John Weathington, President & CEO of Excellent Management Systems, Inc.
  • John Weathington
    John Weathington

    Top companies seek out John's expert insights, including: Visa, Paypal, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sun Microsystems, HDS, Silicon Graphics, MCI, and CBS Interactive.

  • Big Data Analytics
    Big Data Analytics

    "We appreciate your ability to quickly model the client’s landscape, and provide insightful data investigation, discovery, and statistical analysis." --Michael F. Mason, Partner, Hogan and Hartson

  • Relationship Strategy
    Relationship Strategy

    "John has been a pleasure to work with on the board and in the Executive Committee. The more I’ve gotten to know John, the more I appreciate his skills." --Brett LaDove, Past President, Institute of Management Consultants

  • Customer Loyalty
    Customer Loyalty

    John helped Visa evolve its cardmember loyalty platform to enhance credit market adoption and attract large financial institutions to its loyalty offerings.

  • Behavioral Science
    Behavioral Science

    "I find it fantastic how I can just throw you into almost anything and you use your knowledge of process and technical organizations to do the job well." --Jennifer Selby Long, Owner, Selby Group

Program and Critical Project Management

  • Address changing requirements and foster stakeholder buy-in with agile methods from Scrum to Extreme Programming.
  • Build or improve high-quality products, services, and processes with quality management methods from Six Sigma to Lean.

Thoughts on Program / Project Management

Philosophy Matters for Critical Projects

For any project, especially critical projects (i.e. projects that have a significant impact on your strategy), your project leader must be aware of how your philosophy aligns with your methodology. Furthermore, your program leader must ensure that the philosophy on each project is proactive, intentional, declared, and fits within the overall fabric of the program. The great philosophers of ancient Greece like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle would critically examine all elements of human nature to understand how we judge, evaluate, and ultimately take action. You must critically examine the basic elements or metaphysics of each critical project, and ensure you’ve installed the correct philosophy, or the actions taken on your project will conflict with the methodology that facilitates its success.

What classic project management scholars would have you believe is that scope, time, and cost are the basic elements of any project. That’s almost correct—I agree with scope and time, but cost is an indirect, fungible variable in most large organizations so in most cases, it’s not appropriate as a basic element. The more direct variable is people (i.e. how many people, what percentage of their time, etc.).

You need to make some basic decisions on how [scope, time, and people] work together on any program or critical project—this will form your philosophy.

You need to make some basic decisions on how these variables work together on any program or critical project—this will form your philosophy. In any three-dimensional system like this, one dimension must be locked, one dimension must be intentionally adjusted, and the final dimension must be allowed to adjust. These are what I call the post, lever, and balance respectively, and collectively project metaphysics. For instance, if I’m a Black Belt on a traditional Six Sigma or waterfall project, I might post scope, use people as a lever, and balance to time. If however, I’m a ScrumMaster on an agile Scrum project, I will certainly (by directive methodology) use people as a lever again; but this time, post time and balance to scope. These are two fundamentally different philosophies.

A common problem I see when I step into any program or critical project, is a disconnect between the (usually unstated) philosophy, and the chosen methodology, even if it’s custom-built! Especially with the rise in popularity of agile project management like Scrum, I see organizations attaching to the techniques without fully understanding the culture that makes it work. Disaster is eminent; it’s just a matter of how long the organization in this case struggles before the project finally fails.

Sometimes, getting results is a matter of fundamentals, but sometimes it’s under the surface like a misaligned philosophy. For smaller, low-profile projects you may be able to sustain the impact of a failed project, but for critical, strategic projects this can crush your vision. Contact us today if you’d like to chat more about your organization’s programs or critical projects.

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Enterprise Data Strategy, Visa Inc.

At Visa, Inc. John mobilized and managed the company's enterprise data strategy, consisting of 150 projects over 45 initiatives and 5 major tracks galvanizing the company's vision and mission in its use of data and information. John worked with several consultants at Deloitte to transition the formulated strategy, then brought the strategy to life through evangelism, intense risk management, executive communication, and development of operational processes and program architecture.

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Linda Dunlap, Sun Microsystems

"John has done several projects for Sun Microsystems. Leveraging his education and experience in project management, database administration and coding for databases, he brings an unusually broad compliment of skills to his assignments which allows him to successfully work cross functionally..."

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Project Management Professional

PMP® (Project Management Professional) is the mark awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, and represents a high standard of quality for the project management practitioner.