Renowned and Widely Regarded Project Management Author, Consultant,
week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an exclusive interview with David
Francis PMP, a renowned and widely regarded Project Management
author, consultant, and instructor with a background in diverse
areas such as telecommunications, utilities, marketing, customer
service, information technology, healthcare, and education.
has worked on projects with many international corporations
including Dow Chemical, EDS, Cisco Systems, SBC, Simon Property
Management and Clarian Healthcare.
is an adjunct Project Management Instructor at Indiana Institute of
Technology and Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
Currently, he is serving as the Director of Education for the
Project Management Institute, Central Indiana Chapter. Mr. Francis
is also a PMI Registered Education Provider and has provided
training to thousands of Project Managers at companies such as
Conseco Insurance, Eli Lilly Company, Ameritech, Covance and
re:Member Data Services.
holds an MBA from Butler University, a BA from Indiana University,
the PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, IT
Programming Competency Certification, Microsoft Office Suite
Certification, and Microsoft Project Software Certification. He has
membership in numerous professional associations and is the
president of The Project Management Company (www.ProjectManagementCompany.com).
David, you have a most impressive history. We appreciate you taking
the time out of your demanding schedule to speak with us.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. I look forward to
discussing Project Management and my new PMP Certification book.
your extensive background, you would have mastered many challenges,
learned valuable lessons resulting in numerous stories to share with
our audience including humorous ones…
A: I am
frequently challenged by complex projects and given the opportunity
to learn from some very talented people. Some of the most humorous
and fun moments on any project are when the team gets together for
the first time and you hear about everyone’s background. This offers
the chance for people to talk about their past successes and learn
from other team members. It also offers the chance for people to
offer “war stories” about some the problems and issues that they
have encountered while working on some of their past projects. These
first encounters on a project are some of the most humorous because
you realize how many diverse backgrounds that organizations attract.
Detail how you got to your present position.
Currently I am a Senior Project Manager with Cap, Gemini, Ernst and
Young at Clarian Healthcare. I became involved with this
organization through a placement company. In the Project Management
world, frequently resources are outsourced and in many
organizations, IT has a significant amount of contractors due to the
quick changes in technology. This offers flexibility to the
organizations and encourages people to learn new skills. I enjoy my
work and the people that I work with, so that makes project
management more attractive.
Describe the services provided in your consulting and where you see
your consulting proceeding in the future?
Project Management Company provides Project Management instructors
and consultants to companies. As Project Management becomes more
complex within organizations, more employees will need advanced
training. Unfortunately, many Project Managers are untrained and
unprepared to deal with complex, difficult projects. Frequently
organizations bestow the title to employees without training them on
proper Project Management processes, tools and methodologies.
Consequently, they are set up for failure due to the lack of
knowledge and skills. We feel the title “Project Manager” should
only be used by professionals that are extensively trained on PMI
future books can we expect from you?
PMP book has been well received, so our editor at Que Publishing has
indicated that they will probably reprint the book. If this book
does well, we will begin working on a new PMP preparation book in
the fall of 2004. I will also continue to develop white papers
concerning topics in Project Management.
differentiates your most recent book? Why would the audience be
compelled to read it?
book puts the PMBOK into an easy to read format and provides
numerous examples to allow the reader to grasp the concepts. This
should save the reader considerable time while they are preparing
for the test. We also included test questions on a CD, which will
allow another format for reinforcing the topics and material. We
expect that people will be compelled to read the book since it puts
the PMBOK in an “easy to read” format with several shortcuts to save
is the current and future market status of certification for project
Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification has been
identified as one of the hottest certifications that companies are
striving to add to their knowledge base. Many companies will not
interview candidates unless they have a PMP certification and we
expect that to increase over time. The PMI global organization has
over 110,000 members and continues to grow at a very fast pace,
therefore the PMP certification will continue to grow in prestige as
more companies become aware of the need for trained, qualified
Could you share your study recommendations with our audience?
