Project Management - About Us & Our History | RefineM Project Management - About Us & Our History | RefineM

About RefineM

A History Steeped in Project Management Transformation

NK Shrivastava founded RefineM in 2011, fulfilling a long-held dream to create a project management consulting and training firm focused on driving business results.

In his 20+ years overseeing projects—from small initiatives to multi-year, multi-million dollar, multi-national endeavors—NK has seen that while the project management function, overall, has matured over time, its demands have increased, and so too has the project failure rate, estimated by industry experts to now be at 70 percent.

“Why do so many projects fail? It can be a struggle for project teams to determine what’s mission-critical and what’s not. Skipping essential processes can lead to project failure, but, on the flip side, a complex or unnecessary process wastes time, annoys teammates and hurts credibility,” said NK. “I focus my practice on helping project managers perform only high-value processes, not too many—not too few—keeping it very simple, strategic and incredibly efficient. This is the key to project success.”

Turning Project Management into a Competitive Advantage

Are you frustrated watching your team continue to “hit-or-miss?” We consult project managers offer Agile coaching to help organizations develop systems, processes, resources and talent to drive project success. With RefineM on your side, your team will learn to focus on what is essential, use simple but effective tools and techniques, and shift from reactive to strategic thinking—lowering the stress level for all.

Our mission is to help organizations turn their project managing capabilities into a competitive advantage.

We achieve this by implementing the best practices through a very simple yet effective refinement process. Our consultants listen to our customers and then develop a roadmap to take their processes to the next level.

We follow widely accepted frameworks, tools and techniques such as A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), LEAN, and Six Sigma. We differentiate ourselves by our ability to listen and make changes that get to the core of the issue.

Consistent Values that are Consistent with Your Needs

Our values are our building blocks.

We believe in SIMPLICITY. Our project management solutions are simple but effective. They produce the desired results.

We believe INTEGRITY can’t be compromised. We say what we do, and do what we say, keeping things straight for everyone.

We believe FLEXIBILITY helps us adapt quickly to the needs, which in turn helps us build long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships.

Top-Notch Consultants

RefineM brings together a team of specialized consultants to offer knowledge, skills and capabilities custom-tailored to the unique needs of our clients.

All our consultants have earned certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI)® and most of them are PMI® members and volunteers. They value and enjoy what they do every day.

Our consultants use widely accepted premier project management and process improvement frameworks, tools and techniques—in combination with the kind of expertise that can only come from decades in the field. Our experience allows us to quickly hone in on critical success factors to deliver results in a fraction of the time of less experienced professionals.

The PMBOK® Guide is our guiding framework for managing projects and providing consultations. We also use LEAN and Six Sigma frameworks in process improvement projects. We use MS Project and MS Office as primary tools to manage projects as well as providing mentoring and coaching in project management areas. Our consultants are also experts in Agile methodology.

"Project managers need to move fast and decisively. They need simple tools that are ready to go."

—Michelle Maas, MBA, PMP

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Harnessing the Growth Mindset of Agile during COVID-19

September 28, 2020

Many of us have been feeling the highs and lows of sociallydistant living for the past few months. We’ve been adjusting to this new COVID-19-necessitated lifestyle since March, and we don’t yet know when it will end. Some days are good, some are not so good, and the underlying question for most seems to be “How can I feel like I’m moving forward, when every day feels like the one before?” Despite our Groundhog Day-inspired existence, there are ways to continue progressing, especially when it comes to our work. By utilizing the growth mindset embedded into Agile, we can help ourselves and our teams navigate this challenging time and continue delivering projects successfully to the best of our abilities.  

 It is no surprise that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on Americans’ mental health. In a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in July 2020, 53% of Americans say stress related to COVID-19 has impacted their mental health (up from 39% in May 2020).1 This increased psychological load has certainly affected job performance, especially for workers who can no longer go into the office. A 2015 survey by Linsday McGregor and Neel Doshi found that employee motivation suffers when employees are forced to work remotely: “…when people had no choice in where they worked, the differences were enormous. Total motivation dropped 17 points, the equivalent of moving from one of the best to one of the most miserable cultures in their industries.”2 In the current environment, when we’re all battling the uncertainty of life in a global pandemic, and we can’t work from an office, employee motivation is undoubtedly suffering.  

Another drastic change brought on by COVID-19 is the type of tasks on which employees are comfortable focusing. McGregor and Doshi found that when workers are faced with significant ambiguity, the default is to focus on tactical tasks rather than strategic ones. This makes sense – if you don’t know what your life or your project will look like in a week/month/year, it’s easier to make sure you’re checking smaller, time-bound items off your to-do list rather than trying to tackle large, complex issues. But this may ultimately hurt the overall organization – in times of uncertainty it becomes even more important to think of the bigger picture, to understand the constraints and problemsolve potential paths forward.  

Organizations and managers should help their employees adapt to this new way of working to continue seeing progress on projects and company goals. If the conditions are right3, work can provide a sense of purpose during uncertain times. According to McGregor and Doshi’s study, if an employee’s work is engaging and they feel empowered to tackle problems on their own or in collaboration with their teammates, this kind of work can be motivating.4 One way to build this empowerment among project teams is to encourage adoption of a growth mindset, which is the idea that we can continuously learn and improve our abilities (versus a fixed mindset, which is the idea that our abilities and intelligence are static and inherent).5 With respect to worker motivation, incentivizing growth mindsets gives managers an opportunity to reward processes, not just results.6 Adopting a growth mindset with respect to your team’s practices can motivate your workers during the COVID-19 era, and will likely continue to benefit your organization in the future 

While there are many ways to incorporate growth mindsets into your teams’ practices, teams that utilize Agile methodologies have an advantage. The Agile principle of continuous improvement highlights the need to regularly reflect on and adjust the teams’ processes, which is essentially a team-driven version of a growth mindset. Agile teams and organizations can emphasize these specific Agile practices and tools to motivate their workers and ensure that project milestones are being met:  

These Agile practices not only give managers and teams a chance to optimize for continual improvement, they also break down larger strategic goals into small, discrete tasks which workers seem to prefer during highly unpredictable times.  

 Working through a global pandemic has forced workers, managers, and organizations to innovate and be flexible in their practices and expectations. At RefineM we believe in caring for the whole person, not just the employee who shows up to work. Mental health is an extremely critical part of our well-being and managers of Agile teams can take the steps outlined here to support their workers’ sense of purpose and motivate them through adoption of a growth mindset. Luckily, Agile readily lends itself to emphasizing continual improvement and growth.

We hope these strategies are helpful, and would love to connect to discuss how your organization or team can implement them. We also invite you to attend our upcoming webinar, Using Agile to Stay Resilient During Challenging Times, for more guidance and discussion of this topic.     

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Our mission is to help organizations turn their project management capability into a competitive advantage.