Chapter Spotlight: 4 Questions with Twin Cities' Larry ChristofaroLarry Christofaro, with the MPUG Twin Cities chapter in Minneapolis and St. Paul, is a senior consultant and trainer for Digineer. He has 15 years of project management experience, combining his strengths in EPM architecture and project management to successfully manage deployments for clients ranging from 50 to 2,000 users. He holds the MCITP and MCTS credentials from Microsoft.

What tends to be the hardest project management challenge to eradicate?

The same one that’s the hardest to control: scope. Understanding clarity of scope during the planning process and applying proper change control during the project lifecycle is what differentiates top level project managers from the rest and results in keeping projects on track and within budget. While staying focused on the scope is the responsibility of the entire team, its the PM who’s accountable. The team needs to understand that “gold plating” is just that, and that doing good enough in many cases is exactly what the customer wants — and needs.

What’s the biggest work challenge you face this year?

The current problems with the economy have played out much better for IT consulting than the services crunch of 2000 and 2001. Recently, companies have been lowering their workforces and are now relying on consultants to help their organizations become stronger with fewer people. Time will tell if this scenario continues, and the services industry is certainly at risk if that changes.

What do you like best about attending MPUG chapter meetings?

I love any opportunity to teach and mentor others. I guess that’s why I went into consulting so long ago. Everyone has something they’re passionate about. For me, that’s Microsoft Project and Project Server. MPUG meetings give me an opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences with those in the community.

What are your major goals for your MPUG chapter this year?

Our biggest goal is to continue providing quality sessions that attract our members and encourage them to tell others about. This year is also going to make its mark with continuous improvement and a renewed focus on our members, following through on many of the changes incorporated last year with the move from MPA to MPUG.

Thanks go to Nance Peterson and her team at Microsoft for supporting the Twin Cities chapter of MPUG!