Project Management

Let's Meet Eric Simms...

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Eric Simms is a senior program manager for the U.S. Census Bureau. He regards projects like Sudoku puzzles and is proud of showing skeptical developers that project management, properly applied, could be a good friend.

Eric, how did you get into project management? I unknowingly entered the project management field in 1996 during my first real job after graduating college. I was a Quality Control Director, and it was only years later that I discovered many of the actions I performed in that role were considered "project management."

What do you love most about the work? I most enjoy the complexity surrounding project management, particularly the delicate balance required to meet stakeholder expectations while successfully executing the project. I regard a project rather like a Sudoku puzzle, but one with a practical, beneficial outcome.

What do you find most challenging or frustrating? As a consultant I often lack the authority to make high-level executives do what they should. As a result, my team and I usually need to perform extra work to fix the problems caused by the executives’ actions or lack thereof. I resent wasting time and energy in this manner, and I resent organizations that allow their executives to act like entitled divas in the first place.

What's your proudest professional achievement? As a contractor without formal authority I was able to transform a group of unorganized developers who viewed project management as useless bureaucracy into an effective projectized business unit. I accomplished this by showing the developers how project management — properly applied — can greatly enhance their productivity.

What's the best piece of advice you've received or can share? Don’t let anyone make you believe a project must be managed in one particular way. All project management methodologies and documentation are merely tools to help you successfully execute a project — how you use them is up to you. No two projects are exactly the same, and just because a method worked well for one doesn’t mean it will work well for yours. Also, best practices are good guidelines to follow, but they’re only guidelines. Feel free to amend them to suit your particular situation.

How has helped you in your work and career? Every member sees project management from a different vantage, and I have learned much from their many different perspectives. Some of the questions asked and situations described are outside my experience, and I benefit greatly from considering how I would address them.

What interests or hobbies do you have outside work? I enjoy weightlifting, gardening, travel and entertaining in my home.

Favorite TV show, artist or movie? Game of Thrones is currently my favorite TV show, and Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is my favorite painting.

Best vacation? I visited Quebec’s old city with some friends. The snow fell gently that day, and it made for a quintessential Christmas village scene.

Thank you Eric!

To connect with Eric, visit his profile.

Posted by Aaron Smith on: April 02, 2019 03:47 PM | Permalink

Comments (29)

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Great to meet you, Eric!

It was an interesting topic, thank you for sharing this discussion

Thanks for sharing this Aaron. Eric has been a great member of this community.

That is a good piece of introduction from Eric. Thank you very much for the information sharing Aaron.

Interesting conversation sharing experience of great project manager Eric.

Thank you Aaron for wonderful post !!

Great! Nice to meet you Eric :)

nice intro! I have learned to live with senior executives by assuming that they are smarter than me and have earned their positions; generally that's the case.

ps...I heard to work at the census bureau you have to be able to count to 21 without....never mind....:)

Great to meet you Eric and thanks to Aaron for the share! :-)

I love this! Thank you for sharing - and nice to meet you, Eric!


Eric is a valued member of

Good points from Eric.. Thanks for sharing, Aaron !

Thank you very much for your's very good Topic.

I love this series, Aaron - good way to get to know fellow frequent contributors a bit better!

Thanks for sharing

Nice insights. Thank you for sharing the great experiences.

I thoroughly enjoy this format. Thank you for the virtual introduction.

Great introduction! I loved visiting Quebec City too :)

Lovely to meet you Eric

Nice to meet you Eric! And congratulations on showing that team that project management isn't a waste of time!

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