How do you build a successful business in the project management space? A gutsy story with Jennifer Whitt, founder of

An interview with Jennifer Whitt; a speaker, trainer, Certified Performance Coach, author, and company president of Optimo, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in team and leadership enhancement as well as project management.

What you will learn from this interview:
– Find out how Jennifer Whitt founded and grew
– Some mistakes to avoid when starting a business
– Get insights into the future of project management
– How to integrate your hobbies with your work

Like audio, listen here:

Before we start, do you want to tell the audience what you do now? Just give a quick background of the kind of activities you are doing now, with regards to videos, or, maybe a quick brief

Sure, I’m blessed to be able to do multiple things that I really enjoy doing. Of course, I’m the founder of and we’re looking forward to celebrating our fifth anniversary August 1st. And with there, basically number one it’s not really managing the whole, the whole aspect and working with not only our production team, but also working with the multiple authors that we’re partnered with. Really going out and interviewing and talking with and getting to know the authors, as they have experience with different projects from different aspects. Talking with them about some of their philosophies, some of their teachings, so learning about the different authors and what they can bring back and infuse into the project management community.

 So I love being able to work with different authors in that regard. And then of course also on the creative aspect of producing content on my own. As you may know, I’m a speaker and an author as well. So I’m constantly producing content of my own and through my consulting practice and mentoring practice, so that’s quite fun.

 And then also partnering with, working with Jason Westland and his team and putting together different content for, specifically. We have a video training series and working on other aspects of that community.

 That sounds like three or four jobs right there.

 It is, people are like, “How do you all that you do?” And when it’s doing the fun things you don’t really think about it. And I’m also very involved, you’ll hear me reference a lot of times in some of my keynotes and some of my writings, the school of Humanity and Awareness, which is located here in Atlanta and we have a very large international community that we work with and that’s a place where they teach about consciousness and awareness, and we do service projects so, very involved in a graduate project there. I’m at a point in life where I do the things that I love to do, and it just makes the time go by faster and having fun in the process.

 I bet. I bet. So, what were you doing before you founded

 Well what I found is for me is it’s kind of an evolution of things. I left corporate America in, I guess at the end of 1999. I worked out of college for a large telecommunications company, which is now AT&T, and worked in their technology area supporting large enterprise-wide technology implementations.

 And once I left there I started my first company, which was Optimo, O-P-T-I-M-O, Optimo Incorporated. So, that was a niche company on project management consulting and training. So basically it provided project management consultants and trainers to corporate clients. Again, one of my core clients at the time was AT&T, and then did a lot of work with Accenture with their outsourcing of the Bell South software, and data center operations, and then things began to expand.

 So, from there, consulting and staffing company birthed a training company, because one of my clients asked me to produce a training curriculum, so that basically birthed the training company within Optimo Incorporated. The training then was responsible in part for birthing So, I say all of that for the audience, I know who are out there that you are providing information to as project manager consultants and trainers, and just knowing that one thing generally evolves to something else, at least that’s what I found for myself.

 And just as my own growth and development, and working with my clients and always listening to what the next needs are. And then being able to provide something that is in alignment with what I think I’m good at doing. Because there are different things that come up that either I’ve outgrown, kind of been there, done that, or I don’t really want to continue doing that because I’m growing in different ways. So always making sure it’s in alignment.

 So there were several things that came prior to, and I know just some of the things that I’m working on now are continuing to evolve to the next thing. Which I think leads into; I was excited to talk to you about the future of project management. Because I think we’re in this evolution of looking at how can things continue to change and evolve in the field of project management.

 And we are going to talk about the future of project management for a little bit, but I want to speak about for a little bit longer. For the audience, can you give a sense of how big is? Employees, the number of courses, customers, those sorts of figures?

 Sure., we’re going on our fifth anniversary of the formal launch. It took about, probably we began scoping… is not just a website, people may look at it and go, “wow, it’s a website.” But it’s actually an application, so is a platform; it’s a technology platform and technology company. So we began to scope out and it took probably six months working with the technical team, and if you go back five years, so if it’s 2012 we began doing the scoping efforts in 2006, scoped it, built it, and tested it, so it probably took about a year.

