Congratulations, PACE Cohort 8!

Posted in PACE Program / PREP on January 27, 2016
Karli Kloss, Bryan Kovalick, and Rima Abouziab

Karli Kloss, Bryan Kovalick, and Rima Abouziab

Eight generations of PACE graduates, along with members of the PREP Oversight Group and MPS staff, gathered in the terrace of the Shakespeare Theatre’s Harmon Hall on January 22 to celebrate PACE Cohort 8. The graduates – Rima Abouziab, Karli Kloss, and Bryan Kovalick – received their PREP certificates, marking the successful completion of all the PACE requirements.

The rigorous PACE curriculum includes weekly trainings which cover skills and knowledge areas that are key to professional consultants; individual and group coaching; practical experience working on government contracts; and a capstone project known as the business case, which involves research of real-life issues in government agencies along with an executive panel presentation. The highest score for the business case for this cohort went to Bryan Kovalick. Congratulations Bryan!

According to PREP Director Nicole Baillis, “Cohort 8 was an impressive group of individuals, both professionally and personally. They made an impact in their delivery and corporate work, while approaching all of it with an admirable sincerity. I could not be prouder of their achievements, and look forward to seeing what the future holds for each of them.”

For more information about the ANSI-accredited PACE Program, please email Nicole Baillis, PREP Director.

Failure is Not a Barrier to Future Success By Paul Dolmon, PACE Cohort 9

Posted in PACE Program / PM POV Podcast Blog on January 14, 2016
PM POV blog logo

PM POV Blog

Seasoned project managers have learned to recognize the signs of failure. M Powered Strategies’ (MPS) President Kendall Lott collected a dozen stories about project failure in the latest PM Point of View Podcast, to gather perspectives on the causes and results of failure. Interestingly, many of the interviewees noted that they foresaw the project’s failure at an early stage, but were unable to resolve issues in the following days, weeks, or months to prevent it. The common theme tying these failures together is poor communication, especially where different parties have different expectations and perspectives on outcomes and goals.

One program manager worked on a software-development scheme with the United States Air Force. In this project, the team operated with an initial scope and promised the stakeholders particular deadlines, only to later ask for extension after extension as the scope expanded. Once a project manager came onboard to look at the big picture and re-determine scope, he realized the estimates were wildly off the mark. He brought the flaws to the attention of all parties involved and they created a plan with more variables. This was the same issue with the creation of the tabletop game, Dungeons and Dragons. The business saw infinite growth with the upsurge in popularity and not recognizing the signs of downward contraction.

Communication is vital. One interviewee explained how confusion surrounding leadership in the Affordable Care Act delayed the technical implementation and created a national controversy with the healthcare.gov rollout. Who owned the rollout, Health and Human Services (HHS) or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)? Would the correct departments and teams receive the right amount of funding to continue their efforts? Due to a lack of communication, these issues mired the whole IT program. A USAID team operating in Afghanistan suffered the similar issues; they were ordered to carry out specific development programs but were not given the necessary budget. If these questions were answered earlier, these communication errors would not have derailed the entire project. As such, any changes were met with hostility from the others, undermining the project as a whole.

To avoid the most common project failure pitfalls, all stakeholders need to agree on the same timeline, outcome, and goals. Without consensus, individuals may accidentally or maliciously steer the project in a different direction at everyone else’s expense. Clear communication between all parties is critical to successful project management.

Welcome, Lee Levy!

Posted in Human Resources / PACE Program / PREP on January 05, 2016
Lee Levy

Lee Levy

Lee Levy recently graduated with her MA in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Her research included analyzing the risks of democratization in ethnically divided societies, post-conflict reconstruction, and innovative approaches to promote reconciliation. Lee completed internships with the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in DC and the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa Tel-Aviv.

Prior to SAIS, Lee worked as an office and project manager for an international entrepreneur. She obtained her BA in Political Science and Hebrew Literature from Hunter College, City University of New York. Lee enjoys learning new languages; she is fluent in Hebrew, speaks Spanish, limited French, and continues to study Arabic. Lee is excited to join M Powered Strategies PACE Cohort 9.