Today ends a 4 year journey as the Government side Project Manager for the $10 Million Financial Statement Software Implementation project impacting 40 Federal Agencies. The project involved collaborating with over 100 different people during the 4 year project including contract personnel. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service, which is a bureau of the Department of Treasury, is the client of my employer, eMentum, Inc. I was remote for the majority of the project except for a few design meetings in Parkersburg, WV. The team was fully remote after March 2020.
This project included two contracts: Contract 1 (1 year) and Contract 2 (1 base year, 2 one year option years). I am proud to say that my work there resulted in Excellent CPAR ratings and multiple kudos from the client (appreciation certificate, 3C Award 1, 3C Award 2).
We implemented 40 customers in the OneStream software and also executed two OneStream upgrades, implemented additional features, integrated with Oracle, implemented A136 and TFM updates, migrated FedRAMP data centers, and moved from project to operations and maintenance.
I met and learned from a lot of wonderful people. The team included over 100 people with a core team of 30 which included external contractors (Inserso, GID Solutions, Definitive Logic, and OneStream). The team’s roles ranged from accountants, accounting supervisors, accounting managers, directors, operations, technology, security, OneStream architect, business analysts, contractor project managers, OneStream developers, sales, procurement, and more.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
I started to think about what I personally used to execute my role as project manager and came up with the experiences below that helped with my knowledge, skills, and abilities.
End User Applications
During the project we used systems and applications such as Microsoft Teams, Project, Office, Visio, and SharePoint. We also used Atlassian Jira and Confluence. I learned about many of them in the school system, at ESI International, and on my own using LinkedIn Learning or YouTube. I also had to extend my Excel Pivot Table, VLOOKUP, XLOOKUP, and Filter Function skills.
I am use to collaborating with people, but one key experience was when I joined ESI International (ESI). I had to meet with people from every department. I learned what people do in technology, sales, marketing, accounting, operations, product development, and logistics. Additionally, I collaborated with the company system’s architect as we merged two companies and also started to implement Agile in the company. This helped me understand the SDLC and DevOps. The team collaborated on a daily basis during the daily scrums for the majority of the project. My friendship with the lead architect helped me, at a high level, understand the concepts of micro services and Kimball data warehouse theories.
This helped me a lot on this project because going in I had a basic understanding of what each department’s role might be. It also helped me with basic terminology to communicate with the departments and also helped me know what questions to ask to get clarity.
Remote Meeting Facilitation
I learned about remote meeting facilitation through my experiences as ESI. My team was the product owner for the virtual classroom at ESI International. And when I started at ESI, I had to review the second virtual classroom course, Risk Management, that they were developing.
I learned the standard of offering excellent customer service at IBM.
I just had to learn this through experiences at every company I have worked for. I don’t try to communicate in jargon or use terms like low hanging fruit but what I do is try to communicate in clear terms that everyone can understand. I also try to translate technical items into terms the users can understand. We occasionally had “True Confessions” where if a team member did something that might be off the path, we confessed, corrected and continued on. Occasionally I had to ask the project sponsors, is this realistic?
Project and Program Management
At ESI I had the opportunity to become the third or fourth project manager of a failed project. The Xyleme Learning Content Management System project allowed me to learn how to break down a very large project into smaller parts and determine the high level milestones and associated tasks. (The first version had over 600 tasks!) I also learned about Agile at ESI through reviewing the Agile courses we developed. Later as we changed to TwentyEighty Strategy Execution I also participated in the transition to Agile under the guidance of an Agile coach. I also learned about program management as the Director of Learning Technology, we were always executing multiple projects that supported related goals and benefits. All of my project management training from ESI International contributed to my knowledge of project and program management.
Organizing, Coordinating, and Facilitating
In the school system, I had to organize, coordinate, and facilitate as our school’s SkillsUSA Lead Advisor. Through this experience I organized multiple conferences, facilitated meetings, and coordinated a lot of activities.
During this project, I used these skills a lot!
Instructional System Development otherwise known as Consulting
During my Masters degree studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, I learned about Instructional Design and Human Performance Improvement. The most important learning was that you need to analyze before designing and developing (and the answer is not always training :-)). As I think of any project I try to figure out what it is through an analysis either large or small.
During this project I designed training for Jira. My IDEO Advanced Design Thinking training helped me with brainstorming sessions with the team.
This helped me because I knew that I would need to learn a little about accounting before I started the project. I took a few courses on LinkedIn Learning before starting on the project. As the project progressed, I had to learn about a lot of new subjects.
I learned about Unit Testing, SIT, and UATs, and automated testing at ESI and TwentyEighty Strategy Execution. While working with the technology team, we had to test one of the major systems and for some reason I was voluntold to participate in it. Weeks before, I had documented a plan to outsource all of our testing and when this came up, I got the pleasure of leading it from the business side. Thankfully my daughter worked at the same company and she knew how to use the system. I knew how to write the test plan and together we got it done! Thank goodness for daughters!
Through being the Lead ISO 9001:2015 Auditor at my company, eMentum, I know all of the procedures. This helped me understand how important the procedures would be for the client to develop before moving to O&M.
My experience as a teacher and advisor in the school system helped me provide leadership coaching for some of the team members to help them when they communicated up to their executives.
I am always working on my website which uses WordPress. WordPress skills are quickly transferrable to SharePoint. I also learned web development skills in the school system as the webmaster for the Instructional Technology Department, TAAAC, SkillsUSA Maryland, and CAT-South, my school.
This skill helped me as I setup a SharePoint knowledge management site that collected all of the history of the project, training documents, project documents, and other resources.
The experiences over a lifetime contributed to my contributions to this project. I learned a lot and met a lot of smart wonderful people. My project is over, but this is just the beginning.