Real World Views

Speaker Background

David R. Shostak, PMP, ATP; Senior Program Manager; 40 years of program management experience in Commercial and Aerospace and instructor for CALTECH

David Shostak is a world-class senior program manager with versatile and dynamic leadership team building, interpersonal, and team motivation skills. He has led every aspect of high technology programs, engineering, marketing management, business development, and system engineering programs. He has over 40 years of experience in many technical diversified fields. A developer of program plans, market strategy, analysis, marketing roadmap development, and documentation for product plans. He has presented to senior business executives, government officials, and three-star generals. Mr. Shostak has focused on worldwide product launches, including interaction with European, Mideast, and Asian counterparts.

Mr. Shostak is one of the fathers of GPS for vehicle navigation. He led a team of people, drove handheld consumer products to market, and made Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things List. Mr. Shostak also led the team for the first one-meter dish antenna for Hughes Aircraft, which later became the Dish TV antenna.

He is a highly accomplished professional and has authority in public speaking. Mr. Shostak wrote a book called “Project Management in the Real World…Explaining all the nonsense about Project Management in Plain English.” His book is about real-world Project Management, People Skills, and, Leadership.

David holds a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y., and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He has been a Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2006 and an Accredited Training Partner (ATP) from PMI. He is an instructor for Caltech for Project Management, Advanced Communication, and System Engineering courses.

Real World Atmosphere

What is considered the “Real World?” I believe this term is a personal one that is reflective of each project manager’s worldview.  David rekindled the interest in our unique approaches to project management as a whole while striving for a common goal. In this evening’s session, there were newly certified as well as more seasoned professionals. Just listening to all the newly certified professionals and/or the professionals that may not be certified but are either working directly in the management world or heavily involved with the arenas held to its vastly diverse standards. A sense of pride was felt throughout the room as this world isn’t easily entered nor loosely maintained.

Duties/Soft Skills of the Superior Project Manager in the REAL world

Communication is emphasized beyond your wildest imagination! Do not underestimate the ability or the power there over communication when it comes to your stakeholders. The following diagram displays a very good foundation of physical attributes in communication skills.

Dealing With People

How are you going to get the best from them? There is a strong consideration of honing in on the soft skills and how to best utilize your skill assets as a Captain and/or Leader.  An enormous Toolbox is being human with empathy and honesty. Have a kind heart as a leader alongside a listening ear. Showing honesty and truth no matter the occasion will always endure the distance. David bestowed upon his audience the following soft skill that every superior project manager must possess:

  • Over-communicate
  • Be a great speaker
  • Motivate people
  • Conflict facilitator
  • Team champion
  • Honesty Broker

These attributes will ensure a more successful line of communication with your stakeholders and your peers. You may ask yourself, “How can I motivate peers beyond the cliche of a successful project?” Of course, having a good plan always helps, but also, you will need a buy-in that a plan makes the project success simple.

Do not take conflict at a surface level, as you will need to have a strong backbone and ability to deal with those conflicts in the most efficient and graceful way. David emphasizes that we as professionals must have the fortitude, determination, zeal, and passion for facing adversities when needed. Each stakeholder has a common goal regardless of their level of participation.

Remember Bad News Doesn’t Get Better Over Time!

Delivering bad news is one of the most difficult times for any project manager, and the weight is even greater with a superior-driven project manager journey. Embrace honesty and trust to foster the title Honesty Broker.

“Not easy, but worth it. Something worth it doesn’t come easy.”

David R. Shostak PMP, ATP

We were really lucky to receive such valuable nuggets of wisdom from David. In our current world climate, time is a very hot commodity and should never be taken for granted. We look forward to sharing another evening with everyone. Register today for our next PMI-OC Dinner Meeting.

Contributed by: Kassandra Cobb-Nwadigo FreezePoints – Director of Publications/Web Developer
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