Welcome, Karli Kloss!

Posted in Human Resources on May 19, 2015
Karli Kloss

Karli Kloss

Karli Kloss holds an M.A. in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service and a B.A. in Diplomacy/Foreign Affairs from Miami University in Ohio. While in graduate school, Karli completed internships with the British Embassy in Washington and American University’s Office of Alumni Relations, as well as a practicum for the World Bank. Her research has focused on institutional development and organizational change at the international level.

Prior to moving to Washington, DC, she was a research associate for a small consulting firm in Cleveland, OH, working with local school districts, libraries, and non-profits to enhance strategic communications and stakeholder engagement. At Miami University she was an editorial columnist and enjoys creative writing, baking, and hiking in her spare time.

MPS Assists Brings Fresh Perspective to Board Members

Breakout Session

Break-out Session

As part of our MPS Assists program, M Powered Strategies President, Kendall Lott, recently delivered a half-day training on Organizational Lifecycle and Management Work Styles to PMI board members from the Washington DC and Silver Spring chapters.

The purpose was to help board members produce more consistent organizational value for their effort. Topics included Competing Values Framework (CVF), Management Work Styles (MWS), and Organizational Lifecycle Maturation Model (“Lifecycle”). In break-out sessions, board members were able to identify organizational issues and plan specific types of responses with greater clarity and a substantive framework.

“MPS Assists delivered a training session that will…serve as a rudder for our team as we navigatoue…in a new era…” commented Elizabeth McQueen, CEO of PMI-WDC. “…We need to be open to trying new things and revisiting our assumptions, to refresh our activities and better serve our stakeholders.”

Lott was thrilled with the enthusiasm of the attendees. “The more we understand the lifecycle patterns of organizations, the more power we have in influencing their course. As volunteer leaders, it’s important for us to see where problems are predicted so we can adjust now in how we think of and execute solutions.”

Pragmatism from the Ivory Tower by Sam Taylor, PACE Cohort 6 Alumnus

Posted in PACE Program / PM POV Podcast Blog / PREP / Project Management on May 13, 2015

Podcast BlogAwareness of project management in a formalized context has exploded in recent years. American universities are perhaps the best example of the increased interest in project management. Since 1999, the number of higher learning institutions offering project management degree programs has ballooned from 12 to over 600. MPS President Kendall Lott recently sat down with Mr. John Cable, Director of the University of Maryland’s Project Management Center for Excellence, to discuss the recent demand for formal project management education, which you can hear in his podcast, “Pragmatism from the Ivory Tower”.

Nearly everything people do, especially in the work place, can be analyzed through a project management lens. As the American work environment becomes more competitive, formalized project management experience helps job applicants immensely. According to Cable, the demand for employees with project management skills has increased, leading to a spike in professionals pursuing project management degrees, especially at the graduate level.

Cable, a licensed architect and general contractor, has been teaching graduate level engineering courses at Maryland since 1999. Cable says his typical student is one who has spent a few years in the workplace since receiving a Bachelor’s degree in some area of engineering. When asked, students often feel comfortable with the technical aspects of their jobs but admit they lack planning and decision making skills. Cable also says that the successful students in his project management courses are level-headed professionals with a knack for seeing the big picture without ignoring the details.

“We are looking for individuals that have a very unique characteristic in one sense. And that characteristic is somebody that can think in the macro view and in the micro view.”

Traditionally found in business departments at universities, project management is now an integral part of several different academic disciplines. At Maryland, the Project Management Center for Excellence is part of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Project management courses have also been incorporated into law and policy degree programs, particularly in the area of legal contracts.

As the number of workers with project management training grows, Cable predicts the future American labor pool will be much better at linking technical skills to management skills than in the past.

“I see a future in which the individuals that are involved in project management have far superior people skills to the one’s today.”

With an increased demand for formal project management education, it will be interesting to see how the supply of project management programs will continue to unfold. Perhaps programs specifically dedicated to project management will blossom. Maybe project management curriculum will continue to be integrated with disciplines such as engineering and law or even become part of the typical undergraduate’s core classes alongside writing and baseline math courses.

No matter which trends evolve in the future, Cable does not see project management as an isolated field of education. Project management is a complement to – not a substitute for – technical knowledge.

Welcome, John Rodier!

Posted in Human Resources on May 12, 2015
John Rodier

John Rodier

M Powered Strategies (MPS) is pleased to welcome Minneapolis native, John Rodier, to our team. John recently completed his graduate studies at George Washington University, where he earned a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Program Evaluation. He comes to MPS from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), working within two divisions. In the Budget Analysis Division, he focused on analyzing the impact of private-sector mandates in legislation. On CBO’s communications team, he responded to inquiries from reporters and Congressional staff regarding the agency’s publications and practices.

