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Dennis Young: Hard Truths About Project Management from a 40-year+ Industry Vet

Host Jeff Plumblee interviews Dennis Young, founder of YCA, a project consulting firm. From his experiences as a US Marine, mining, construction, IT, and more, Dennis explains what shaped his view of project management. He shares how he only works in planning and control, why he schedules from the front instead of working back from a deadline, and what the most important (and timeless) skillsets are to be successful in high-pressure environments of project management.


Listen to the podcast episode: Apple | Spotify

 

Leadership and project general knowledge are the two most critical skills a project manager needs. Dennis explains how to push the worry curve to the left, and shares experiences of working on major NYC buildings and forestalling a tenancy disaster at One World Trade. Listen in to learn the essentials of large-scale project planning.


Key Takeaways:

  • Dennis tells of his career from electrical engineering, the U.S. Marines, the mining and steel industry, and going into business for himself in project management. He lists some of his clients and client industries.

  • Dennis reads the definition of project management and explains what project management success and project excellence mean. He states the importance of time in project work.

  • Dennis explains his process. It starts with acquiring a team. He tells why he front-schedules projects instead of back-scheduling from a deadline and he defines the lowest-cost way to deliver a quality-to-spec to a task. What is the worry curve and how do you push it to the left?

  • Dennis tells what he looks for in a project manager. A leader needs good communication skills and strong content knowledge. Dennis shares his experiences, including working on One World Trade and other NYC buildings.

  • How does Dennis get work? Word-of-mouth! The specific project planning software is not as important as building the model, planning, and executing the project. Dennis tells how he uses Post-It® Notes and why he doesn’t have PMP Certification. Dennis gives his final advice to project managers.


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