 And through that we did several pilots with several pilot groups and then formally launched it August 1st, 2007. So, it did take some time and what I remind people of, I guess our audience has branded as iTunes. It came out and people immediately associated it with iTunes, kind of the iTunes of project management. And what I remember, back then, it was before people really had access to high speed internet.

 And you know, we basically had iPods, it was before the iPhone, and so we were a little bit ahead of our time. So when we rolled it out we had specific pilot groups and we had to test it.

 And so then, we had two years, 2008 and 2009 to put it out in the market, get a good customer base of testing and what programs people were looking for. Then, people here in the United States and what I’ve seen globally are we began having another ebb and flow of economic, the economic downturn.

 And so people were looking for different solutions, so that really gave us a solid base where people were looking for, “Wow, I need training. I need credits and it’s hard for me to get into a traditional course room and afford that training anymore.” So at the time we were really ready to go, and the audience was ready for us.

 And then the technology kind of came up to speed too, literally and figuratively. So the internet speed became better and we came out with the mobile devices. So I’d say for the audience to say, people think that, and I know with your company too people probably think that, think that it’s automatically come out and they’re like this huge success. But it takes time for all the variables to fall into place so we have probably about 30,000 customers worldwide, so we reach, it’s an internet based solution, and people all over the world can access it and download it to either on their computers, their laptops or mobile devices.

 And we’ve had several teams to assist us as you can imagine when it was built, our technical team was bigger. We had a bigger technical team that helped to scope it, design it and build it. And then once we built it they probably stayed on board for another year, and then so now my technical team is, we probably have five people technically supporting it. We have a customer service group, people call in, they may have questions, we get a lot of questions about, “How do I get certified? How do I maintain my PDU?” So not only are they supporting our application, we’re also able to assist people in knowing how to navigate toward getting their certification and how to maintain it.

 And then, yeah. And so, again, we have around 30,000, constantly growing. And we have corporate clients. Our main market is the B to C market, so for those at home who may not know what a B to C is, the business to consumer. So the individual project managers, individual project management professionals who are responsible for keeping their certification up, that’s our real market. So the PNP is our market. However, due to normal way things work, we have a B to B market, a business to business market.

 Where we have corporate clients who may have a PMO, a group of project managers that they want to have the same training. And then people naturally ask, that’s great curriculum, do they have to be PMP-certified to take these courses? So, the answer is no. So, to position ourselves, we’ve positioned ourselves for the PMP’s, but they don’t have to be. So that’s a little bit about our team and people, I think, what I love to do is I’m constantly not only working with our authors, but I also work very closely with our team.

 And it’s not unusual if a call comes into customer service and they’re asking questions, something will get routed to me or I may even take a call. And people are shocked in two ways; number one they’re surprised that our customer service actually calls them back. And I’m like yes, there are people, it’s not like a blind website. So we love to talk with people.

 Our business, we are there, we take feedback very seriously. What people love they respond to, so we want to know what’s working. And then people are always telling us what is not working. They’re like, we have difficulty doing this, and it’s like, thanks for taking the time to call us or email us, because that’s how we grow. And then I’m always talking with people, so they’re like, “Oh my God, you’re the founder”, and I’m like “Yeah, that’s my job to talk with people.” and I love that.

I would be surprised if I called customer service and they put me to the founder. Oh wow.

 It confuses me why people are shocked, but after talking with people I think so many companies they can’t get a live person. They’re like; if we could get a live person, and I’m like, well we’re live and we love talking to people so call us. We love to collaborate with you.

 Where did you get your first customers?

 Well, because it was a natural evolution that came from something else. Because we already had a project management-focused consulting staffing company, and a training company, we started with; those were some of our base customers. When I talk about we did pilot programs with testing, we started there first because they know us, they trust us, and they love us. So that was naturally the people to start with.

 And then I’m involved with many of the project management chapters, the PMI chapters. So here in the state there are several chapters that I’m very involved in, so we reached out to them. And then in speaking I do a lot of speaking to some of the PMI chapters, their chapters, and their conferences that was another way to reach out. And then, I have colleagues and so I’m still very involved as a practitioner and I have colleagues. So, some of my business colleagues, and then our instructors and trainers.

