Jeff Manhardt joins us for episode 11 of Season 3 of Dark Rhino Security’s Security Confidential. Jeff is the chief project officer at Kaleida Health, president of the PMI Buffalo Chapter and an adjunct professor at Daemen College. Jeff believes in the art of the possible and the power of the why.
Jeff shares his insights on project management, cybersecurity, future direction of PMI with us.
00:46 The Power of the Why and the Art of the Possible
03:50 How has the Pandemic affected project management
05:40 Regulatory mandates and issues as result of Covid 19
34:36 PMI Buffalo April Training Sessions on Remote Workforce and sprinting
– Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of Dark Rhino Security, Security Confidential. Today we are honored to have Jeff Manhart join us, Jeff is the chief project officer at Kaleida Health, president of the PMI Buffalo Chapter and an adjunct professor at Damon College. Jeff believes in the art of the possible and the power of the why. Welcome to the show, Jeff, thanks for joining us.
– Oh, it’s awesome to be here and glad that you were checking out my LinkedIn profile.
– Well, you know, there’s some interesting things on there, especially when you put the power of the why and the art of the possible, those are, you know, catch attention, they catch a lot of attention. In fact, maybe start with that, what is, give a little a bit on your philosophy here.
– Sure, no, I appreciate that. I’ll tell you, I read a lot and Simon Sinek talks a lot about the power of why, I read that a few years ago and it really kind of built that into everything that I do whether it’s a part of PMI or it’s part of teaching at Damon, or it’s part of my work at Kaleida. You bring people with you when they believe in the why, so that’s how I believe in the power there. And then, you know, the art of the possible is a great example of discovering what you may not already know. And I think sometimes we get into the things that we know we stay on that path and we forget to look outside that path and discover new possibilities.
– You know, those are two tremendous statements, on the power of the why, we on the cybersecurity side at least I can tell you, we always try and preach to our clients that their biggest cybersecurity asset is their people, bigger than any technology, bigger than anything they have in place, and if they take the time to bring them into the fold and explain to them the why behind policies, the why they want certain behaviors, then what you find normally is people are very reasonable, and if they understand the why, they’re gonna adopt it much more likely than if it’s just a mandate, do this or else, you know, that rarely works.
– Well, and thinking about yourself, right, if someone tells you, you gotta have a 19 character password and you just hope why bother, I don’t see the value, but if you walk through what cyber criminals can do, when you have a four or five character password that starts with your home address and how they can access your entire digital footprint, then they start to think a little bit differently about why security is important.
– Yes, very much so, great example. And you know, stepping out of one’s paradigm, you see this a lot if you believe you know everything then you’ve given up all possibilities. Right?
– Yeah, that’s a great point. And I learn every day, I learned for the folks that worked for me, learn from the folks that I worked for and I learned from my family. So I try to have a mantra of learn something new every day.
– Well, I hope you’re successful with that, and if you do, then you’re a very wise man, much wiser than I, tell you that. So tell me, this whole past year, you’re in healthcare, it’s been insane. I mean, we’ve heard the horror stories, we’ve seen the tragedies unfold as a result of the pandemic, but when you look at a major health system and running projects for it, how has that impacted you folks on the back end of things?
– Well, you know, it was a year ago this time on a Friday when my boss said, you know, I think we’re gonna need to send people home and we’re gonna need to figure out how to get them the opportunity to work from home, in the space where I’m at, most of the folks were working from the office, we didn’t have really a work from home policy so we had changed policy and technology within 48 hours, and that included thousands of people being moved to that remote space, a tremendous amount of time and effort to make that happen but that was just the start, we had a look at tele-health which was the technology that was in place, but not used for a variety of reasons, whether it was reimbursement or it was, the adoption wasn’t there. And that went from, an also ran product to a Life Flow the organization, and that was, again, the start of the challenges that occurred over the next few months up through even today, we’ve had to be agile, big A and small A, we talked about that. We also had to be nimble about what needed to occur at a moment’s notice. And that’s still happens today, you look at testing and vaccines that are coming out and the hospital systems are at the forefront of those as well.
– Well, I got to imagine like when you’re implementing a remote workforce and a work from home Telehealth, I mean when we think of healthcare on cybersecurity, we’re thinking a lot about compliance issues, we think about high trust, SOC two, type two, we think a HIPAA and did you guys get a reprieve on some of these regulatory mandates from the federal government as this pandemic escalated?
