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Q&A with Dale Howard, Director of Education at Sensei

With a Microsoft Project career spanning 20 years, 20 books on the subject and 13 MVP Project awards to his name, Dale Howard sums up his nuggets of wisdom.

Why does Sensei have a Director of Education?
We have a Director of Education because we take training very seriously. In fact, I believe training is one of the keys to success with the Microsoft PPM solution. I believe it is very important for project managers to be properly trained following PMI best practices. It is equally important for Application Administrators to receive proper training on how to administer and manage the Microsoft PPM environment. We offer training in many forms, including instructor-led, virtual, and self-paced E-Learning.

What have been some of your biggest career challenges?
My biggest career challenge is to keep my knowledge up-to-date with the Microsoft PPM tool, knowing the tool is constantly changing and evolving. For example, Microsoft recently introduced the new Resource Engagements feature. This meant I had to update my knowledge by mastering this new functionality in the Microsoft PPM tool.

What price do companies pay by postponing the adoption of modern best practice project management?
What continues to amaze me is how many companies still manage projects on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis. For example, some project managers use Excel and others use a combination of SharePoint and Outlook e-mail messages to manage their projects. This creates a ‘free-for-all’ environment where reporting is cumbersome and inaccurate…where projects slip and go over budget regularly.

How did you land where you are today?
My current career began many years ago when my next door neighbor asked me if our TechEd team taught classes on Microsoft Project. At the time I was working as a software trainer for a large corporation in Kansas City, MO. When I volunteered to begin teaching Microsoft Project classes for my company, this launched a new career, even though I did not realize it at the time. Now, nearly 20 years later, I am a Microsoft Project MVP, the co-author of 20 books on the subject, and have been given the opportunity to stretch and grow my knowledge on an almost daily basis.

How do you spend your time off the clock?
My hobbies are bicycling and amateur astronomy. I love riding the many bike trails around the St. Louis area. Also, I have an 8-inch Celestron reflector telescope which I use to view the heavens. My favorite deep sky object is the Great Nebula in Orion.

About Sensei Project Solutions
Sensei Project Solutions, a Finalist for the 2015 Microsoft Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) Partner of the Year, focuses on bringing Instant Productivity to your team. Our mission is to help individuals and organizations be more productive so that they can achieve their greatest potential. As a Gold certified Microsoft Partner and Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) with the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Sensei offers a complete set of services and products for a successful Microsoft PPM deployment. Our guiding principles for Proactive PPM follow best practices and industry standards aligned with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Gartner, enabling organizations to manage resource demand, obtain business intelligence that facilitates better decision making, increase business effectiveness by easily connecting people, and become self-sufficient with PPM processes and solutions. In short, Sensei helps organizations achieve Instant Productivity.

About Dale Howard, MVP, Director of Education
Dale is a seasoned training professional who is approaching 30 years of technical training experience. He has taught students how to effectively use every version of Microsoft Project beginning with version 4.0 for Windows 95 and every version of the Microsoft EPM tool beginning with Project Central in the year 2000. Dale possesses the coveted Project MVP title and is one of only 63 Project MVPs in the entire world. He is the co-author of 19 books on Microsoft Project and Project Server. Dale is known for high-energy, highly interactive style of presenting and teaching. He was voted the “Best Presenter” by conference participants at the Project Conference in 2012.

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