 So, I think it’s very important to realize because sometimes people are focused on going to a new market, people who don’t even know who they are, they have no clue, “who are you?” and may be a little suspicious. So it’s very important for people to realize where the best place to start is, and its people who know you, trust you, and like what you do, and are candid. Some people who know us are very candid; you get the good, the bad, and the ugly feedback. It’s not all; it doesn’t serve us in growing our business because our business is really just the PMP market. So it doesn’t serve anyone to say, “Oh, that’s great and lovely” when it’s bad. So we have people who are very candid to give us all kinds of feedback.

 And when you started day one, how many courses did you have?

 Well, the funny thing is, the track of how came about was I say a couple of things came about at the same time. So if you visualize the timeline and maybe three timelines going on at the same time, a couple things were happening which made this solution come together. Number one, I was, I keep alluding to that I’m a speaker, I’m a trainer, and so I had written this book called Optimize Your Thinking.

 And it, so Optimize your Thinking came out and that’s what a lot of my key notes and workshops were on. And so I was getting a lot of request for that, and so at the time I was like, I can’t possibly be all the places I need to be at one time. And so I was thinking, because remember, 2005, I keep having people go back and remember, I was thinking, how can I be multiple places at one time?

 Remember, this was before the craze of the internet. People had access, but they didn’t have high speed. The video wasn’t what it is today. So, I was like, how can I be there without being there? So I have an amazing, brilliant marketing team of designers, and they worked with me to put together a package. I’m like, “How can I teach someone without me being there? How can I get them from point A to point B to eventually point Z?” I’ve got to be able to provide the materials and be able to pick up something and navigate there without me being there. So that’s what we put together with Optimize Your Thinking, and so when we worked together to package this as a self-paced course, we had it as a course. Because that’s what I was trying to do, teach multiple people without me being there.

So we packaged this course, and then naturally I tested it with people who know me, trust me, and of course like working together. And so, I rolled that out and after I polished that, I started promoting that to PMI chapters, who would invite me to speak. So my keynote would be on Optimize your Thinking, and then we had this packaged course and it was in a digital download format, so it was in essence the first course on

And people were like, “Oh my goodness, I can earn PDU’s for this?” and we’re like, “Yes, because we worked with PMI’s well, and yes you can earn PDU’s with this.” And they’re like, “Wow, it’s so portable!” and yeah, it really is, you can put it on your devices and it can go where you go. And they’re like, oh and it’s affordable. So those words came out of their mouth, so that’s part of our tag line. So I’m explaining this to show people on the call because one thing you asked me was like, people who were thinking about developing their own business.

 So the words came out of their mouth, not mine. So when we would go to these project management conferences and we were talking with them and the words were consistently were portable and affordable, and we’re like, that’s a great tagline.

Portable and affordable way for project managers to earn PDU’s. It’s still our tag line today, and that came out of the people’s mouths. The first one was Optimize Your Thinking, and then came several other courses that I do. And then, if you can imagine, my background is technology, working with a pretty large company, AT&T and the Accenture of the world. And so my mind built big, I built this Cadillac and only needed a bike to get around. We overbuilt this platform, and I’m like, Wow, this is a really big platform and it just has a few of my courses on it so being a speaker myself, I know several speakers, several authors and trainers. And I said, “Well, what do you do with your courses and curriculum and keynote material when you’re not speaking?” And they looked kind of dumbfounded, nothing, really, it just sits there.

 And I’m like, right, that’s my point. And so I’m like, “How would you like to partner with Because I know people who need to know what you teach.” And they thought that was a great idea. So, some of the first ones onboard who are still onboard today, like David Norr, he wanted the social media, social networking strategist and teaches on business relationships and Grace Alenti who served on the PMI board of certification, and those were the next two and then we began the production process.

And it is a production process, it’s a very intense process to work with someone and take what they teach and package it so we can put it out to market. So people can actually take a course and get there through a self-paced course. And so we began populating and if you’re out there today you see some amazing authors with great material, like the John Maxwells of the world, you know, some of the best-selling authors like Marcus Buckingham who wrote First Break All the Rules, Tom Peters, and so I love being able to work with, meet with and talk with these amazing people and being able to infuse something that is not commonly taught in the project management, at the time was not taught in the project management area. Because a lot of the training had to do with the specific hard skills. Risk management, scheduling. So all the things that you have to know, but infusing other more leadership soft skills training into the market.

