Senior IT project manager Dennis Iversen – 10 questions to the expert
Dennis Iversen has 25 years of experience establishing connections between business and IT solutions. He does this as a project and programme manager in areas such as ERP, change management, and supply control. Strong, cooperation-oriented manager, and certified in Prince2, MSP, IPMA, and NLP.
1. Why did you choose to work as a self-employed IT project manager?
After 25 years as a consultant, advisor, and project manager in the IT industry, I felt that in 2011, I had enough experience and clout to take the leap, and become a professional IT consultant. Furthermore, in my experience, working as a self-employed IT project manager gives me the opportunity to solve diverse tasks in a variety of organisations, as you can often have several clients within one year. It’s both challenging and stimulating.
Fortunately, it turned out that there is a high demand from larger Danish businesses and organisations for professional consultants with extensive experience.
2. What is the most interesting project you have worked on, and why?
There’s not one particular client or project I’d characterize as the most interesting. I wouldn’t compare it that way. To me, it’s interesting that all clients, organisations, and projects are different, and that there is a specific task which requires professional assistance. Even the smallest project is an experience, and allows me to learn.
3. What is the most important professional trend in IT project management?
I don’t think I’m very occupied with trends in project management.
4. What skills do you think set the best IT project managers apart from the masses?
What sets apart the best consultants and IT project managers from the masses, however, interests me greatly. Put simply, the keywords are: Professionalism in all situations, leadership, and leadership communication.
5. What is essential for a successful IT project – and what increases the risk of failure?
If the project manager spends more than 20 % of his time behind a computer screen answering emails and completing other people’s tasks, the project is headed for disaster. That is definitely a hazard to the success of the project.
As a professional project manager, you need to be ready to say NO if the management does not give you the necessary framework for leading a project towards the agreed goals and criteria for success. If they don’t do that, you’ll have to ask them to appoint a new and better project manager to control the project. Staying on-board a ship which maybe only you can see is sinking is not professional. [The interview continue after the video].
6. Which skills do you expect to gain within the next year – and why?
I think that my tool box is filled to the brim. However, not one day goes by where I don’t learn anything. There is always more to know about leadership and organisational implementation of IT solutions in businesses and organisations. And surely, I’ll have a look at the rules in the new Privacy Regulations in 2017.
7. Who or what is your greatest professional source of inspiration?
Allan Leighton, who, among other things, wrote the book “On Leadership”, and Jack Wells, who is the former CEO of General Electric, who wrote the book “Success” on leadership.
8. How do you keep up to date with your field?
I read the Danish business newspaper Børsen every day. Aside from that, I read news from a number of sources relevant to what’s happening in the world.
9. What is your best piece of advice for other IT project managers who are considering becoming self-employed?
In my opinion, you need to start with a quality product which there is a demand for on the market. That means, that if you are not highly skilled and don’t have extensive experience in your field, you are not ready to become a self-employed consultant.
But it’s not enough to be professionally skilled. It’s even more important to possess a highly-developed sense of social intelligence, and to be able to act professionally at all levels in businesses and organisations. Last of all, it is in my opinion essential that you are a strong leader, and an exceptionally strong communicator.
If you choose to find tasks through an agency once you become a self-employed consultant, I would recommend only working with professional agencies. Professional agencies are transparent across the board in terms of pricing, including how the hourly rate which the business pays for the self-employed consultant is distributed between the agency and the consultant.
Transparency in this regard is extremely important. The consultant has to provide a service to the business equivalent to the total price the business pays, and not just on par with what he himself receives.
It also means, that professional agencies have a fair distribution of the total price charged to the business, where the price reflects that you, as the consultant, are providing the valuable service to the business, while they are only responsible for matching and communication.
10. What is your best piece of advice for businesses who are considering hiring a self-employed IT project manager?
Only use professional agencies, if you choose to go that route. Fortunately, I only know professional agencies, but I’ve heard that some do not meet the same standards.
In my experience, the professional agencies only establish the contact to self-employed consultants whom the agency actually knows.
As a business, I would be aware of only working with consultants and IT project managers, who, aside from providing the correct service, aim for becoming dispensable and moving on from day one.
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