first step is to read the PMBOK. Second, get a copy of the PMP Exam
Cram 2 book and use this as a study guide. Next, join a local PMI
study group, if they are available. If a study group is not
available, contact the local PMI chapter and see if you can set up a
study group. There will likely be several other people, in your area
that would also like to prepare for the test. The key is to review
as many questions as possible to reinforce the concepts of the
Please detail the PMI views of Project Management?
views Project Management as a discipline such as engineering,
accounting or marketing. They are of the opinion that Project
Managers should be trained and developed, rather than arbitrarily
assigning them a Project Management title. Effective Project
Management is challenging and requires tremendous amount of
knowledge, skills and abilities. Too many organizations utilize
subject matter experts (SMEs) as Project Managers without any
Project Management training or support processes to advance their
knowledge. Therefore, many organizations go over budget and beyond
their timelines since their resources are not properly trained.
Project Management provides a toolbox that helps team members to
manage their projects better.
Could you provide tips on initiating projects?
Since initiation is the process to authorize a new project, here are
several steps that may be helpful. 1. Get buy in and sign off for
the business requirements. 2. Set realistic expectations about
timelines and resources. 3. Develop accurate time estimates while
considering risks, resources, assumptions, and constraints. 4.
Involve the entire team in the Kick Off Meeting process.
us more about core and facilitating processes for planning projects.
processes have dependencies that require them to be performed in the
same order for most projects. Core planning processes may be
repeated during one phase of the project and include activities such
as scope planning and definition, cost estimating and budgeting.
Facilitating processes are utilized intermittently, as needed,
during project planning and are not optional. These processes
include quality and organizational planning, risk analysis and staff
about PMI Professional Responsibility standards?
Professional Responsibility Standards section of the PMBOK is new
for the 2000 edition. Project Management Professionals (PMP) are
held to a high standard of ethics and these standards are
exemplified by this section of the PMBOK. Several recent corrupt
corporate scandals have shown the importance of this issue in
today’s workplace. Some ethics include honesty, truthful
representations of information and integrity.
your top tips for exam success.
Read the PMBOK.
a study guide; we recommend the PMP Exam Cram 2.
the local PMI chapter.
Inquire about PMP study groups with the local chapter.
Study with a group or other individuals.
Learn from other people that have already taken the test.
are the gaps between real-world projects and PMI expectations?
expectations are frequently “best case” scenarios. In the real
world, the PMI expectations are good standards, however they offer
the flexibility to accommodate real world projects.
you had to choose one, which is more important, certification or a
Q: On a
related note, which is more important, certification or experience?
have such a rich background. Based upon your years of experience,
education, and training, describe what you consider to be the most
important trends to watch, and please provide some recommendations?
PMP Certification is one of the hottest certification currently.
Network security and related areas will also increase in importance
and popularity as the internet age continues to evolve. Identify
theft will also offer numerous opportunities for talented
individuals to develop systems to curtail this rampant problem.
are your top recommended resources for both businesses and IT
is an incredible resource. Local PMI chapters frequently offer good
information and programs to provide support to the Project
Management community. I am also a firm believer in education, so I
encourage the utilization of universities and local libraries. Our
chapter donated over $7000 worth of Project Management books to the
Indianapolis Public library system last year, so the library systems
of the world are also one of the best resources anywhere.
kind of computer setup do you have?
you had to do it all over again….?
would have started working in Project Management earlier in my
drives you to do what you do?
enjoy Project Management, education and the opportunity to help
others while expanding the processes, tools and methodologies of PMI
and the project management profession.
you were doing this interview, what three questions would you ask of
someone in your position and what would be your answers?
Where do you see Project Management in 2010 ?
continue to see the profession expanding and more PMP certifications
What is the key to success in Project Management ?
Social and humanistic skills combined with a thorough foundation of
Project Management knowledge.
What one characteristic is the most important for a Project Manager
Effective communication skills.
you have any more comments to add?
wish everyone the best in their careers and encourage you to check
out our new book, “PMP Exam Cram 2” and let us know if it helps you
with your studies.
David, thank you again for your time, and consideration in doing
Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you.