You know, if you were to do this again, would you build this platform? I think if you were just starting out you’d build an electronic course to optimize your team and not sort of going for this platform. I mean, was that a good decision? Did you have to change this platform later on? Did it fit in with what you do now?

 Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s true. Another sidebar kind of thing I do is really work with entrepreneurs or people who are trying to launch their business in the beginning, which I love because I get to teach people, don’t do some of the things that I did because they were very expensive license. Because, true, when I say, when people branded it as iTunes, we literally did build an iTunes-like platform, it’s over a million dollar investment and we don’t have investors.

 So at the time I keep going back to the time when this wasn’t even available. It was before iTunes. iTunes at the time was music; it wasn’t video and all the things it is today. So at the time we were trying to create a solution not only for us, but for our business customers too. And so it wasn’t available, so we build it. It’s kind of like building a house. When you’re building a house and you start with the basing, like oh, this is all we want, and they you get really excited, and you’re like, but, if we just go ahead, I mean it’s what we do in our projects right?

 The whole thing. So I pride myself on managing this technology and I was probably the worst stakeholder and worst customer in all of that because I was the scope queen, I was going for all the bells and whistles, and I’m like, “yeah, but we could get it to do this!” Because that’s my background, I’m very creative. So, it wasn’t available and we were trying to make this as easy as possible for people. Because even I have friends today who are not technology savvy, so our goal was to make it as easy as possible. Like if someone uses this we want the user-customer experience to be easy, we want it to be all there and we streamlined the process, but it was a big thing. So, would I do it today? Even today who try to emulate, I talk to people in the same field who are trying to emulate the same thing.

 And it’s not quite there yet because you still have to build a lot of stuff, but the good news today is that there are so many technology tools available that people can leverage. So people who are on the call who are thinking, “How can I do some of that?” I say, look at some of the tools that are available. WordPress is amazing, it’s an amazing way to easily build a website that you can modify easily. Being able to use YouTube, Livestream and some of the other tools today that are developed, I strongly urge people, don’t build something that you don’t have to build. Because companies have huge staff, they have a huge amount of funding and staff to grow and develop them in the market. So I don’t subscribe to people today having to go do what I did. I mean, because it’s not necessary.

 But sometimes you have to look at the people who are thinking about doing their business, you have to look at, am I ahead of the curve? Am I going to be a trend-setter? Am I going to go out in the market and build something that’s not there? Or am I going to use the tools that are available today? There’s not one that’s right or wrong, and people come along, they’re entrepreneurs, I’m an entrepreneur, a true entrepreneur, and I risk a lot, and I lose a lot. And some people don’t have that tolerance, and you don’t have to, right? Because there’s no right, there’s no wrong. It’s not what is it that you really want to do, what is it that you want your business to do, who’s your market, and how do you want to get there? So, I don’t, in today’s time if I were going to approach it, I would approach it differently. I would use some of the amazing tools that are available today.

Can you think of maybe a few, an example that you built into your original platform that you had to throw away?

Yeah, that’s a great point, and as a matter of fact our team is going through this whole process, we’re looking at this. And so, behind the scenes, we have things like a CRM system, we built a CRM platform.

 Oh, you build a CRN platform? Wow.

 There’s a CRM functionality in there so we can manage and track who our customers are so we can contact them. Because not only has the content, we’re like a university as well.

 So when PMI’s, we’re a REP, a registered education provider. So with that, we can be audited by PMI’s, the student can be audited by PMI’s…we’ve got to produce them as a student. They were a student here, they enrolled for this program and we have to show they took it. And now there’s and a million others who are CRM customers, and that stands for customer relationship management, for those who may not know.

 We also have a very sophisticated author royalty functionality in there, because when we partner with authors we have legal agreements. We have to protect their intellectual property, and we pay them royalties. And so we had to build that functionality in there. And so today there are tools you can purchase that have that already incorporated in there, and we have a rewards program. So the rewards program, any of our affiliates, those are available today. So people who are on the call thinking, “How can I do that?”, there are applications off the shelf that can build that.

