Widely Respected and Noted Business Information Technology
Authority, Project Management Expert, Author, Consultant
This week, Stephen
Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an exclusive interview with Gregory Horine, a
certified (PMP, CCP) business technology professional with more than
fifteen years of consulting experience across multiple industries.
His primary areas of
professional expertise include:
Project management and
Data analysis and
Quality assurance and
Business systems analysis
In addition, Mr. Horine
holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Ball State
University, and a Bachelor’s degree in both Marketing and Computer
Science from Anderson College.
Through his “servant
leadership” approach, Mr. Horine has established a track record of
empowering his teammates, improving project communications,
overcoming technical and political obstacles, and successfully
completing projects that meet the targeted objectives.
Q: Greg, you are widely
regarded for your expertise. We appreciate you taking the time out
of your demanding schedule to speak with us.
A: I’ll take your word on
the first part. I am thankful for this opportunity to share more
about our new book.
Q: You have a remarkable
and varied history as detailed in the introduction. Can you share
your most valuable lessons and challenges?
A: -Technology really has
not changed that much in 20 years. The fundamentals are still the
- The ability to
effectively explain how technology can help solve problems is still
uncommon and highly valued by most organizations.
- There’s a difference
between project management and project leadership. It’s still
challenging to find individuals who can do both effectively.
- Methodology, process
and tools are important, but without quality “people” it’s very
difficult to complete a project successfully.
- “Effective listening”
is the most important tool to project manager.
- A “servant leadership”
approach to project management gives you the best chance of doing
the right work, the right way for the right people.
- Always keep your “eye
on the ball” (i.e, the project goals and objectives). There are many
ways to accomplish a given objective. Especially important to
remember when “things” don’t go as planned.
-One secret to effective
project management is balancing your “passion” to completing the
project objectives with a healthy “detached” perspective.
- Another secret to
effective project management is a “healthy paranoia”…assume nothing,
- Understand the
“context” of your project…the priority that your project has among
the organization’s portfolio of projects and how it aligns with the
overall goals of the organization.
Q: Describe the services
provided in your consulting and where you see your consulting
proceeding in the future?
A: Fundamentally, our
consulting services are focused on helping organizations to use
technology and process to achieve their business goals.
Specifically, most of our project experiences are in Peoplesoft
implementations, extranet application development, project
management consulting, network security and business process
improvement. I expect our consulting services to have the same focus
for the immediate future too.
Q: What is the current
and future market status of certification for project management
A: Both the current and
the future market status of project management certification is
bright. As “business” continues to become more “project-driven” due
to global competition, ROI demands and proper use of resources, the
demand for competent project management professionals will continue
to grow. Certifications, like the PMP, offer organizations an
added-level of security when hiring or procuring project management
Q: Could you share your
study recommendations with our audience?
A: Of course, the first
recommendation is to buy the “PMP Exam Cram2” book and read all of
the study recommendations in Chapter 1, pages 5-7. Personally, my
key study recommendation is to find good practice exam questions and
“drill, drill, drill”. This approach will identify your knowledge
gaps quickly and help focus your study efforts the best. Did I
mention that the PMP Exam Cram 2 book is loaded with excellent
practice exam questions?
Q: Please detail the PMI
views of project management?
A: In Chapter 1, pages
14-16 of our PMP Exam Cram 2 book, your audience will find a
complete summary of the PMI views of project management, including
key PMI assumptions, and a summary of the common gaps that most
project managers have with the PMI view…especially IT project
Q: Could you provide tips
on initiating projects?
A: Initiating projects is
really a function of the “organization”. A project should be
prioritized and aligned with the goals of the organization by those
individuals controlling the organization’s budget(s).
Specifically, for a
project manager, the project needs to have a single project sponsor
who can properly champion the project to the rest of the
Q: Tell us more about
core and facilitating processes for planning projects.
A: Twenty-one (21) of the
39 project management processes defined by PMI are “project
planning” processes. This is a key indicator to the level of
importance that PMI places on “project planning” and to the scope of
the “project planning” activity. The “core” processes are those that
need to be executed in certain sequence. While the “facilitating”
planning processes can vary in their execution sequence and are
often done in parallel with each other.
PMI tends to
“over-complicate” this process group, but our PMP Exam Cram 2 book
does an excellent job in “translating” their descriptions.
