I worked for several years with Tim Forman when he worked at NV Energy as a Programmer. He is fun to work with and I was sad when he decided to move on to Renown.
The good news is, now that he is working as a project manager, I get to interview him for my blog on the interesting work he does now and his thoughts on the position.
Please tell me a little about where you work and about your role as a Project Manager there.
I am a Project Manager for Renown Health in Reno, NV. My Role is to implement projects for the clinical applications team within Renown’s Information Resources Department. What that means is that I manage projects for all aspects of the Hospital IT systems to provide process improvements for the teams that care for patients. I manage everything from IT infrastructure during construction of new units to traditional information system implementations.
What projects are you currently working on, or have you recently completed and how do you feel they have positively impacted your organization and the community?
There have been several projects that I’ve worked on in the last year, but perhaps one you have heard of, and that I’m extremely proud of, is the opening of the New Pediatrics Unit at Renown Regional Medical Center. We took a very sad 50 year old ICU and pediatrics unit and moved them into a state of the art unit at Renown Regional. The new floor was brought on line with 100% donated funds and includes many state of the art features. I was responsible for all of the IT infrastructure from the wiring and networking to the PC’s and 35 networked Playstation 3 units all connected to the internet and Renown’s Medical Record system. The result is a truly wonderful place for kids to recover, and I sincerely hope no one ever has to spend time there.
What project management methods and/or software do you use to manage your projects? What are the pros and cons of using these methods compared to others you have used?
I’ve used the waterfall approach and have done some Rapid Application Development. I tend to get caught up in the execution of projects more than the overall process. I find that in fast pace high volume jobs that the emphasis tends to be on results. What tends to fall down is a commitment and understanding that projects aren’t driven by desire and will, there is real work that has to happen it’s not just projects schedules, risk management, dates and budgets. What I find most effective is that no matter what methodology you use, you need to know there is an attainable path to success. Once you have that path you have to be very focused and ensure that you have the support needed to drive the project to that success. Without a commitment to achieve the project vision you can use whatever approach you want and you can’t be successful.
What aspects of project management do you enjoy the most?
Finishing and looking back. There is great joy in knowing you did all you could and achieved what you set out to do. It’s very rewarding to know you had a hand in every part. Looking back helps you know where you can get better and how to better manage the future.
What do you find is the most challenging thing about managing projects?
Commitment, understanding and accountability. It’s very difficult to be visionary and have the right people understand. Even if what you’re doing isn’t cutting edge or outside of the box, having people buy in and commit at the level you need is very difficult even when they are dedicated to the tasks to support your work. Ensuring people understand really means that you have to be specific and even when people say they get it, go the extra mile to make sure they do. When things go wrong it’s very difficult to hold people accountable. There are a lot of ways to justify mistakes and in the end it all impacts your overall success. It can be extremely frustrating and painful.
Are there any emerging trends in the Project Management field that you are excited about?
Yes, the tools that people are dreaming up to manage projects, tasks, costs, and resource capacity are incredibly helpful. I don’t consider myself a gadget guy, but if something comes along that helps me work smarter and better I am excited about it. People often perceive project management as building a project schedule and yelling at people so your dates don’t slip. I feel like it can be so much more and if you learn to do it properly. You can become an area of decision support and optimization for your organization. Knowing your resource allocations, cost timelines and ability to take on more work can eliminate the intense feeling of being overwhelmed and wondering how you’re ever going to get everything done.