Andy Jordan is president of Roffensian Consulting Inc., a consulting firm in Ontario, Canada. Andy and his firm are working to improve client staff capabilities without relying on outside support. He has been a mentor, trainer and a speaker on Leadership, Communications, PMO’s, Portfolio Management and PMO’s related topics. He is specialized in team building, management consulting, business process management, and strategic planning and program management. He is PMP certified professional and author of “Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations”.
Let’s start his interview without any further delay:
TaskQue: First of all, tell us, when and how you started your career? What was the real motivation behind entering into the project management field?
Andy Jordan: I have been managing projects for more than 20 years now but I started by accident. I started my career in banking and was working in the investment department of a private bank in the UK when a major project was being launched and I was asked to get involved. I found out I loved working on projects and had an aptitude for it so started to take more formal training and then became a project manager full time when I moved to Canada a couple of years later.
TaskQue: Tell us about your company in detail. What exactly is its vision? How it is serving the project management community?
Andy Jordan: I established Roffensian Consulting Inc. because I wanted to stand for something when I went to clients managing their projects. I didn’t want to be ‘just’ another project manager who was little more than a commodity. Instead I wanted to deliver value to the client by offering them a focus on business benefits – not just delivering projects but delivering a better company through those projects. That remains the vision today and we still strive to always live up to the tagline of “exceeding expectations”. Today we focus mainly on portfolio management, PMOs and major strategic initiatives both from an execution standpoint and increasingly in terms of helping organizations develop their own internal capabilities in those areas.
TaskQue: You have been teaching various chapters of project management domain like project leadership, PMO and portfolio management. Which chapter do you think is the most complex?
Andy Jordan: That’s a difficult question to answer. For most project managers I think the hardest part is the ability to focus on the business goals rather than the project constraints. PMs are still frequently told success comes from on time, on scope and on budget but in truth organizations don’t care about those if they miss the business goals which were the reason the project was approved in the first place. That’s tough for many PMs to accept.
For organizations, I think the biggest challenge is how to deliver improved project performance across the organization. Many leaders don’t know how to maximize the return on their investment in PMOs and many are struggling to deliver meaningful integrated portfolio management. In many cases, both of those challenges are the result of not being able to shake off outdated practices and prejudices, but regardless of the cause it’s a real issue.
TaskQue: How much do you like to speak at conferences? What are your plans about attending project management conferences in 2017? Also share some of your memorable experiences of any project management event.
Andy Jordan: I love speaking at conferences, both online and live; large and small. In 2017, I am speaking as a keynote at the PMO Conference in London and am also finalizing details of a series of two-day workshops across North America and potentially a couple of locations in Europe. I also have a schedule of webinars that will likely result in around 15 – 20 different topics throughout the year. I haven’t made any other decisions on conferences yet but am always open to invitations.
I think the most memorable experience recently was last year’s PMXPO organized through ProjectManagement.com. It is a virtual conference run completely online and the session I did last year with Mark Price Perry had more than 10,000 live attendees – by far the largest audience I’ve ever spoken too and truly humbling that so many people wanted to hear the message (about modern PMOs and portfolio management).
TaskQue: What would you like to recommend to newbies in project management specially those having an engineering background?
Andy Jordan: I think an engineering background is a great foundation for project management, it suggests a structured, analytical brain which will serve you well in understanding the mechanics of project management. However, I would stress to anyone joining the profession to focus on the soft skills side – the people element – leadership rather than management. That is an area which is becoming increasingly important and it is something no one ever truly masters as there is always room to grow and improve. A PM who builds strong, collaborative relationships with his or her team will be able to make up for a lot of technical shortfalls, but a PM who ignores the people and only manages the tasks will always struggle, no matter how proficient their project management skills are.
TaskQue: What do you think are the future trends of project management in 2017? What advancements are you expecting in 2017?
Andy Jordan: I see two project management trends continuing in 2017. Firstly, Agile will continue to become more mainstream and will become increasingly important at strategic levels of organizations. The conversations around Agile vs. waterfall will become increasingly irrelevant and organizations will focus on creating an environment where both approaches can exist alongside one another, possibly including elements of hybrid approaches. Additionally, Agile will start to become more aligned with the concept of business agility at strategic levels – the ability to adapt quickly and effectively to changes in the operating environment.
The other major trend will be the continued shift to two tier project management. There will be those PMs who focus on the subject matter of projects – being an expert in software development, for example, and they will have opportunities to focus on the triple constraint approach. However, those PMs will become increasingly commoditized, becoming replaceable as needed. On the other hand, there will be PMs who focus on doing what is necessary to deliver the business goals even if it means sacrificing features, schedule and/or budget. Those PMs will be managing projects as ‘businesses in microcosm’ and will be extremely valuable to their organizations.
TaskQue: Which project management methodologies do you recommend to students and why?
Andy Jordan: I have always said the best project management methodology is the one your organization believes in and I see no reason to change that advice today. I do think students of project management today should understand waterfall and Agile approaches and to start with the more common Agile approaches like Scrum and Kanban are logical starting points. But the more approaches and methodologies an individual understands the better – it’s like having more tools in the tool chest, you stand a better chance of having the right tool for the job.
TaskQue: You have been serving in project management community for a long time now and have worked at a number of organizations. Would you please mention few people who have really inspired you in this field?
Andy Jordan: Dave Garrett the head of ProjectManagement.com is a real stand out. He has given me a voice and a platform and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today without him. Beyond that it’s not fair to call out individuals, I learn and grow from everyone I work with.
TaskQue: Apart from professional life, what are your hobbies and interests? Do you believe in work-life balance? If so how do you manage it?
Andy Jordan: I absolutely believe in a work-life balance but it is difficult to maintain while running a business. My wife and I are currently in the process of building a home in the Caribbean and within a couple of years I hope to be able to semi-retire there, keeping up the writing and speaking engagements but cutting back on some of the ‘Monday – Friday’ work.
TaskQue: Use of tools in project management is quite common in order to meet deadlines. TaskQue is one of the collaboration tools which helps in meeting deadlines with calendars and reminders. What are your reviews about this tool?(opt)
Andy Jordan: Sorry – I work with a number of different tool vendors and always remain independent to protect those relationships.