Project Practitioners > Ann Drinkwater

Ann Drinkwater

Ann Drinkwater

Ann's twenty years of professional experience has focused on consulting and managing within the disciplines of project management, software development, organizational design, business management and marketing. She has worked with multiple organizations to customize project and software delivery programs, focusing on continuous improvement and the resulting quality of all project interaction and deliverables. For optimal project value and goal attainment, she brings an integrated marketing view to all projects, ensuring all aspects of promotion and positioning are integrated within the project planning and delivery processes.

Educationally Ann holds four degrees and multiple certificates spanning twelve years of formal university training, including a Master of Science in Technology Management and Executive Education Programs completed at the University of Notre Dame and Villanova University. She has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2004, a certified ScrumMaster since 2007 and has been a member of the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Project Management Institute since 2003.

Her contributions to the project management industry include dozens of published articles in leading industry journals and online communities such as: Cutter Consortium, Project Connections, Projects at Work, PM Boulevard, PM Hut and eZine Articles. Her viewpoints are focused on the blending of industry standards and best practices with practical wisdom. From a business and technology standpoint, Ann is an active book reviewer for, a Division of Software Quality Engineering.

A Confident and Prepared Experience
By Ann Drinkwater
A year ago I had a less than desirable personal service performed. What I was told was a very small, routine dental procedure, that according to the computer would take 18 minutes turned into a situation where I lost all confidence and trust in my dental provider. The issues presented and takeaways really apply to all types of projects and businesses. The first dental issue arose when my procedure started and I realized the dentist hadn’t provided adequate time for numbing or adequate medication before starting the procedure. The second issue came while I was in the dental chair with... Read More»

Call It What It Is
By Ann Drinkwater
Anyone in the project management field has heard of gold plating. For those less familiar with the term it basically means adding features outside the original scope and requirements. Working with teams less familiar with all of the downstream impacts and risks, may think this scenario isn’t that dangerous and will help please the customer. I’m a huge proponent of serving the customer, but often times adding what seems like a small, innocent change to a waterfall led project can delay the project and what had hoped to exceed the customer expectations may end up causing more customer service issues... Read More»

Strengthening and Enforcing Our Profession
By Ann Drinkwater
In order to be an effective project manager, we should look at our definition of project management. Definitions surprisingly vary greatly by organization and individual. While there are different forms and degrees of project management, we should be careful about calling something project management that really is not. Referring to non-project management functions as project management further confuses the profession. Call it what it is. If a position is more administrative, add this label. If a position is more holistic with overall responsibility and leadership for the success of the project, I’d be more inclined to call it project management.... Read More»

Developing Confident Leaders
By Ann Drinkwater
In knowledge work, there is no line manager. Knowledge work involves professionals. Professionals are paid to solve problems and get results. Regardless of position, we are obligated to take ownership for our work and our personal development. Working for yourself, working for a startup, having an entrepreneurial drive and determination are helpful to understanding what professionals do, but there are other ways a person can acquire this level of understanding and accountability. There are no excuses in business. So how does a person go from being uncertain and needing significant guidance and oversight to being able to confidently handle all... Read More»

Lessons from the Field
By Ann Drinkwater
Professional sports can be inspiring. As I eagerly await this season, I think back at the qualities exhibited by my team’s leader. Facing many challenges under high scrutiny, this individual didn’t waver. Watching the leader of my team both on and off the field, highlighted the qualities we should all exhibit as leaders of our organizations or teams: 1. Exhibit Strong Character: One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” We must examine each and every thought we have and action... Read More»

Startup Rewards
By Ann Drinkwater
Imagine you no longer have access to your vast array of team members and skills. You walk into work and are now individually responsible for marketing, selling, managing, testing, delivering and supporting your projects. While this may seem like a bit of a nightmare, this is a reality I believe everyone should experience first hand. I’m not talking about surviving a downsizing, but that would also be an opportunity for this type of growth. I am mostly referring to working for a start up organization. In a startup, you wear many hats and are required to be passionate, focused and... Read More»

Determining Cultural Fit
By Ann Drinkwater
The time has come. You have started to pursue new endeavors and want to make the right choice. It can seem daunting and change can be tough. While the devil you know can sometimes be better than the devil you don’t, that’s not always the case. Don’t become paralyzed in a situation that doesn’t offer the promise and culture you desire. Culture is the largest component to long-term satisfaction and success. 1. Company & Team Size: A larger organization often will have more mandates, more elaborate structure, processes and layers. This isn’t always the case, but should be something to... Read More»

Project Chronicles
By Ann Drinkwater
Documenting the good and bad within your project, with your stakeholders and teams is very beneficial. Through the process you will gain a strong historical account of events which can be used as a personal, team and ultimately organizational learning and management tool. The act of documenting creates introspection and perspective. It doesn't matter your position with your company; varying perspectives and insight is critical to enterprise and personal improvement. It also doesn't matter if you have a background in writing. It is the process of identifying and articulating your thoughts and observations that matters. Being a highly analytical and... Read More»

Managing the Manager
By Ann Drinkwater
Your organization has decided to outsource a project to an external firm. In some cases, the organization may allow your team to manage the project, but more often than not, the organization may want full reign and to manage the engagement themselves. What does this mean to the project manager from the client organization? Depending on your company’s project management philosophy (i.e. do they see project management as a scheduling function, or someone that truly manages the project and risk), this type of agreement may be more challenging than you first think. Read More»

The Opportunity & Challenge of Being First
By Ann Drinkwater
The start-up of a formal project management function requires initiative and perseverance. If you or an organization you work for is looking to hire a project management professional, there are several areas that must be considered from both the employee and organizational perspective. The project manager in this type of environment must understand surrounding processes will likely be fairly immature and there will be many areas of groundwork and the establishment of a framework that must be completed before you can begin doing day-to-day or tactical project management. Read More»

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