 And then where we serve up audio, video, there’s YouTube, several others but YouTube is the dominant thing. There’s LiveStream. We do a lot of webinars, and there’s Go To Webinar, so there’s a lot of that functionality that we had to build from scratch on the .NET platform. And those of you who may be in the technical arena, .NET is very sophisticated. It’s not real nimble. I mean, it does a lot, but because it can do a lot you have to do a lot to it. So, it’s a very sophisticated platform that has to have very specialized resources to develop it.

 And I don’t think that’s necessary today. You know, I keep naming, WordPress, Joomla, several other things that are out there and very sophisticated that have a lot of support for those. I think I can say for those of you who are looking at doing this, people may not even want to try to build what we build, and they may be a speaker or a trainer.

And they say, “Well, how I get my content out there?” Because that was just one problem we were trying to solve in the beginning. There are other ways that you can do that without having to build this huge technology company. Because I woke up one morning realizing, I’m a CTO, I’m a chief technology officer. I’m a founder with multiple roles in this company, and that’s not what I really set out to do because I’m a creative person, I’m creative. I love producing the content; I love speaking and relaying information.

I understand now, how it would cost a million dollars. When you said that before, I said, “How much does it take to build a course?” and now you’re saying you built a CRM system, an affiliate system and an award system and now I understand why it costs so much to build.

 Yeah, people are shocked because, I think that’s one reason why if you look in the market, we don’t have a close competitor in this field. Because when you look at the courses and how we serve up courses and make them available. Because each course has, so if you go to a traditional course room and you get your materials, you have a couple things. Here are my books, here are my materials and I have my instructor. So all of that is emulated by downloaded PDF’s, audio files, video files, you have all of that, even a course completion. All of that’s automated in digital format. And so, all of that had to be built, and so, we built it in a process. And so, the good news is that it flows like we want it to, there are people in the call using PDU’s to go, and we’re all looking for like, what’s the next evolution? We want to make it easier for our customers. It’s a constant battle but the million dollar investment is just the technology platform.

 There’s another investment not only for us but for our authors in the production of the courses. For some reason I’m not sure why the market things because something’s in a digital format, it’s free. These authors, when you think about an author, most of our authors are PhD’s, some people have, they’re like, “Oh, I don’t like PhD’s.” Well, PhD’s are people who have a great love for a specific area and they’ve done research, they’ve spent years doing a focused, consulting research, putting together information, they invest their time, their life. This is their study, their lifetime investment. Their career. So it costs them a lot of money to be the PhD, to be the subject matter expert.

 That doesn’t come, they don’t read an article in a magazine and then they’re the expert. And so, not only has it cost them time and effort over ten, twenty years to get the knowledge, these people are constantly in the know. They’re the person to go to for specific information and they’re constantly growing and developing. Because I know these people personally and we all are involved in personally growing ourselves, and so they’ve got that investment. That’s one, and then they have the investment to produce the product. So you’re using marketing people, you’re using graphics people, you’re using designers, instructional designers, video production crews, audio crews, how do you put all of this together?

 It’s a group of people to put these programs together and so they have an investment and then has an investment. So we have a technical team once we get the information in a format we can use, then we have our own production process. And then we get it all improved by PMI’s to make sure it meets certain criteria. So it’s a big thing and I guess one thing in the market where I see people getting so many free PDU’s, that’s great because I know they’re struggling to keep their PDU’s, I understand that. But for some reason in this digital market, what people can’t expect is very quality information for nothing.

 Because it doesn’t make sense. We don’t want to be treated like that. Project managers wouldn’t want to go work for free. Because then they would say, “It took me years to get my experience as a project manager and then I had to put an investment and then I had to put the investment in taking the test and then I had to keep up the cost of the PNP.” So they wouldn’t dare offer their services for free.

 We contribute to our market. I do a lot of pro bono stuff. I don’t do my career for free, but I contribute to the market for free, I do a lot of service work for my community and other colleges that I believe in. So, of course we do that. I give back. I give and I get back more in return.

