PMP Certification Prep Course, 10 Weeks, Sept-Dec 2018, Partnered with IU-NW

logoThe Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is the most sought after certification for project managers because it signifies an ability to speak and understand the language of project management. Employers and individuals alike benefit from the PMP certification. Individuals are better prepared to manage projects from start to finish and enhance their earning potential. In addition, employers benefit when their project manager is PMP certified because projects tend to be completed on time and on budget.
Topics covered during the ten-week course include:

 Integration management

 Scope management

 Schedule management

 Cost management

 Quality and procurement management
 Resource management

 Communication and stakeholder management

 Risk management

 Professional development

Click here for registration link.

The PMP certification prerequisites are:
1. Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree) + 7,500 hours leading and directing projects + 35 hours of project management education; OR

2. Four-year degree + 4,500 hours leading and directing projects + 35 hours of project management education
The instructor, Ken Riches, brings over 30 years of relevant expertise to the classroom. This experience includes electrical design, regulatory compliance, product development, continuous quality improvement, and project management, as well as roles in supervising project managers. He is an active member of the Project Management Institute. For the last four years, he has served PMI as the Region 2 Mentor, providing strategic planning facilitation and conflict resolution services to 21 PMI chapters in the North Central United States. He is also a Forum Leader for Renaissance Executive Forums, leading a Project Management Forum, and provides project management consulting and education services through his own company.
The 40 hour course will be held on the IU Northwest campus on Thursday evenings, 5:30 – 9:30 pm, on September 20, 27; October 11, 18, 25; November 1, 8, 15, 29; and December 6.
The cost of $1495.00 includes:
 In class, instructor-led activities and projects through which a PMP expert guides you through learning the material.

 Textbook

 Flash drive with instructor-prepared materials

 Parking

 Registration fees
Register at by September 13, 2018.
The Center for Professional Development in the School of Business and Economics at IU Northwest exists to provide our students and local business professionals with exceptional leadership, professional, and management development opportunities.
We are the regional resource for professional certification courses, offering certification preparation programs for Lean Six Sigma, Microsoft Office Specialist, QuickBooks, Project Management Professional, Certified Public Accountant, Entrepreneurism, and more.
We also provide continuing education resources to local professionals to assist them in maintaining and advancing in their careers.

Adversity Lessons Learned & a request

Lessons Learned graphicBackground: I was admitted to the hospital in Gainesville (Shands Cancer Hospital), FL on 6/15/18 with Stage IV Double Hit Lymphoma, released on 7/10/18, and returned to Indiana for the remainder of my chemotherapy treatments. This entry represents some lessons learned and thoughts that I captured during the early morning hours at the beginning of  my stay in Gainesville, and as I received my treatment.


I always wondered how I would react in the face of true adversity.  I am satisfied that when faced/looking at death, Beth and I maintained who we were; good and fun people at heart, who maintained their core values, and who love each other, our families, and our friends.  We maintained our unique blend of humor, our sense of fairness, and our belief in the underdog.  As part of this assessment, I asked myself, what does it mean to be a “good person” and how would I measure up?

The Good Person (immediate thoughts from the hospital)

  • Deep vs Shallow
  • Focused on others vs on self
  • Family & Faith vs loner
  • Giving Back vs Wealth focused
  • Fun vs Success focused
  • Be yourself vs trying to be who you are not (celebrity, athlete, model, lady’s man, etc.)

I found that I was at peace with the person I am, but also recognized that I can improve in each of the attributes I identified above.

It is important to realize that what a “good person” means changes as we go through life, and that it relies on who our influencers are and on what experiences we have had that determine our turn-offs.  When we are teenagers it is different than when we are in our middle years (maybe with a family, maybe not), and when we are in our middle years it is different than when we are in our sunset years.  However, our “good person” attributes should include some core values that do not change while we are on our life journey.  If you are honest with yourself, you already know how you measure up to your Good Person attributes.