– Yeah, I mean, the short answer is no, those things, those are paramount, whether the government requires it or our patients require it, it’s important and imperative to have a system that is trusted by the patients and the physicians alike. So we had to go in with that as a starting point, do we have the security in place at a core level and can we build upon that? And that’s how we address it. Again, we address it quickly within hours in some cases and it took calls to a lot of our vendors to work through some things, but you can’t short change that.
– So from a regulatory and compliance perspective, were there things that emerged that might not have emerged as a result of the environment that everyone was thrown into?
– I would say there’s things that hastened because of the environment with COVID, there was conversation over time around Telehealth and some of the components with it, with it there was even some conversations around work from home and there were always some roadblocks that had to be thought through, and a lot of times we would let those string out and we didn’t have a sense of urgency prior to the pandemic that allowing folks to work from home or work, putting the environment in place to allow folks to work from home from a compliance and legal perspective. And again, they had to change, it forced our hand and hastened things that have been in the works for awhile.
– You know, Telehealth at least personally I can say, it’s been great, I mean it’s such an efficient means. It’s surprising to me that people were resistant to it actually, because it’s safe, you don’t have to go into the hospital or your doctor’s office, you don’t have to wait in a waiting room, you can do it all in seconds actually, the process at least what I was involved with here in Cleveland Clinic was seamless, it was great. So it’s surprising when it appears that people were not ready to adopt it as much prior to the pandemic.
– Sure, I’ll take a book out of change management and recognize that people don’t like to change, all right and I think that is.
– That’s inherent in everything and inherent here as well, right, if the thing works, if going to the doctor works, if going into an office works, then how can the doctor do the same things they should do? How could they do those same things over the phone? How can they check my hearing or how can they assess the scope? Those are the things that you know, we had to get through and had to have conversations around but to your point, when people had that experience and it was seamless and it did work, it changed a lot of hearts and minds.
– There’s two things that come up in what you said, one is people don’t like to inherently change, is there any advice you can offer, either as a professor or as an expert project management professional, as when you’re implementing a program that is gonna involve some kind of cultural change, how do you make that shift happen amongst the general population in
– You know, the buy-in, the power of why is really important, I think that’s a great starting point. I leveraged some change management, things that I had learned in the past around awareness first, you gotta have an awareness of what the change is. Then you have to build desire for the change and that’s where the why comes in. Why do I want this change? What is it gonna do to help me? I have to have some knowledge around what the change actually is, then I have to have the ability to be part of that change, whether it’s being part of training or being communicated to, and then there’s reinforcement, right, you can’t just say, this thing is gonna change on Saturday and then never talk about it again. On Sunday and Monday and Tuesday, you have to have that same conversation around why that change is valuable, and with that reinforcement, it completes the loop. And those are the things that I look at when we try to change
– That’s a tough order to follow actually. I mean, I think about it, at an enterprise level where thousands of people may be involved, I would imagine it, I know in fact it encounters probably a lot of resistance as when you get to the execution.
– Oh, sure, and there’s, luckily there’s a framework around change management that we can leverage that works well for enterprise wired organizations. But no matter what framework you put in place, you have to start with the power of why, and if people don’t buy in, it becomes very difficult for that change to occur.
– So the other thing that goes along with that is, how do you measure, have the metrics changed with the new work environment and the conditions by which you measure a project or measure success or measure key milestones? Have you seen any changes there?
– What I would say is that some of the change was already afoot, if you work in agile teams, you’re already used to metrics occurring in a very rapid period of time where you stand up, you talk about yesterday’s work, you talk about today’s roadblocks, you talk about things you succeeded at, those are those are things that the agile teams have learned as a way of working that were helpful in the pandemic efforts. I think that from a metric perspective, we changed a bit of` the grandioseness of some of our dreams, right. It became, how do we get from here to there? Not how do we get 20 miles away and I think that helped that crystallize and focus people in a way that may have been different pre pandemic.
– So what direction do you see the project management techniques or methodologies evolving in the brave new world? Because I would imagine some of these changes are not gonna be permanent with us, even after vaccination, maybe people wanna work at home now and they’ve discovered they can, and doctors may be wanna do their office visits at least half of them away, or, you know what, there’s a case you maybe have, where do you see the future going here with project management techniques where you may not all be co located anymore?