 Yeah, but it is a big challenge. If it’s a link, it should be free is part of the mindset. It’s so misleading. Let’s talk about the future a little bit now. You are knee deep, no not knee deep. You are underwater in project management. Where do you think it’s headed? Where is project management headed now in the future?

 Yeah, that’s a great question and that’s why I love what you’re doing and that’s why I was excited about this call today. Because I went back to like a two in one baseline plan of what I, Jennifer Whitt am about, and my company since then have been about, and it’s really reinventing project management. And so, what does that mean? I’ve always thought it’s a couple of things.

When I think about reinventing project management, or doing something outside the box, we always respect the project management hard skills but I think for me I want project managers to really understand the influence and the impact that they can have. Not only on individuals, but on the projects. The projects on the whole, in total, and the companies and outside of that. So if a project manager can think, I’m in a position where everything is looking at me. I’m the center person. Not ego way, but people are looking at them, like, ‘where are we going?’. But they are the leader, they lead the project and not only manage the project, but to me more importantly they are leading a team. And when you’re leading a team you have to think, what is the influence I have over these people and what impact do I want to make? I want people to start thinking about impact.

 I want people to start thinking about beyond the Gantt chart, beyond the project plan, beyond this project. For the members on my team, they’re standing as in, if you think of a parental structure, the people look to the mothering and fathering, the nurturing of their team. And what I mean by that is people who have children, they discipline them. They love them and encourage them and see where they’re creative, and they try to, hey, this child looks like an artist so we need to get behind this child and encourage the artist within them. Well, this child could be athletic, or this one could be technical, and encourage that person to be what they were meant to be.

 Like seeing them for the value that they are and encouraging them and providing them support. But parents also provide discipline, you know? So, people on the team, they have to kick them in the rear sometimes, and say, “What’s happening here? You’re not getting your work done. Why?” And so instead of a hardcore discipline thing, if people began to look at things where maybe that individual doesn’t have that training, maybe they’re in a role they don’t have training for, they need help on, they need support.

 So if we start looking at individuals as really people, because people on the team, on the project are really doing this. I mean, they want to support their families, and so they want to be treated with respect. They want to come to work every day and enjoy where they’re working. They want to have fulfillment in their work life, so they can be happy and enjoy their work life and they go home and they spend time with family, and do other things that they love too. They don’t want to come to work and be on projects where they’re demeaned, they’re talked down to, they’re treated disrespectfully. People don’t want that and I think if you look at the behaviors of the market, even in a bad economic time, people are leaving companies that do not have a good supportive culture.

 It doesn’t make sense, but I know a lot of people who are leaving. They don’t even have a job to go to, but they’re leaving, they’re like, “It’s not worth it anymore for me to stay in a company, working on projects, working for a project manager who totally disrespects me, demeans me and makes me feel horrible and then I have to go home.” People don’t want that anymore. So with that I think there are three areas that people need to go forward work on improving. Number one, of course, there’s no doubt that project managers need to continue to hone their project management skills.

 You have to be able to manage expectations, do a Gantt chart, all those hard skills. That’s one, I call that table stakes. Because if you’re a project manager, you have to know how to do that and you have to be the best of the best at doing it.

 Number two; in the social aspects you see that I’m very involved in the social community. And one of my business partners, again, David Norr who introduced me years ago to the social media channels, I’ve been very involved with that. I’m very collaborative with people worldwide. I love that. So that gets me beyond thinking of ideas that I only have within not only myself but within our area, our region. And I get to reach out with people worldwide and collaborate. So, I think the second area is social. Social online technologies, social media channels. And social meaning offline. Project managers need to be social. Get out from behind the desk and go be interactive, collaborative with your team, your stakeholders, get to know what your company is about. Get to know your vendor partners. So the second area was the social area, both online and offline.

 And the third one that I’ve not only devoted my own professional development, but I infuse into the things that I teach and I train on is self-mastery. Because, I feel like project managers have to know who they are. So that does a lot of, not only just taking classes on project management and soft skills, I mean internally. “Who am I at my core? What makes me tick? What triggers me?” Because we can’t be reacting. You know, if you see sometimes see project managers go off the handle, it’s like, “Who on your team triggers you? Who on each other’s teams are about to kill each other?”