My “good person” contemplation happened pretty early in my 25-day hospital stay in Florida, while I was being stabilized, diagnosed, and treatment was determined.  Once my treatment started, I watched a lot of news, and the vitriol and lack of respect and thoughtful dialogue was shocking.  I vowed that I was going to break that paradigm for myself and not allow myself to exhibit such characteristics.  While I appreciate passion and welcome input from all parties, be aware that I seek to understand the views of all involved, especially those with no voice.  I will not tolerate a lack of respect and civility.  In addition, my opinions and actions are made only after quiet contemplation.  Please honor my process.

What does it all mean for me?  I am going to live my life full of love for all and for life itself.  I look forward to having good times and laughs with those around me.  I am going to focus on giving back and fighting for others, living my core values, and providing guidance and mentoring when appropriate.  I will conduct myself, and expect the same from others, with compassion, civility, respect, and dignity.

If you clicked through and have read through to this point, then you recognize that since June 15th, I have had some challenges to overcome, with more ahead.  While the purpose of this post is to share learnings from an adverse situation, I also humbly ask for your assistance in reducing the financial burden of this experience.  If you are so inclined, please follow this GoFundMe link and contribute.  Any amount helps as Beth and I navigate this cancer experience.

PM Forum Meeting #7 In The Books

A huge shout-out to Cole Basta of Dwyer Instruments for hosting our seventh Project Management Forum meeting on Thursday.  He provided a breakfast spread, provided branded notebooks, and did an outstanding overview of Dwyer and how the Manufacturing Engineering group has journeyed over the bast 5 years in using agile principles and techniques for new product development support.

We started the session with networking, which was great as we had four first time attendees, and one second time attendee.  Just as the juices were flowing, we started our educational component.

Time Management Techniques

Our educational components was based on prioritizing the activities we perform on a daily/weekly/monthly basis using the philosophy from Scale by Jeff Hoffman and David Finkel.  The focus was on A,B,C,D activities. based on applying the pareto principle four levels deep:

  • D Time is the 80 percent mass of unleveraged, even wasteful time that produces only 20 percent of your total return. Delete, delegate, defer, or design it out (4D’s)
  • C Time is the leveraged 20 percent of  your time that delivers 80 percent of your results. This is your “Leveraged Time.”
  • B Time is the highly focused 4 percent that produces 64 percent of your results. We call this the “4% sweet spot.”
  • A Time:  Magic 1 percent generates more than 50 percent of results!

After going through and exercise to identify and share our A,B,C,D activities, we moved into what an “Ideal” week would look like.  The key is to find your most productive part of the week and pre-schedule time to work on your A&B tasks.  As this becomes a habit, you will find yourself making progress toward your strategic goals.

Agile Considerations at Dwyer      (, 2018)

Agile Development is an umbrella term for a set of methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto.

Solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams utilizing the appropriate practices for their context.

Methods primarily being used in Manufacturing Engineering at Dwyer are:

  • Scrum – Cadence of meetings for prioritizing and planning work items, working through impediments, demonstrating deliverables, and continuously improving the process.
  • XP – Pair Development – two or more people work together on the same work task sharing equipment.

Agile Values

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

12 Principles of Agile

1 – Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software product.

2 – Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

3 – Deliver working software product frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

4 – Business people and product developers must work together daily throughout the project.

5 – Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

6 – The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a product development team is face-to-face conversation.

7 – Working product is the primary measure of progress.

8 – Agile processes promote sustainable product development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

9 – Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

10 – Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.

