045 – Entrepreneurial Project Management with Rolondo Talbott

045 – Entrepreneurial Project Management with Rolondo Talbott

Today we are joined by Rolondo Talbott who gave an amazing presentation at this year’s PMO Symposium. He is going to share with us an amazing story from his time in the military which inspired him to come up with the concept of  Entrepreneurial Project Management. If you’ve heard about us contrasting “box checker” PM’s with being the CEO of your project, Rolondo takes it to a whole new level. With this approach, we look past the obvious or even stated goals of our project and engage at a deeper level to drive value. If you have stakeholders (and who doesn’t!) you won’t want to miss this one.


Rolondo Talbott, director of project management at Pomona College, joined the IT senior management team where he builds, leads, and operates project management for IT. Rolondo is a UCLA graduate and Los Angeles native who is also a 10-year veteran of the United States Air Force. His most recent position was working for NBC Universal, and he now lives with his family in Claremont, CA, USA.

He is also a published author who has written everything from screenplays to parenting related articles which are found in a variety of online and print magazines. He is also the author of the Children’s Book Series, “Uniquely ME” and was named by Disney’s as, “One of New Picture Books Your Kids Will Beg You to Read Over and Over”. When he is not writing, he is helping teams across various industries go from “Great to Legendary” using a variety of certified team building techniques. He also is passionate about helping veterans secure jobs, and volunteers by offering them résumé critiques and job-search strategies.

To contact Rolondo or read some of his many articles and books…

Linkedin.com/in/rolondotalbott (Various articles on Management)


Evolllution.com/author/Rolondo-talbott (Understanding and Achieving Consensus: Best Practices and Pitfalls to Avoid)

https://www.cioreview.com/cxoinsight/the-key-to-project-success-nid-27443-cid-63.html (The Key to Project Success)

Parenting Blogging

https://www.babble.com/contributor/rtalbott/ (Disney’s Parenting Website)

https://www.babble.com/entertainment/picture-books/ (Uniquely ME, Book #31)

Children’s Book Series: Uniquely ME (Various Versions)



Get access to all podcasts, PDU certificates, bonus content, exclusive member Q&A webinars and more from our membership! https://pmhappyhour.com/membership


We love to hear about your tough PM issues, so please hit us up at podcast@pmhappyhour.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/pmhapyhour and we’ll see if we can help you. If we use your question, we’ll send you a PM Happy Hour coaster you can enjoy at your next happy hour.

Check out this episode!

Show Notes

About our guest, Rolando Talbott [1:01]

Rolando Talbott is the director of Project Management at Palomar College. He’s a graduate of UCLA from California, and a 10-year veteran of the US Airforce. He’s worked for NBC Universal, is a published author, and lives with his family in Claremont, California.

When he’s not Project Managing, he works on his parenting blog, which was eventually picked up by Disney and a few local magazines. This inspired him to write his own children’s book series encouraging kids to embrace their background and who they are. He also loves helping veterans transition back into the civilian world, which is a process he had to go through himself, in everything from writing a resume to life skills.

What brought Rolando to his current career [5:52]

No journey is a straight line, and Rolando thinks his career is a great example of this. He started his career in the military, and found himself going through different industries thereafter trying to find his niche. It was only recently he came to this idea that there is a better way to do Project Management.

What is the most valuable business lesson you had to learn the hard way? [12:22]

Having empathy and understanding where you fit into the larger scheme of things is extremely important. Groupthink is an easy path to fall into in projects, and a lot of times we don’t understand the value and importance of empathy until we ourselves need it.

 Projects in the Military [15:33]

Here, Rolando relates one of his first projects he was assigned in the military: protecting an aircraft from being lost. They defined project success, and he put together tactics to do so. On a mission at a later date, he recalls a story about testing these tactics while also considering the dangerous context of the situation. Value is in the eye of the beholder- it wasn’t just about protecting the vehicle, but also invaluable use of it to marines on the ground. This is the foundational idea of looking beyond the traditional metrics of project success to ask the question of what it is we are really trying to achieve.

Applying these principals to projects [26:45]

We should take a step back and look at our environment. The idea of perceived value from your stakeholder is key. As PMO leaders and PMs, we need to establish this value in ourselves to stakeholders, and allow them to recognize PM value.

The future of PMOs [29:30]

Estimates show IT PMOs in particular will be changing very radically in the future. There is an argument against Project Management in the association of it with the loss of control. This means it’s even more important to express your value and importance as a Project Manager.

Being an entrepreneurial Project Manager [36:45]

You need to see yourself as a service organization- don’t see your role as a box checker, but an offeror of services. The next step Rolando relates is a commitment to customer service; don’t make customer service another box to check. Finally, build a commitment to continuous improvement. Feedback can be difficult to ask for or obtain, but can be so helpful in this process.

Sitting at the Big Kid’s Table: Being Seen as a Partner [39:15]

A challenge many face is only being seen as a resource or a problem solver- we want to be seen as a source of value, a partner. We want to, in short, move to the “big kids table.” This is the benefit of this client focused change: being seen less as a resource, and more as a valuable partner. You also gain the ability to hold other teams (and your own) accountable.

Leave a Reply