Sante Vergini, a professional with 25+ years’ experience in project management, sales, business development, BPO, remote workforces and IT operations. He is Director of Operations at Remote Staff Support Solutions Inc in Melbourne, Victoria Australia, a remote staff services company. He is a PMP certified professional with more than 10 years project and program management experience. He has also worked as a business development manager at Fujitsu Australia Limited, network administrator at General Electric, and project manager at Coles Group, Australia’s largest retailer.
TaskQue: First of all, we would like to know how you started career. What was the source of inspiration behind entering into project management field?
Sante Vergini: I started my career in IT sales back in 1987 which continued for 10 years. At that time, in the late 1990’s, the Mircrosoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) was a very sought after qualification, so I worked hard towards achieving that within 12 months. From there, I was offered subsequent roles in systems analysis, network administration, and IT support. I was fortunate to have been asked to join a major program within the Coles Group, Australia’s largest retailer. When the head of the Y2K program asked me if I could assist with project management of their PC hardware and software testing, deployment and configuration, I welcomed the opportunity, and from that day forward began life as a project manager.
TaskQue: Program Management is generally defined as a disciplined process of managing multiple interacting projects. Which tools or techniques or things do you think may work great to manage multiple projects?
Sante Vergini: Program management works well when a group of projects are similar, and benefits are realized through the overall management or coordination of those projects centrally. As an example, for one IT infrastructure provider I worked for, a lot of the projects were fairly simple rollouts of hardware across an organization and its business units. Depending on the access we had to client sites, contractual agreements, and resource availability, we would leverage our own engineer resource pool to work across multiple projects. This saved time and lowered costs in the sense that less downtime was produced, while our agreed customer delivery roll out schedule was still delivered as promised. This was a conducted as a program with my company, the solutions delivery provider, but from each client’s point of view, they were delivered as individual projects.
TaskQue: PMI has recently released PMBOK 6th edition, Do you think that students who are willing to give PMP test next year might face few difficulties? What tips would you like to give to PMP test students?
Sante Vergini: They might face difficulties as there is still very limited exam preparation resources to study for a PMBOK 6 exam. I encourage students to take the current PMBOK 5 exam until sufficient learning material, simulation exams and the general body of knowledge increases.
TaskQue: Business Development is a very important discipline for any organization. You have also served in the same discipline. Please share what are the most common challenges which you have experienced?
Sante Vergini: A big challenge with all business development roles and sales in general is building a rapport with clients. One can be an expert of the product or service being sold, but if that person has little people skills, doesn’t understand human nature, and can’t influence and negotiate effectively, they most likely going to be unsuccessful in developing new business.
TaskQue: There are many project management certifications including scrum master. What do you think is the average time to prepare for scrum master certification?
Sante Vergini: I am currently doing a Scrum certification. It will take me around 1 month from my estimation to complete the study and sit the exam. As a comparison, the PMP course and exam took me around 3 months.
TaskQue: You have been working in the field for a long time. Which personalities have inspired you alot? Who do you think are the shining stars in the community?
Sante Vergini: The personalities who inspired me are not known to the general public. These are some managers, stakeholders, clients and even employees that I managed in the past. They showed an incredible ability to drive change, and affect the people around them.
TaskQue: Being a leader and mentor, what do you think should be the strategy of a leader for long term success.
Sante Vergini: A good leader of course needs standard leadership attributes such as integrity, vision, being able to motivate and influence, building relationships and cultural sensitivity. However, they also need to possess emotional intelligence which is a rare trait to have. Finally, a great leader will not be concerned with their own longevity, but foster leadership skills in their followers, so that a prodigy can rise through the ranks. Effective succession planning is key to a continued leadership lifecycle.
TaskQue: Apart from your professional life, what are your hobbies and interests? How much do you believe in work-life balance?
Sante Vergini: I do believe in work-life balance, however sadly I do not practice what I preach. I spend the vast majority of my downtime researching and learning on the internet. I am also completing a second master’s degree in strategic leadership, and plan to enter a PhD program or DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) following that. That should keep me busy for a while and totally cancel out any work-life balance.
TaskQue: Workplace station plays an important role in keeping employees productive, How does your workstation look like?(Please share an image too).
TaskQue: You are associated with a remote teams providing company. TaskQue is an emerging team collaboration tool helping thousands of remote teams to collaborate effectively in all over the world. So, what is your instance about remote team collaboration tools like TaskQue?
Sante Vergini: We have used applications in the past such as TeamViewer, Skype, Zoho, Huddle and SmartSheet. They all have their pros and cons like any other app. In some cases clients have simply used Skype, Google docs/drive and a remote management tool such as TeamViewer, and that’s it. It all depends on the size of the organization and the level of supervision and security they require.