11 – The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

12 – At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Agile Today in Manufacturing Engineering at Dwyer


  • Scrum work management with Kanban project prioritization
  • 2 week “Sprints”

Team Makeup

  • Product Release / Test and Calibration Team (4.5 members)
  • Automation Team (4.5 members)
  • 1 each Product Owner and Scrum Master over both teams


  • Stakeholder Prioritization Meeting (30 minutes)
  • Team Planning Meeting (1.5 to 2 hours)
  • Daily Team Standup Meeting (15 minute)
  • Look Ahead Project Scoping / Backlog Estimation Meetings (as needed)
  • Sprint Demo and Retrospective Meeting (1.5 – 3 hours)


  • Worked Well, Challenges, Start Stop
  • Happiness Index

If you are interested in learning more about our Renaissance Executive Forums PM Forum, please contact me at

I have a 1 hour workshop, that includes two exercises, that I look forward to presenting at your organization to help your team be more productive and effective in their daily activities and in making progress on their strategic goals.  Reach out to me at PMCkenriches@gmail or visit


Specialist vs. Generalist?

Great meeting with new connection today, received advice to change my focus from being a consultant to a specialist, sends a much more powerful message that they will get results from my relationship with them.  designing-your-best-work-in-a-lean-ecosystem-25-diagrams-16-638

I also need to change my marketing materials to clearly differentiate between my two market segments, larger organizations with established project management processes/PMO, and small-to-medium sized organizations that perform projects but do not have a designated project management role.  For larger organizations I can perform an assessment, perform gap analysis, and implement action plans to close the gaps.  For small-to-medium sized organizations, I can help make project management a core competency.

If this sound like a need you have, please see more at or e-mail me at



Time Management, Do you Do It Well?

Is time management a skill that you would like to improve on?

Could you use an increase in your personal productivity?

Do you struggle to meet your most critical activities with quality?

Our Educational Component at our next Project Management quarterly meeting, on 5/17/18, to be held in Michigan City at Dwyer Instruments, Inc., will provide techniques and a working session to allow you to address these time management improvement areas.

In addition, you will spend quality time with manufacturing professionals that are interested in continuous improvement with their project initiatives, whether in lean manufacturing or new product development.

Our agenda is as follows (times are Central time):

8:00 Network and light breakfast

8:30 Educational Component – Time Management Techniques

9:30 Overview of Dwyer Instruments (including use of Agile philosophy)

10:15 Tour of Dwyer Instruments

11:00 Round Table – Project Screening / Prioritization

Please contact me if you are interested in attending. — Ken Riches Forum Leader Renaissance Executive Forums Mobile: 574-584-4749

Warsaw Area Field Trip Learning

On Tuesday, April 25, our Renaissance Executive Forum (REF) members went on a field trip to the Warsaw area to visit three manufacturing companies and one service organization.  There are always useful things to take away from every location, and the conversation that occurs on the ride between locations provides valuable learning opportunities as well.

As a REF Project Management Forum member, you would have the opportunity to participate in such a field trip and meet and network with like minded manufacturing and business professionals.

Key Takeaways from each of our four stops:

Woodenware:  Two key learning’s; pay for performance (1/3 pay is hourly rate, 2/3 is bonus based on weekly performance), and everyone is QC (no assigned role, as a matter of fact, all workers have ability to roam and help where needed).

Harmony Marketing Group: Their premise is to “Solve Customer Problems”.  They do not just do what asked, their customer service representatives (almost a 1:1 match to their sales persons) will get to the bottom of the need and based on their extensive experience, present a solution that the customer may not even have thought of.

Grace College: How to adapt to changing times and provide real value to their customers.  Ability to get a three year degree with an option for a fourth year resulting in a Master’s Degree.  In addition, the tuition is frozen for all four years, and even goes down slightly year over year (oh, and books are provided for no cost).  Innovation in service at it’s best! And if that was not enough, they have unique and extensive relationships with their key suppliers, providing long term solutions and a family environment.

Chase Manufacturing: Creating a niche in the extreme high quality end of the RV market.  They are using technological solutions in the upfront design and production of quality wood products.  The focus is on quality and exacting solutions, not on high volume.

All in all, it was a great learning and networking day!  Contact me if you would like to be a part of such experiences in the future.