Michael F. Palladino, PMP
Faculty in Project Management Program, College of Professional Studies
Michael Palladino has established a global reputation over the last three decades as a thought leader in Agile methodology and an authority on project management. An adjunct professor with Villanova’s College of Professional Studies and sought-after keynote speaker who has presented for audiences in more than three dozen countries, Professor Palladino has taught thousands of business leaders and decision-makers strategies to strengthen teamwork, increase production and optimize efficiency in projects.
“Agile principles enable high-performing teams to accelerate decision-making and increase transparency, accountability and engagement while improving employee retention,” he explains. “It boils down to breaking work into smaller pieces, bringing teams together to function better and eliminating wasteful steps that don’t add value.”
After working for some of the top pharmaceutical corporations worldwide, including GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis and Pfizer, Professor Palladino was recruited by Bristol Myers Squibb in 2018 to implement the adoption of Agile practices for its more than 30,000 employees worldwide.
The Agile approach of working has been gaining momentum in a wide range of industries, but the advantages were made abundantly clear in 2020 when COVID-19 suddenly changed the way the world does business. One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Bristol Myers Squibb had to adapt to a new way of working virtually overnight. “The Agile teams didn’t skip a beat,” says Professor Palladino. “They already had the structure and the capability needed to adapt.”
As director of Enterprise Agility at Bristol Myers Squibb, Professor Palladino has the opportunity to influence drug discovery and manufacturing processes that could change millions of lives. “We’re developing transformational medicines that have the potential to save lives if they can reach the market sooner,” he says. “It’s my mission to help teams work smarter, faster and more cost-effectively to produce higher-quality results so we can make that happen.”
Legos as Learning Tools
What is the Agile methodology and how does it work? An expert in simplifying complex theories into more comprehensible parts, Professor Palladino has chosen quite an unexpected medium to demonstrate the answer to those questions: Legos.
During a four-hour workshop that Professor Palladino developed, participants use Agile techniques to gain hands-on learning as they simulate a start-up project by building a tropical resort using more than 10,000 Lego bricks. He’s hosted the training nearly 120 times at 16 sites across Bristol Myers Squibb, with more than 1,800 employees completing it in the last three years.
This year, Professor Palladino offered the Agile Lego workshop for the first time in collaboration with the Project Management Institute, a not-for-profit professional organization with almost 700,000 members and more than 300 chapters internationally. This fall, he hosted the training exercise in Lisbon, Belfast, Birmingham and London.
“My approach to teaching and managing is to incorporate experiential knowledge so that theories can be applied immediately at work,” says Professor Palladino. “Those I’m instructing, mentoring and collaborating with learn firsthand what the Agile mindset is by moving, thinking and grasping an understanding very quickly.”
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Vaswati Chatterjee, PhD
Assistant Professor of Public Administration