultant and lead DEI at Allata; J.T. Moomau, vice president, solutions delivery at Per Scholas; and Joe Pusz, president, The PMO Squad. These leaders joined Karen Nowicki, president and owner of Phoenix Business RadioX, and Steve Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, in discussing how technology companies can utilize project management to better deliver strategic initiatives.
Throughout this hour-long episode, the panel of three experts discussed how they would define project management, how it works at their individual organizations, and the tips they have for technology companies that are hoping to revamp how they manage their projects. Time and time again, each speaker hit on the critical importance of great communication, clear goal setting, keeping the company’s “why” in mind and executing deliverables with excellence.
As principal consultant and lead DEI at Allata, Mary has a long track record of ensuring projects are delivered at the highest quality, within budget parameters and effectively managing resources to quickly adapt to fluctuating environments. She has expertly led medium to large-scale marketing, commercial, industrial and technology projects across a wide array of industries including semiconductor, supply chain, automotive, banking, airlines, home warranty, non profit and waste management. Her current employer, Allata, is a strategy, architecture and enterprise-level application development company focused on helping clients enhance or scale business opportunities, create efficiencies and automate processes through custom technologies. During the episode, Mary mentioned the importance of including project managers during the strategic planning process. When they play a pivotal part in ideating on key objectives, project managers have more buy in to driving forward strategic initiatives and making sure all stakeholders are on the same page. She also emphasized the need for technology companies to equip their project managers with the tools, platforms and resources they need to do their job effectively.
J.T. is a highly certified project management and business operations leader with more than a decade of experience in the technology industry. In his work as vice president of Solutions Delivery at Per Scholas, he is proactive, solutions-oriented and skilled in leading complex initiatives in process improvement and change management to completion in a highly technical environment. In fact, he is so passionate about project management that he is also a university professor, project management trainer and sought-after speaker on the topic. He described project management as a way of using industry methodologies to lead people towards a common goal and stay focused on excellent delivery, relating it to “not the individual nails or screws you might use to build a house, but the way you use them all in tandem.” J.T. mentioned that approximately seven out of ten organizations experience one failed project per year, and 40 percent of those failed projects is due to a lack of clarity around goals. With great communication, he said that project management can help technology companies better achieve their goals, and be a vehicle for positive change in the community. This can be done through objectifying the subjective words we use, which is the difference between telling a toddler to clean their room vs. putting their toys away, making their bed, etc. Asking more specific questions leads to the same understanding of questions and answers, and helps align teams and eliminate misunderstandings.
Finally, Joe is not only the founder and president of The PMO Squad, but a frequent keynote speaker, author, project management innovator and podcast host of The Project Management Office Hours and Radio Show and Podcast, providing Arizona project management leaders a local voice. The PMO Squad was also recently named a winner of the 2022 Small Business Awards by the Phoenix Business Journal. The company’s success can largely be attributed to their purpose-driven PMO framework, which encourages business leaders and project managers to put the ‘why’ before the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. Joe emphasized that many teams are so execution-focused that they never build an emotional attachment to the work, but younger generations are demanding to work for companies that have purpose. According to Joe, people are more invested if they understand the impact of the work they’re doing. For any entry-level professionals entering the workforce or mid-level professionals wanting to transition into project management, Joe recommends getting involved with local chapters of the Project Management Institute, listening to podcasts on the topic and not being afraid to jump off the ledge and say you want to learn something new.
This conversation really highlighted that project management is an underutilized and underappreciated way to make technology companies more effective and improve their project delivery. All three speakers agreed that project management can be an exciting and impactful field to work in, and advised anyone interested in dabbling in project management to never stop training and learning, be willing to observe other project managers in action, align your temperament with the type of team you’re working with and be humble and build relationships that will help you develop your career. Watch the replay below to get a full look into the conversation with these three inspiring experts.
The official podcast of the Arizona Technology Council, AZTechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond. Through the art of the connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s hosts and guests share success stories, tech news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling Arizona’s growing technology ecosystem. Visit www.aztechcouncil.org/techcast to learn more or to listen to recent episodes.
About Phoenix Business RadioX
Karen Nowicki is the owner and president of Phoenix Business RadioX. Amplifying the voice of business, Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession and community. A successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™, Nowicki is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. In addition, Nowicki has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room and Mid-Day Arizona. Recognized for her leadership and business acumen, she has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.
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