Today, I present Ron Holohan, MBA and PMP, my interview as a project manager. Ron is the host of the pm411.org Project Management podcast. I have been a long-time fan of the podcast. Ron has been involved with project management for more than 15 years. He is currently a Director for Program Management at a major Chicago-area company.
Josh:? Dennis, thank you so much for sharing your experience and background with the pmStudent community! How did you get started in project management?
Ron:? In the early 1990’s, I began my career as an Electrical Engineer for a company that made safety controls for residential furnaces. Within one year, I was promoted to Project Engineer. I was responsible for coordinating product development across various functional areas, including Engineering, Purchasing Marketing, Manufacturing, Quality, and Marketing. This was my first step in tracking project schedules and costs, documentation, as well as deliverables.
Josh:? Who are you most inspired by and what have you learned from them in project management?
Ron:? I spent many years trying to find better ways to estimate schedules and deliver projects on time. I took many classes in Microsoft Project, Project Risk Management, Indirect Management, as well as other subjects. None of these classes had a significant impact on my schedule performance. A few years ago, I began to read Critical Chain by Eliyahu Goldratt. This book really opened my eyes. Goldratt taught me that project managers should not only focus on the completion tasks on the project’s critical path. They also need to consider the constrained resources on that path and allow them to focus solely on the task at the hand. Lawrence Leach, another Project Management author, took this idea to the next level in his book Critical Chain Project Management. He effectively demonstrated how the Theory of Constraints could apply to project schedules through Feeding and Project Buffers. I have taken classes in Critical Chain Project Management? I have successfully used some of its techniques in my own projects.
Cornelius Fichtner of the Project Management Podcast, and Project Management PrepCast has had a tremendous influence on me. Cornelius Fichtner was the one who inspired me to start podcasting. I already had a small recording studio in my home and a passion for project management. His podcasts cover a lot great topics in PM and that is why I refer him to as “The Podfather” of Project Management. He was certainly one of the first to start a podcast about Project Management.
Josh:? Josh: What are the top attributes that make a project manager?
Ron:? Ron: While I don’t think you need to be a great speaker, you must be able keep your stakeholders and team members updated throughout the project. This requires Project Managers being able to understand the needs of their stakeholders and be able to deliver it. This is more than listening. But also really?hearing them? What your stakeholders need.
My experience with successful project managers has shown me that they were not always able to meet deadlines, budgets, and costs. I have met successful project managers who provide timely information so that stakeholders and team members can make informed decisions about the project. Communication is 90%.