I talk with each project
manager to ascertain the
difficulties and the progress
of each project, and I help
the project manager clarify
the client’s request so we can
guarantee project success.
Great communication depends
on clarity and transparency.
What’s the one skill
every project manager should have?
Achieving a project’s
goals while maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders—the ability to be
both firm and polite.
What’s the best professional advice you
In my first job, a manager told me, “Always
have a plan B. With
every goal, there’s
always more than one
way to get there.” In
as in life, the only
certainty we have is
What’s your favorite
I play bass in a rock
band. I like Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and
Iron Maiden. The bass
links harmony with
rhythm—I like being in
and budget had no firm controls. Projects were
happening in silos, and there was no oversight or
portfolio management. There was a lack of standardization, there was no project database, and
there was a lot of redundant work. The company
needed to organize the execution of its projects and
to increase the maturity level of its project management. So the company asked me to help do that.
What changes did you determine had
to be made?
After establishing the PMO, we identified three
goals: First, train the project managers. We found
that 80 percent of our small team was certified
with a Project Management Professional (PMP)®
credential, so we developed a training plan to get
everyone else certified by the end of 2015. Second,
standardize and improve the project management
processes. And third, ensure the highest level of
the organization has visibility over the projects.
How did you improve Arcon’s project
When we created the PMO, we drew up an action
plan with key performance indicators, such as
customer satisfaction with the deployment of the
PMO, project execution, project management
maturity, the team’s accountability and the team’s
qualifications, like the PMP® credential. We established targets such as project management methodology and strategic alignment.
Then we applied a maturity test. We had a lot
of work ahead of us and not a lot of time. We had
just eight months to build a project methodology
that runs from the beginning analysis stage to the
end stage, detecting any potential project risks. We
identified all of the project activities and responsibilities. We created standardized documents and
templates, like a timeline, project plan and report
status. And we started using an application to
manage the portfolio of projects.
This all created a benchmark so that we can
improve upon processes as we move forward.
What types of projects does your team
We have two kinds of projects: the deployment of
security solutions, such as security software and
security appliances, and the analysis and prepara-
tion of assets such as firewalls, routers and intru-
sion detection systems. In the first half of 2015, we
successfully completed 30 projects.
While Arcon services clients in both the private and public sectors, the latter tend to be more
complex because of the regulatory and contractual
requirements. One IT project involved several
regional companies belonging to a national public
infrastructure provider, so there were a variety of
geographic and technological variations.
What’s the greatest challenge you face?
Our organization and the client don’t always agree,
so it can be a challenge to align their interests. To
address that, communication is the most important thing. I talk with each project manager to
ascertain the difficulties and the progress of each
project, and I help the project manager clarify the
client’s request so we can guarantee project success. Great communication depends on clarity and
What difference has greater project
management maturity made for Arcon’s
One of our first initiatives aimed to measure project progress to help support executive decision-making. Before, there was no structured record of
projects, so we deployed a project dashboard tool
that generates status updates on our portfolio and
the resources involved.
As a result of our improved project management
processes, we were able to decrease Arcon’s project costs by 16 percent. That’s despite an adverse
economic landscape in Brazil. Our executive team
has been really impressed with this. PM