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Andre Butters

Thought Leadership Interview:

Andre Butters, PMP, Principal Consultant of Butters Consulting LLC

By Emad Rahim, Endowed Chair of PM Center of Excellence

Andre Butters, PMP., is the Principal Consultant at Butters Consulting focusing on enterprise collaboration and solution delivery for his clients. He has helped set up and mature Project Management Offices for a variety of companies including Marriott International and the American Nurses Association. He holds an undergraduate degree from University of Maryland in Economics. Andre’s interests include software development, financing affordable housing and education for the undeserved. While he is not at work, he loves to travel and seek new sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences.

How did you get started in Project Management?

In 2007 I opened a company and started a website similar to AirB&B for the inauguration. That sparked my interest in software development and managing projects. After the recession of 2007/2008, I was reviewing my skillset with a friend and looking for a new direction. I did not have any formal knowledge of Project Management and he introduced me to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification that ultimately lead me into the PMO. I started to apply for positions in this field and worked on improving my skill set in Project Management and earned my PMP.

What is your specialization as a Project Manager?

I specialize in overseeing the setup of the Project Management Office and execution of operational plans. As a consultant in the Washington DC area, I help companies both create and mature their Project Management Office. I am an Agile Project and Program Manager with 12+ years of experience in diverse industries including Technology, Investments, Finance, Healthcare, and Biopharmaceuticals.

What are your academic background, training and certifications as they relate to the industry?

I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a B.A. in Economics. I hold both a PMP and SAFe 4.0 certifications. I am in the process of obtaining ITIL, ACEDS, and Scrum certificates in 2020.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for new Project Managers and how can they prepare for these obstacles?

I think the biggest challenge for new Project Managers is in obtaining experience. It is difficult to obtain that first opportunity until you have shown previous related project work success. It can be challenging to break into the industry unless someone is willing to take a risk on you and help you get out of the gate and place a few wins under your belt. I have had hundreds of doors shut on my face, but I only needed one to build my own path forward. I would suggest being open to tons of rejection before an opportunity is earned. I worked several jobs that I was overqualified for as I built my resume up over the years. Many of the jobs were not glamorous but gave me the building blocks needed to secure future better jobs opportunities. Also, work on building your network. I believe nothing beats building a strong network of folks that help each other reach their goals. I take at least 30 minutes every day and dedicate it to building my network and engaging with others. This has proven to be mutually beneficial to help reach my goals and to help others reach their desired goals. When I have helped and supported other people with servant leadership, favors have been returned in ways that have been unexpected.

Have you had to develop stakeholder governance and contribut to strategic planning for a new PMO? Can you please describe your experience and related project?

I have contributed to several stakeholder governance plans including playbook documentation and implementations. Assessment and analysis of current business functions and roles is the first step in my approach to developing new plans, policies, and procedures. Adoption of my findings into new action plans is where the real work begins. Executing Change Management is also a large part of the work and can often be the most challenging part of the job. It can be highly political in nature and meeting multiple competing needs from ambitious team members requires strong soft skills to manage diverse personalities. Failure rates can be high if stakeholder buy-in is not achieved. Therefore not only are discovery and planning key aspects to achieving success, but consensus building and engagement are also necessary to get new strategic and governance plans off the ground.

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