– Yeah, I’ve heard things around permanency. You know, this is gonna be a permanent part of life going forward recently, what I would say is that things are cyclical. And I’ve seen that over my career where we’ve go in these ebbs and flows and this is an example of people recognizing the value of being able to have some focused time and some of that alone time, not everyone, ’cause some people have homes filled of people that and distractions, but in a lot of cases, folks have the ability to focus differently when they’re working remotely than they may in an office situation with lots of folks around and then there’s gonna be some recognition, there’s value there. And the other side of that, I go back to the stories around Yahoo and the experiences that occurred with sending everyone home and bringing everyone back. And what I took away from reading through those, experiments is that collisions matter and what I mean by that is it’s hard for you and I to have a collision when we’re remote and zooming into each other and I have to call you or text you and say, hey, can you talk for a second versus we’re walking down the hall, we chat for a couple of minutes, and I say, you know what? There’s that thing that we wanted to talk about that, and we finished that conversation up in five minutes and that kind of collision is still valuable and I think will continue to be valuable in the future.
– I would agree. We’ve seen on our side, the way sales happens now, has dramatically changed in the last year, right? Gone are the personal handshakes and the.
– Evenings and the lunches and the ability to build a relationship. A lot of things have got to happen remotely now, a lot of people are not in the work, are not in a place where they even wanna meet. So we’ve seen a dramatic change from a traditional sales model in our industry in that regard, and I think what we have found is that there has been a certain efficiency that we have gained but as you described it, those collisions are important and we have not yet solved the puzzle of how to bring those collisions back because I think they’re intricate to building relationships.
– Yeah, I would agree with that. It builds a trust factor, I think that’s one of the things that I find when you have an opportunity to see folks in person and have that dialogue in person and have maybe some of that small talk, it builds a level of trust, a level of understanding that’s hard to do in other formats. They’ll you know, we’ve all tried and I think to your point, some of the things that have occurred over the last year have actually made us more efficient because we’re not doing those 20 minutes of conversation around a two minutes topic, we do the two minute topic and we move on to the next two minute topic. So there is some efficiencies that we’ve gained, but then there’s always a balance with those stuff.
– Let me ask you a selfish question here in regards to cybersecurity, ’cause you are.
– A cyber security podcast.
– So how do you think cybersecurity should be incorporated into project execution?
– You know, I think it starts at the beginning. One of the things that we built into the methodology we’ve implemented at Kaleida Health is the recognition that at the beginning of a project, at the initiation, it’s important to have, whether it’s a person or questionnaire, the component around security, what are the things that we’re trying to do with this technology or with this project? Are we looking to connect outside the firewall? Are we looking to take a video stream and transport it to doctors worldwide? How are we doing that? Is it secure? Is it encrypted and all those things, those are the questions we’ve got to ask at the beginning because it will impact us at the end. And so upfront is my model.
– So, having said that, do you think there’s a recognition that maybe cyber security is more of a business problem than an IT problem, is that recognition by ?
– Sure. Look at the headlines that come out of issues of hacking or ransomware, they don’t talk about how the Cisco router failed or how a encryption logarithm didn’t work. Right, they talk about the business impact of that thing occurring. And, so I think there’s absolutely a recognition that cyber security is a business problem and a business thing to solve.
– Yeah, and I asked this because, and I’ll just say it on my personal past experience, with some larger health systems, not smaller providers where there’s a choice to make, there’s a finite budget and if you’re looking at equipment and things that are needed by the facility, they typically have always had a very high priority and understandably so when it comes, and cyber’s kind of taken, IT and maybe I should generalize it and say sometimes IT has even taken a back seat if you will to mainstay hospital initiatives, is that is my perception incorrect now, and hopefully it’s changing?
– I would say my experience is, no matter which industry that you’re in, unless you’re specifically in a development industry, you may be in banking or in construction or in healthcare. It is easy to think of IT as the plumbing of the organization. And who thinks about the sewers when you’re trying to build a house, right? So, it’s easy to have that kind of mentality. What I have seen with some maturity over time is business folks, learning some technology and technology folks learning the business and when those two areas can combine, they can have a conversation around the balance that’s needed, and I think it just to be frank, the things around hacking and cyber security issues that have occurred, and the ransomware things have occurred are pervasively communicated in the media and no one wants to be in the front page of the news with the next ransomware attack. So those things I think have been kind of burrowed into the psyche of some business folks.
– You know, it would be great if you could put together a class on how to get business people and technology people to conjoin, if you will. I think that that would be worth the price of admission for sure. You and I can work on that, we’ll make a fortune.
– Yeah. And that brings us to actually to PMI, I mean, you are the president of PMI Buffalo. How do you, where do you see PMI as an organization going in the future? I mean, there’s a lot of competition to it, so how do you see it, where do you see it going, especially in terms of providing value?
