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March 2013 Villanova Distinguished Professional in Project Management

By Bisk
March 2013 Villanova Distinguished Professional | Yvette Dofat

Yvette Dofat - Project Manager/Coordinator, Acentia

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I was born and raised in New York State as one of the nine siblings. After high school, I attended Monroe College, Bronx N.Y., graduating with an Associate’s degree in Business. 

I worked for 17 years in law enforcement as a New York Westchester County Correction Officer while raising three beautiful and wonderful children. After retiring, I moved to Maryland where I currently reside.

Eight years ago I began working in Washington D.C as a Help Desk Technician. The more I learned about the IT world, the more I became interested in it. My Program Manager decided to move me from the technical side of the job and place me in the Program Manager Assistant position. In this position, I can monitor all aspects of any project from start to finish. I attend meetings, take meeting minutes, do research and assist.  After just a few short projects, I knew immediately that this was where I wanted to be.   

I decided to pursue my IS/IT PMI as a promise to myself and because of the passion I have for the career. I now look forward to achieving my next goal of completing either my Master Certification or my PMP®.

Please, explain the BRAC government project and your role.

My current government contract falls under the Basic Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC BP198) which basically consists of moving 3,000 personnel, health and military services into a single collocated 700,000 sq. ft. campus. Once the staff is completely moved, the offices they moved from must then be closed.

Some of my primary tasks include reviewing budgets daily, checking with sub-managers and teams for short daily briefings and schedules, decommissioning the commercial property and preparing it for officials to review before releasing the space back to the owner. The removal of the furniture and IT equipment is another task I am assigned with. It will go to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) or to General Service Administration (GSA). Once collected and tagged, which is another role I am in charge of, the information is entered on a Government website.

How did you apply project management methodologies to the BRAC project?

I was fortunate with this project. I was given a lot of information to start off with which made getting stakeholders on board an easier process than it can be otherwise. Throughout the project, however, I’ve caught a few curveballs, for example, transitioning the methodology of the project from Waterfall to Agile management. I found that Waterfall didn’t allow the project the flexibility needed to make adjustments to fit the needs of the client so Agile was identified as a better methodology to use. I learned about managing strategy in my project management courses and this helped me make the right choice. So far, with flexibility built into the schedule and regularly communicating with clients, Agile is working out well.

What are some skills you learned in your course that you could apply to your work immediately?

Definitely budgetary skills, as I have never really been involved in accounting or finance. Fortunately, my small projects were not as financially involved as some of the most difficult tasks that the senior professionals were in charge of. I would love to learn more about budgeting and finance as I want to have a full understanding of the different methodologies and how to use them with complete confidence.

How do you think your project management knowledge and experience will help your career?

I think my project management experience so far has given me a strong foundation to continue to build my PM career on. I am passionate about my job and I want to pursue a career as a project manager. The more experience and education I can get will only help my future endeavors.

I plan to take what I’ve learned from Villanova, along with my work experience and use the knowledge to continue to turn out more great projects. I have been so proud of what I’ve done so far, knowing that I have accomplished something I never thought was possible, this has been really motivating to continue.

What are some project management resources or tools you would recommend?

The most valuable project management tool I have is my Project Management Book of Knowledge. The pages are worn and it looks like I’ve had it for decades, but the best tool, by far, is your PMBOK®.

I’d also say that if an aspiring project manager is unable to complete a full training in the field for whatever reason, then they should make every effort to at least learn the fundamentals then work to get into the field. A solid foundation will help them as they get into the field and then with more experience, they can go back and continue their education.

Some words that I’ve learned to live by: “Never tell yourself that a project is impossible without having first tried it” Sometimes, projects can seem too overwhelming at first glance, so use your PMBOK® to break it down into manageable bits.

How would you like to see the role of a project manager change in the future?

More focus on project management education. I would definitely encourage more professionals to pursue formal learning and I hope to see more companies providing support for tuition.  Education is the power of our future and the future of project management as a whole.



Category: Project Management