There are no mistakes in project management—just lessons learned, says Craig Brodbeck, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, a product manager and group leader for a global industrial electronics organization. He’s completed more than 300 projects and launched more than 850 products.
Craig, how did you get into project management? I’ve been involved in project management since 2005. Although my primary role is product development and product management, I spend a significant amount of time in a project management role. Early in my career, I was frustrated projects weren’t completed on time, budgets exceeded the plan and scope changes were not adequately captured. I joined PMI in 2007 and began to study the fundamentals outlined in the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and passed my PMI certification in 2011.
What do you love most about the work? I enjoy working with diverse team members to solve complex issues that delight customers. It’s especially gratifying to see individual team members evolve into a high-performing team. I also like that no two projects are the same. It’s rewarding to work as a team in taking a project from start to finish.
What do you find most challenging? Working through the “fuzzy front end” of projects when requirements are still evolving can sometimes be a challenge. I have worked hard to utilize ideation and elicitation tools and techniques to aid in getting through the “fog.”
Does your approach change depending on the country or organization you’re working in? PMI has done a fantastic job of creating global standards for project management. This allows for a common understanding of the structure for projects regardless of where the project work is performed. As I’ve learned over my career, communication is essential. As I work for a European-based company, I find it helpful to have a stakeholder plan to aid in communication. Although my approach to managing a project doesn’t change, my communication methods may vary depending on the location of key stakeholders.
What's your proudest professional achievement? I just launched a new product line at the end of March and had the honor of presenting the project to our steering committee for approval. Even though I have launched more than 850 products and completed more than 300 projects, it’s always exciting to get a big project to completion. I like to think one is only as good as one’s last project!
What's the best piece of advice you've received or can share? One of my mentors told me there are no mistakes in project management, rather there are lessons learned. Reflecting on lessons learned has been one of the most beneficial aspects of project management.
How has ProjectManagement.com helped you in your career? I’m a frequent visitor to projectmanagment.com. With three PMI certifications, I’m always in need of professional development units (PDUs). With the webinar on-demand option, I’m able to review relevant topics that truly aid in my development. I also like to utilize the forms that are available. Why create a form when there is a library available! Finally, I like to connect with and network with other project managers from around the globe and am closing in on 100,000 connections. ProjectManagment.com is a fantastic resource and well worth the cost of a PMI membership.
What interests do you have outside work? Spending time with my family and working on projects around the house—but with no Gantt charts!
What's your favorite TV show, artist or movie? Lincoln by Steven Spielberg.
Best vacation? I backpacked Europe after college and visited five countries. It was fun learning about new cultures and having the freedom to explore without a fixed itinerary.
To connect with Craig, visit his ProjectManagement.com profile.
This interview was conducted by Kelley Hunsberger