John Farlik, a senior IT project manager for AAA of the Carolinas, loves enabling teams to achieve new levels of success, which requires much more than just being a "task master" or "herding cats."
John, how did you get into project management? I served in the United States Air Force from 2001 to 2013, and was exposed to a project engineer position in 2007. There I learned about the systems engineering “V”, the five phases of a project, the cost-schedule-scope triangle, and much more. I soon got into managing software, and then was exposed to iterative methods such as spiral development, agile development, scrum, and I was hooked.
What do you love most about the work? Unequivocally, setting up a structure for execution within which teammates can achieve a level of success that they haven’t seen before.
What do you find most challenging or frustrating? When people think that I’m there to help “herd the cats” and be the “task master." That’s only the base layer of project management. The ability to organize a meeting and manage a schedule is basic. It is the configuration management, risk and issue tracking, and communications regarding how teams interact together that is the real skill of the profession.
What's your proudest professional achievement? Earning my Doctoral degree in 2016.
What's the best piece of advice you've received or can share? Project management success and project success are not the same thing. You can still be successful as a project manager even if the project fails. Sometimes things are beyond your control, and it’s how you handle yourself as a professional during those times that shows true grit.
How has ProjectManagement.com helped you in your work and career? I’ve browsed content for a general knowledge of the profession, and have taken webinars for continuing education credits. Recently, I’ve started creating content [including a blog called The Pivot Theory to Practice], which is where I’ve really started to enjoy the interaction with people. I’ve been amazed at some of the discussions that we have. The community really is a group of great people who want to assist one another on a global scale.
What interests or hobbies do you have outside work? Board and card games with family, exercising, and teaching — I teach HR, Operations and Project Management.
Favorite TV show, artist or movie? Anything with Denzel Washington or Mel Gibson
Best vacation? St. Lucia for two weeks with my wife (before kids).
To connect with John, visit his ProjectManagement.com profile.