– Yeah, I’ll tell you something I’ve been involved with PMI since 2005 and been on the board of BMI Buffalo since 2007. I spent some time with the global organization along with other chapter leaders from around the world and what I think is truly unique about PMI that other competition organizations don’t really have, it’s the community. They built a community of chapters and chapter leaders and memberships from the ground up over decades of time and that local control that local capability to understand the market they’re in and be able to manage to that market, I think is a huge asset. Then tag onto that, the average of six volunteers per chapter with 300 chapters around the world, the strength and power of those volunteers is second to none. But when you look at the optics as well and look at reality, and there are organizations like safe and CSM and Scrum Alliance and others.
– That take a look and say, we wanna be part of this as well. And so what PMI has done within the last three or four years is they have moved from a position of strength to what the future could look like and purchased or acquired organizations like Bright Line and Discipline Agile that allow the organization to step into those spaces and step past those spaces, so the next way of working that I think is tremendously valuable. You know is there more work to do? Yeah, I think there is, and I think PMI recognizes that. So one of the reasons why they created Project Kickoff, Project Snippets and a couple other items that allow them to connect to the folks that are not running projects every hour of every day, but maybe need just the basics of what project management can help with and they’ve also gone to the other side with program management and portfolio management for those huge construction projects that lasts decades and then needs, you know, the full breadth and depth of what project management can bring to the table. So I think that’s a great strength, and I hope that they continue to be innovative into the future.
– So do you have any advice for other chapter presidents or boards that maybe smaller organizations that might be struggling right now to provide value to their members? May be a bad choice of words, but because I look at, I remember here locally in Pittsburgh, we used to have a lot of PMI meetings, and.
– There were a lot of training classes and things that happened. Unfortunately, a lot of that has slowed down, through no fault of the chapters or the chapter members. So what are the, any advice to the chapter organizations on how to uplift their membership, if you will?
– I think every chapter organization for PMI and other associations around the world, not just project management associations but others as well lost membership within the last year, whether folks lost their job and couldn’t pay for the certification or the membership or whether organizations themselves stopped paying for that membership, or, you know life just got in the way, those things have occurred and those are pre-public things that the chapter associations have to work through. When I look at what’s, we thought about and planned for summer of last year, as we talked through how the pandemic is changing what we’re doing, we focused on a couple things, the first is that what we know from our surveys and from our member discussions is that the number one reason people attend our events is the PDs. Well, 80% of our members are PMP certified or ACP certified, so they have some certification that requires the professional development units to continue their development. And so that work we do, now whether it’s a virtual dinner event or it’s a virtual PDD event, there’s value from that perspective. The second is networking. We know that that’s the number two reason why people attend our events and the number two value people get out of our events. And so from a virtual perspective, we had to rethink and reimagine what that networking looks like, right?
– We can’t do the face to face conversation anymore, You can’t have that one-to-one conversation over a drink or a glass of water anymore, right? So we had to reimagine what that looked like with the different tools and techniques, a little gamification of the events that we did, using some breakouts and other pieces of technology. And that has kept it fun and exciting for our members that have attended. And in many cases are event attendance actually went up in 2020. One they were free, we didn’t charge because we didn’t have to pay for dinner. Most of our dinner events, the main cost goes to actually paying for the food and the venue, those not being there, we didn’t have those costs and we made those events free. And what I saw was those folks that were geographically separated, even by 10, 15 miles from that normal event location were able to attend a dinner event virtually and did.
– I would not have guessed that, that’s really good to know. That’s surprising and that’s wonderful if, you know, you’re getting much.
– Greater participation. I mean, dinner was nice, I mean, Have you been able to pick up sponsors in the process now, you know, the virtual sponsors?
– I get everything’s gotta be re-imagined and I’ll tell you we’ve been, we were fortunate in that we had some exclusive agreements with some sponsors who maintain that agreement through the pandemic events so we appreciate their work that they’ve done. And we re-imagined some other folks who may have not been interested in the local space. Who knew, ’cause maybe they have a broader national footprint but when we talk virtual and we invite other folks from Rochester or other chapters to join us on these virtual events, all of a sudden the conversation changes.
– Wow, that’s fantastic. So let me ask you a little bit of a controversial question here, possibly and that is, you know, PMI last year changed the way in which a PMP certifications could happen and change the criteria. I imagine that had an impact on the chapters. Is there, what are your thoughts about it, or how do you foresee overcoming maybe some potential revenue losses that may have resulted from that?
