Shawn Futterer, a project management professional certified with a wide range of experience, is Shawn Futterer. Shawn Futterer started his career in 1992 as a quality control manager for a small manufacturing business. He has worked on projects across a range of industries, including Healthcare, Education and Construction. Shawn is currently employed in a Fortune 50 Telecom PMO where he oversees a team project managers. Shawn has managed projects of all sizes and budgets throughout his career. Shawn is interested in strategy, planning, and operations. Shawn has more than fifteen years of experience in project management. He has led, consulted, or contributed to numerous process development efforts, various methods, and multiple training programs. Shawn attributes the success of project managers to their ability provide a strategic perspective and to communicate effectively with all levels within an organization. Shawn is also the founder of and managing director for the International Community for Project Managers. Find out more about the ICPM at
Josh: Shawn, thank you so much for sharing your experience and background with the pmStudent community! How did you get started in Project Management?
Shawn: I started my career in a small manufacturing firm, supervising quality control projects. This was the foundation for my skills in time management, attention to detail, and schedule management. Later, I was a project support manager for a Fortune 100 company. My role was more that of a coordinator, rather than a PM. This role was my primary for about 2 years before I was promoted to?project manager?. I was a project manager for five years, learning the methodology and applying best practices. I also learned from others. I was a consistent top performer during that time. I was promoted to oversee a team of project managers. I was responsible for reviewing out-of-date policies, enhancing best practices, and developing additional methodology strategies that focus on scalability. This is a role that benefits both the PM and the entire organization.
Anyone who is just starting out as PM should pay attention. Don’t be afraid to suggest improvements and, most importantly, know that you will eventually fail. I encourage you to take the lessons learned and apply them to your next project. Failure is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process so mentally prepare for the inevitable.
Josh: Who are you most inspired by and from whom have you learned a lot about project management?
Shawn: I’ve met amazing mentors in and outside of work. I sought out a mentor in my PMO Director and Vice President. Outside of my job, I met industry mentors like Cornelius Fichtner and Jerry Manas, Tom Mochal Josh Nankivel, Margaret Meloni, and Tom Mochal. Mentors can come in many forms. They can be senior people, peers, or people just starting out in the trade. If you pay enough attention, you can learn from almost anyone.
Josh: What are your top attributes for project management?
Shawn: Attention to detail, time management and negotiation are my strengths. I also have good interpersonal skills (i.e. How you interact with others can help you get places.
Josh: What are the top skills that a new project manager should have?
Shawn: Project management is not for you if you have difficulty managing your time or lack people skills. Both can be learned.
Josh: What are some of the biggest challenges that a project manager must face?
Shawn: Don’t let your ego get in the way of Shawn. The job of Project Manager is glamour and glory for about 1% of the time. You will be faced with uncertain circumstances as a PM starting out.