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TahliaBy Tahlia Cummings, DAI Solutions Project Manager  

There’s a secret to my success as a project manager that is not explicit in my job description. As “technology first” as I am, I enjoy printed books so that I can fold down the pages and highlight key sections. In lieu of celebrity gossip, I chat with my colleagues about earned value management, risk mitigation and performance variances. And I thrive in challenging environments because it means there’s something that requires a solution.

I surround myself with processes, forms and color-coordinated binders. I’m fixated on the most vital aspects of a project: staying within the timeline, scope and budget. As the demand for higher productivity increases, I only have time to focus on results. While all of this is important, everything I do starts — and ends — with people.

According to the Project Management Institute’s 2013 Talent Gap Report, there will be nearly 6.2 million project management jobs by 2020. With so many positions requiring this set of skills, it begs the question: how are we preparing ourselves to become change leaders while managing this type of work?

At DAI Solutions, we distinguish ourselves as change leaders. Sure, we bring the certifications and rigor expected of any firm asked to manage large scale, agency-wide programs. That’s a given. But we also bring change leadership.

We provide laser-focused attention to the individuals, teams and organizations who must buy into our efforts for a program to be successful. We need them on the boat so we can row together. We foster an environment of informed trials and expect errors and course corrections. We call that innovation. We help clients build relationships at all levels of their organizations. It’s those relationships we count on when things start heading off course — and they always do. We call that life.

We don’t offer cookie-cutter, out-of-the-box project management services at DAI Solutions. We rely on the same methodologies and processes every other PMP brings to the table — the difference is in how we tailor solutions to address the unique cultural needs of our clients. I know, it sounds squishy. But it works. My colleagues and I have used this approach to achieve governance approvals, budget approvals in complex funding environments, and vocal support from stakeholders who once were identified as barriers.

So there you have it. The secret to my success. If you’re looking for more accountability, engagement and output in your programs, let me know. I’d love to help!

For more information about change leadership, contact us at