– Yeah, I don’t know that it’s controversially, PMI has been upfront with what they’ve told us as chapters and it showed the folks that were providing education. What PMI recognizes, part of their brand, part of their strongest brand is the project management professional certification. And the survey results and the analysis they did found that there was an unevenness around the world of the training that was being done in preparation for that certification. And like any organization interested in addressing their brand, protecting it and advancing it, they focused on how best do that. And, did that have impact on chapters like PMI, Buffalo? It did, at least in the short term, the revenue stream is different than it was last year. And the costs are different than they were last year. I think it’s gonna take us a bit of time to work through some of that. But I do know that PMI is aware of those challenges and they continue to listen to the chapters.
– Well, that is probably the most powerful statement. If they are listening to folks like you then ultimately we would hope whatever direction goes, it won’t be in alliance with you folks.
– And speaking of alliances, I guess now I’m gonna put myself on the spot and I’m gonna let all our listeners know, you know Dark Rhino Security, yeah, our core business is cybersecurity but we also have a large hosting business and we’re very fortunate to have folks like PMI, Buffalo and many of the chapters worldwide be our clients, customers from the hosting association side of our business. And I’d like to ask you, Jeff, what are your expectations of us as a hosting provider? What do you need from us?
– Well, yeah, I would start off with security. We wanna make sure that the web hosting platform we have is a secure platform. We provide our chapter members with a member authenticated documentation and content that allows them to have a premium view of content that folks who are not members don’t have access to and the ability to keep that secure keep the rest of the website secure is paramount. I think the other thing that I have recognized and appreciated Dark Rhino does is provide a web hosting environment that is easy to use from a new administrator perspective. We are all volunteers, we’ve talked about that before, chapter volunteers make up the worldwide organization. And those chapter volunteers typically come in and out of an organization every couple of years, that’s the nature of volunteering. And the challenge often is with technology, hey, new person coming in, you’re responsible for updating the website. You’ve got two minutes of training from your previous predecessor who was in that space. I go, and I think Dark Rhino does a good job of two things, one, making the interface intuitive to use and work with. And two, providing training options for folks that are coming into that space that some of our other hosting providers really didn’t have before. So those are things that have been great. Can we do more in that space? Sure, I’d love to see integrations into other technologies, Slack, and Trello and some other things that can provide value, Instagram and Facebook, social media components. Those are great integration components that I think will take us to the next level. Would it be great to have a mobile app that’s directly connected? I think that’s something we can talk about, a native app in that space.
– I’ll say that so far to date Dark Rhino has been a fabulous partner.
– That’s very kind of you to say. And had you critiqued us, I think that would have been fair too. So I’ll leave that open, is there anything that you would like to critique us about that you.
– You know, I, I always look at things as where can we go from here and I’ll take the next steps of integration with some of those other technologies I mentioned and the ability to have a mobile app I think is gonna be valuable, especially when we get back to in-person events, I’d love to be able to use QR codes and other things to be able to tag folks in, there’s some of that built into our current structure. I think there’s more that can be done in that space, I’d love to see that.
– Well, we will, well, I can tell you that everyone that is responsible for this is gonna listen to this. So, okay. I can guarantee you one thing that the word will get to all the people that matter.
– And personally make sure that they are listening.
– I appreciate that.
– So. You know, as we come to the end of this, I thought I’d ask are there any events books that you are gonna be publishing, any virtual appearances or public appearances you’re gonna be doing, anything you’d like to plug and let everybody know about?
– Well, I appreciate the platform, has been awesome. Great having a conversation with you today, it’s been really fun. I would say that our premier events are our professional development day events, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the one coming up in April. We’re doing two half day training sessions that are on the 21st and 22nd. It gives the, our members and folks who are interested in attending the ability to build effective multi-generational remote workforce, so what better time than to have this kind of presentation. And we’re gonna also have the second presentation on sprinting in the new agile world, kind of little play on the words but it’s gonna be an exciting two half day events.
– Well, I’ll tell you this, our show here. This episode will be a live on March 22nd, so hopefully you’ll get some attendees who might listen through here.
– That’s awesome, all are welcome.
– That’s fantastic. Jeff, anything else you would like to add? Any parting thoughts?
– No, I would just say this has been a great honor for me, appreciate the conversation today and I’m glad you’re doing this, I think it’s really helpful for folks to be able to hear from people like them out in the world. And I think it’s a great service.
– Well, we appreciate that, and that’s our aim. We wanna educate people on what their fellow colleagues may be doing with real world experiences and maybe some practical knowledge that they can put to use in their own daily routines.
– And with that everyone, we thank Jeff for joining us. Jeff, it’s been an honor. And.