 So more, we talk, and research shows, the person you really have control over is yourself. So you want to know yourself the best. So, not only things like the Myers-Briggs or DIStest, or we came up with our own with Optimize Your Thinking. So those I definitely, take those. I think people need to know how they think, how they behave, what’s their inner core, what are they about. What is a person about, because we need to know what we’re good at doing and what we’re not good at doing and do less of what we’re not good at doing and continue to develop and strengthen that for our team. Our teams are looking for us to be the leader.

 And you know, these three, I see a lot of project managers get stuck in that first, table stakes as you call it. And they get stuck in the Ghent chart and that risk management and they never go beyond that to social and they never go beyond that to self mastery. It’s amazing how many people get stuck in that level.

 Because the one about the social is giving and receiving. I teach, not only to be on social and get ideas, but to give ideas. People are like, I don’t have anything to contribute. Yes you do!

 You know, we forget as we age that there are people who are coming new into the profession that we can share ideas, and they haven’t heard it before. And they haven’t had the experiences, just like we were talking about growing, there are things I do, I teach people like, don’t do this. I did this when starting my company, don’t do this, here’s a better way that I’ve learned.

 Same thing with project management. And that’s why people need to get out there and be social. Like, share your ideas. Like, hey this works. I see that that worked for Samir but that didn’t work for me. So always getting those ideas, so I think the social aspect is very important. Offline and online.

 You know, with all that you do with the five jobs and the volunteering and the other things, do you get any time for hobbies or interests?

 I do. Number one, I treat it, I feel like what I’ve worked so hard over the years is really integrating my life. And what I mean by integrating is, it’s like my life is transparent. I’m seeing less and less of here’s my work bucket, here’s my home bucket and here’s my this bucket, they all kind of blend.

 Because I’m really doing the things that I love. So, when I’m writing or speaking and doing some of those things, when I’m designing things for PDU’s to go, I feel like that’s a creative movement for me. That’s a creative outlet for me. So, those things. But then I do a lot of, I live in Atlanta, Georgia and I’m a tennis player, so, you know, tennis, and I get out and do a lot of service projects and I’ve been able to travel to some amazing countries. I’ve been to Peru and Ecuador and India and several other places. So I get involved with service, and then some local causes like autism, MS, multiple sclerosis. So those things are fun, and then I have friends and family and I do crazy things like, I love dancing. And things like that. I have a lot of hobbies.

Great. I’m so glad we connected and this has been so helpful to the audience that listened to this, you know, to my webcast and to my blog. It’s a very different perspective that you bring as someone who’s started companies and someone who has worked, and this is very refreshing, I must say.

 Well, again, I love what you’re doing with the future of project management. And I just encourage everyone to continue to think about what is the future of project management and how they’d like to do it. So if we’re all creators, and I think we all have a creative spirit inside. We may not have been ever encouraged to look at that, but I think that we’re all creative. And if we all begin to think about, “How would I design this if I could design my work?”

 Because we go to work and if people start thinking about “how do I want this to work” and start to work towards getting it that way, I see it over and over again that we can manifest the way we want it. So, thinking about the future and a better design. The current one I think is outlasted, it’s an old model and it’s time for people to start thinking, how do we do things not only so that people on the team enjoy it. Because if they enjoy it they’re going to participate, they’re going to be real. And the overall thing is to produce the results for the project. I think we’ll see turning that, only 20% successful projects and 80% based on the research, that number could be way higher; it could be a little bit lower.

 But, if we could switch, think about how we could increase the number of successful projects, I think it has to with the core of the people. Getting them more involved. So it’s time to start thinking about the future of project management. Some of the things that we can do to help our profession and the results getting more successful projects.

 I’m so glad we connected, and thank you again for doing this.

For more such inspiring and actionable project ideas sign up for regular updates and receive a FREE copy of my eBook – NExt: a project manager’s journey to the next level.

– Samir Penkar

About Samir Penkar

People, trends and ideas on the world of work. Get my FREE eBook NExt: a project manager's journey to the next level - when you sign up for updates.
This entry was posted in INTERVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How do you build a successful business in the project management space? A gutsy story with Jennifer Whitt, founder of

  1. Pingback: My favorite posts of 2012 | Future Of Project Management

Comments are closed.