Naomi Caietti is a professional project manager (PMP®) with over 25 years of experience in the project management industry. She is recognized as one of the most influential women in PM. She specializes in project, program and portfolio management, PMO, enterprise data center IT management and management consulting. She is the founder and CEO of a Naomi Caietti.com, an online boutique consultancy.

She has authored 5 books so far, some of which are Finding Your Voice: The Assertive & Empowered Woman and Transform Your Project Leadership. Aside from her work as an author, she is also a regularly published expert writer on several established PM platforms and blogs. She is a global speaker on topics like project management, leadership and business strategy, women in technology, personal growth and development.

 

PMTips: Considering you have many years of experience in the field of project management, what is your view of the profession? What do you think are the greatest benefits of being a project manager?

Naomi Caietti: As a seasoned professional I can share this sage advice:

“Project Management is not for the faint of heart; otherwise everyone would be doing it. It’s both an art and science to manage the reality of projects; people, processes, and politics.”

The greatest benefit of choosing project management as a career is “lifelong learning”. As a project manager, you must widen your depth and breadth of experience through continuous growth and development. Today’s organization demand that you know more about project, program and portfolio tools, tips, techniques, and methodologies. Project Managers wanting to advance in their career must focus on continuous growth and development and find a sponsor, mentor or coach to help them on their journey to becoming a great project leader. 

 

PMTips: Almost three years ago, you founded a startup boutique consultancy that offers virtual services to niche clients. What was the inspiration and intention behind the creation of the startup?

Naomi Caietti: Inspiration came from my clients, project managers struggling with leadership competencies and behaviors, and a gap in virtual services to meet just in time demands of organizations with leaders who are challenged to lead a small, medium or large project effort for their organization.

Today, I’m Managing Director and Editor of NaomiCaietti.com and provide virtual/on-demand services as a speaker, author, and consultant; committed to assisting organizations to realize business value through the delivery of excellence in enterprise-wide projects, leadership, management and strategic consulting. 

 

PMTips: You are a global speaker on topics such as leadership and business strategy, project management, women in technology, personal growth and development. How did you decide to actively share your experience and knowledge with others, and also inspire women and help them improve their leadership skills?

Naomi Caietti: As an alumnus of Sacramento State University, entrepreneur, and notable voice in the field of project management, I learned early on that getting ahead in business is not a singular pursuit. I focused on four things to propel my leadership forward as a project manager: involvement and leadership with my local chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI), networking with a global group of project managers in communities of practice, managing more complex enterprise and state-wide projects, programs, and stakeholders, and a personal development plan that included continued leadership training.

As a global thought leader, I recognized that I’m not only a digital entrepreneur but a role model as a woman in technology, project leader, and mom. Over the last 10 years, I’ve focused on shining a light on leadership, women, and strategic project management in my blogs, webinars, and interviews. 

As I listened to the challenges faced by many new, aspiring, seasoned and global PMs I realized that I had a platform to influence a larger community and shifted to focus my goal to “break through the noise to inspire project leaders around the globe to step up and lead.”

 

PMTips: Organizations can benefit greatly by utilizing Project Management Office (PMO), but it is a rather complex process. As a professional that specializes in PMO, can you tell us what the benefits of setting up a PMO are and how organizations can exploit the values from it?

Naomi Caietti: Project Management Offices have had an evolution over the years but are making their way back to add value in organizations. A few years ago, I partnered with Workfront to deliver a webinar called the “Five Secrets Killers of Your IT PMO” to share my secrets for success.

Today, PMOs are unique just like projects but can thrive by implementing these four steps:

  • Evolve to meet culture/business, Improve Processes, Build Relationship with the Business, Increase Value of PMO

 

PMTips: You are the author of Transform Your Project Leadership, a book written with the intention to give confidence to project managers in leading successful projects. How does one step into a leadership role and become able to successfully manage their projects, programs, and portfolios?

Naomi Caietti: Leadership has been my passion since I completed a leadership training program with the Project Management Institute over ten years ago. As a component leader, I committed to pay it forward by giving back to the community. Over the last 10 years, the continued rise in project failure has shed light on the fact that anyone charged to lead a project needs to focus on two things: enhanced leadership competencies and behaviors. 

As a thought leader in project management; I wanted to write a book that could be used as a guide with the following goals in mind: 1) To fill a gap 2) Leadership focused but with a multifaceted view from leading industry experts and 3) Highlight the top ten competencies needed for leaders of projects in today's global economy.

 

PMTips: In your book Finding Your Voice: The Assertive and Empowered Woman you advise women on how to gain confidence and live the life they deserve. How can women gain self-esteem and feel empowered in both their personal and professional lives?

Naomi Caietti: Several years ago I was interviewed by Elise Stevens offering professional advice for confident careers.

Below is an excerpt:

  • Define your success and don’t let anyone else define it for you.

In doing that, you’re going to be focusing on what problem are you going to solve and what value are you going to offer. Whatever you do, whether you are working in an organization or you’re launching your own company – your clients, your customers need to know what value you have to offer.

 

PMTips: As a representative of women in project management, what would your advice be to all women in leadership or to any woman who aspires to build a career in project management?

Naomi Caietti: In our global economy, organizations are looking for project management experts, leaders of high performing teams and great communicators that can manage people, processes, and politics; women have the soft skills to be top candidates for many of these great job opportunities.

Women don’t need permission to lead; they need to step up, have a voice, sit at the table and find good sponsors to help guide them in their career path. There is no shortage of statistics and reports that indicate that inclusion of women on boards and in leadership roles improves an organizations’ bottom line. 

Emotional intelligence, communication, relationship-building, and soft skills are natural qualities women excel in.

Over the last four years, I’ve published an article for ProjectManager.com to support Women’s History Month, shine a bright light on women in business, project management, and startups and most recently supported an initiative started by Elise Stevens to celebrate #WomeninProjectManagement.

 

PMTips: What advice would you give to all the young people and professionals that wish to advance in their career and become successful project managers?

Naomi Caietti: Anyone considering stepping into a leadership role to lead a project should focus on three things:

  1. Reflect – Take stock of your accomplishments and failures; there is so much to learn by taking this first step today.
  2. Plan Slow to Move Fast – You should carefully build a strategy for your career and plan for how you are going to reach your goals. Your career is an investment; treat it that way. 
  3. Act Now – Get out of your comfort zone and act; focus on how to achieve a growth mindset to move past your obstacles and turn them into opportunities.