Q: How about PMI
Professional Responsibility standards?
A: In summary, “do the
right thing”. I think our Professional Responsibility Summary table
9.1, on page 203 in Chapter 9 does an excellent job of clarifying
the pertinent PMI points of Professional Responsibility.
Q: Give your top tips for
A: In Chapter 1, pages
7-10, your audience will find a complete listing of all of our tips
for exam success, but here are my key pointers.
1) Do a gap analysis on
your understanding of PM processes and terms against PMI’s
2) Understand the PMI
perspective, terminology and assumptions.
3) Understand the type of
questions you will see on the exam.
4) Drill, drill, drill on
excellent practice exam questions.
5) Understand the
principles being applied to the correct response. It will be far
more important to understand the concept/principle than the actual
question on the PMP exam.
6) When taking the test,
use the ability to “mark” questions to iterate through the questions
that you are not certain about.
Q: What are the gaps
between real-world projects and PMI expectations?
A: This was one of the
points we emphasized in our PMP Exam Cram 2 book, especially for IT
project management professionals. A complete description of the
common gaps are found in Chapter 1, pages 10-16. In summary, the
three key common gaps are:
2) Understanding of the
3) Scope of project
Q: If you had to choose
one, which is more important, certification or a college degree?
A: College degree is more
important. A good college experience will teach you “how to think”,
and it will teach you the technical and process fundamentals. With
these abilities and this knowledge, you can quickly learn new
technologies and apply your experiences and skills to many different
Q: On a related note,
which is more important, certification or experience?
A: As a generalization, I
would take “experience” over “certification”. However, as a hiring
agent, I want both. As a hiring agent, I really want a track record
Q: You have such a rich
background in IT. Based upon your years of experience, education and
training, describe what you consider to be important technologies,
their pros and cons, trends and any recommendations?
A: The most important
technologies and trends:
- The growing importance
of project and portfolio management within organizations.
- The ever-increasing
integration of technology management with business management.
- The merging of biology
- The movement of IT
services to India and China.
- The increasing need for
“business technologists” within organizations.
- The continuing
importance of systems and applications integration within and
- The increasing movement
to outsource all non-core business activities. More and more people
will become contract, independent professionals.
- The growing importance
of “adaptability” and “learning new things quickly”.
- The growing merger of
work and family life and finding ways to properly balance the two.
- The growing
understanding that “data” is the key.
- The continuing
integration and miniaturization of digital technologies.
- The natural conflict
between using technology to prevent terrorist acts and guaranteeing
- The increasing
importance and value on process and quality maturity within
- Wireless technology.
- Voice recognition
- The increasing use of
biometrics to ensuring secure digital transactions.
- Fuel cells.
Q: What about
vendors—where is the market going and who are the winners and
A: Well, I’d say we are
at the tail end of the consolidation period for IT vendors. There
may be some additional consolidation, but I think you see the
Q: What are your top
recommended resources for both businesses and IT professionals?
A: My favorites are audio
monthly summaries of the best business and technology news that I
can listen to while I commute. Currently, I subscribe to Business
Briefings from Audio-Tech.
Q: Can you make a
prediction about the next “killer app”?
A: There are many
exciting R&D applications already underway in the nanotechnology,
military and life sciences industries. I’m excited about the future.
Q: What kind of computer
setup do you have?
A: HP Pavilion 540n
Pentium III running Windows XP at home that I share with my wife and
5 kids. The cable modem connection to the Internet is a god-send.
Also, the CD and DVD drives take a beating. At work, I have a DELL
Latitude Pentium III laptop running Windows 2000.
Q: If you had to do it
all over again...?
A: I’d be in the medical
profession. It’s the same fundamental skill set I use now, and I’d
earn more money.
Q: Any comments from your
A: Greg and I make a
great team. The extra money from the book helps to cover the
expenses associated with the special needs of our children, and he
gets to advise my project management skills every day, as I manage
the lives of our family and 5 children.
Q: What drives you to do
what you do?
A: Currently, my 1993
Honda Accord with 215,000 miles, and my Chevy Express 15 seat
passenger van for the family (5 kids), but I don’t think is what you
Q: Greg, thank you again
for your time, and consideration in doing this interview.
A: No problem. Thank you
for your interest and for the opportunity to share more about our