Previously, John served as Director of Development and Marketing at an elementary school in the Bronx, New York.  His duties included managing the enrollment process, securing capital grants and scholarship opportunities, and engaging with families, donors, and alumni. John holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.

M Powered Strategies Adds Training Services to GSA MOBIS Contract

gsa-logoAfter successfully completing two projects for the Federal Government in direct alignment to the services included under GSA MOBIS SIN 874-4, M Powered Strategies (MPS) formally applied for and was awarded this key addition to our MOBIS contract. MPS is now poised to offer its extensive Professional Development Services, which include Executive & Leadership Coaching, Team Building & Development, Apprenticeship Programs, Portfolio of Skills Development Training Courses, and Curriculum & Instructional Systems Design, to our Federal clients.

Go Green, Save Green by Sam Taylor, PACE Cohort 6 Alumnus

Posted in PACE Program / PM POV Podcast Blog / PREP / Project Management on May 08, 2015

Podcast BlogProject Managers’ careers depend on successful completion of short term missions. Organizations ranging from private corporations to municipal and federal governments embark on projects designed to position them for better futures. More broadly, the lifespan of today’s biggest governments and corporations will be but a mere fraction of our home planet’s existence. The dinosaurs died and the Romans fell; there is no reason to think we are any less vulnerable. In his podcast on corporate sustainability, MPS President Kendall Lott chats with former PMI CEO Gregory Balestrero about how project managers can impact an organization’s survival and commitment to social responsibility.

For the duration of a project’s lifecycle, successful project managers identify how to add value, save money, and accomplish more with fewer resources. Amidst a daily grind of meetings and deadlines, however, project managers’ visions often ignore what may happen long after a project has been completed; most project work statements do not include clauses that detail expected results half a millennium after a project’s completion. Balestrero, author of Organizational Survival: Profitable Strategies for a Sustainable Future, believes that short term and long term value creation are not mutually exclusive concepts. By planning for the future and adapting to externalities, whether they be environmental, social, or financial, project managers can position their organizations to succeed over a prolonged timespan.

Organizational sustainability initiatives are often dismissed as short-sighted PR stunts rather than as financially responsible practices. Project managers need to be aware that environmental and social responsibility can strengthen their organizations’ long-term futures. Often, there is little, if any, immediate financial threat to accounting for social responsibilities and values. As long as the changes are more than just cosmetic, finding ways for your organization to become more sustainable is smart business.

Organizations increasingly emphasize ethics and values as project pillars whose values should align with those of broader stakeholders. Balestrero recommends project managers to “spend one hour talking about the team’s perspective of values of the project and its relation to corporate values” when undertaking new projects. Awareness of values is not only good for project management, but it also benefits the client. When aggregated with other projects of similar intentions, benefits extend far beyond a project’s scope.

While corporations are often portrayed as soulless machines who aim to maximize short-term profits, some success stories prove the contrary. Lott’s podcast highlights BMW’s efforts to become water neutral. BMW is socially responsible, but as governments impose stricter regulations on water use, BMW will be poised to comply with minimal cost and disruption to its financial bottom line. BMW’s cars are cultural icons and engineering marvels; maybe the same engineers and artists behind the “ultimate driving machine” are inspiring BMW’s project managers’ efforts to create the ultimate responsible organization.

Congratulations, PACE Cohort 6!

Posted in PACE Program on May 07, 2015
Closing and certificate ceremony for PACE Cohort 6 at the Lansburgh Theatre in downtown DC.

Closing and certificate ceremony for PACE Cohort 6 at the Lansburgh Theatre in downtown DC.

On May 4th, M Powered Strategies (MPS) held the closing and certificate ceremony for PACE Cohort 6 at the Lansburgh Theatre in downtown DC. After an intense 25 weeks of high-quality client delivery work, combined with individual and group coaching and rigorous classroom  training, MPS was proud to present all five graduates with their ANSI-accredited PREP certificates. In attendance at the event were MPS staff, PACE alumni, members of the PREP Oversight Group, and executives and colleagues from our partner firms.

We are very pleased to announce that the entire cohort – Zully Barrientos, Mark Brown, Mara Goldberg, Patti McMullen and Sam Taylor – will be staying with MPS as full-time staff members. Congratulations again to all of our recent graduates!

As Cohort 6 transitions out, PACE Cohort 7, which has been underway since March 2015, is approaching its midpoint and will conclude in August. For more information about the PACE Program, please email Nicole BaillisPREP Director.

PREP News: May 2015

Posted in PREP Newsletter Archive on May 01, 2015

Happy Spring from a blossoming Washington, D.C.! Quite the change from the cold February and March we experienced. A busy month is upon us at MPS and we have many exciting PREP updates to share with you all in this issue!

In This Issue: PACE Cohort 6 Concludes, PACE Cohort 6 Business Case, New PREP Oversight Group Member – Debra Olsen