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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Where Did You Go?

Several people have asked me lately why I "went dark" on the project management industry for several years. I was out in the community quite frequently for many years, mainly in the public speaking arena, but also in the project management content and publishing spaces as well (PM Boulevard & Project Management Review). Well, I really didn't go dark, I just took a little side road called CIO. I worked at Robbins Gioia as president of PM Boulevard for a couple of years and then opted to be CIO when the opportunity presented itself. The experience there, and the experience of being CIO for the International Institute for Learning, were just another aspect of my project management career. Both companies are project and program management companies, but more importantly I was doing real project management (with various decrees of success). It was the best thing for me. When I was technical product manager for Microsoft Project back in the late 90's, Microsoft put me on the road to spread the word about the 98 release. One speaking engagement was memorable. I was speaking in Germany at some airport hotel about Microsoft Project 98's extensibility story (mainly the new support for saving to a SQL/Oracle database). The talk went well I thought, but after the panel discussion a gentleman approached me with this to say: "Experts are like wine, the older the better". I was only 23 years old at the time, so who could blame him? The comment stuck with me and effected subsequent career decisions. My work at Pacific Edge with Scott Fuller, Ken Inglis, and Brian Kennemer marked a real turning point for me with respect to my career in project management. I learned a ton about project management (mainly what not to do, see this article--there is a picture there but it isn't me... have to ask NASA about that one!). We built a good product. After Project Office 3.0 shipped, I was looking for a change. I wanted to move East and experience the East Coast. Eric Gioia and John Gioia were happy to have me at PM Boulevard (located in Alexandria, VA -- a beautiful town). We worked hard on the site. Eric Gioia, Jim Tisch, and my development crew there were awesome. We shipped a new version of PM Boulevard complete with a serious content management system and a great look. After that, I was off to be CIO and then CTO of Robbins Gioia. After Robbins Gioia's acquisition, I was looking to move back to Seattle or try something different. I decided to come to New York and work for LaVerne Johnson at IIL. So, now I am back working at core project management problems. In particular, I have been working with a great team to build a project management competency framework. The resultant technology is quite interesting. I spent about 6 months building a .NET/C# framework to enable a highly flexible assessment delivery and analysis platform. These days I am working on Microsoft Project Server. This blog serves as a repository for the things I have and will learn. Not much content exists right now, but I type like a bandit so expect more. I enjoy being back in touch with my community again. Thanks to all for the encouragement. I live in Missouri now (a story for another day.)


Anonymous said...

Just found your blog - some very interesting teasers of things to come. Having just implemented Project Server 2007 we are scrambling to learn all we can about the tool and the new development opportunities. I'm putting this blog on my 'watch' list.

Welcome to Missouri

William Busby, soon-to-be PMP
American Century Investments
Kansas City, MO

Colby Africa said...

Thank you William, and good luck on the PMP exam!


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