Mike Palladino, an adjunct professor with Villanova University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) and Head, Agile Center of Excellence at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals, has given dynamic presentations all over the globe on using Agile to adapt project management for the fourth industrial revolution. As an instructor, he brings the same interactive teaching methods and individual attention to his classes.
“The way I present is the way I run my classes. It helps to be interactive because I’m teaching adult learners who have been at work all day,” Palladino said. “Students dread a boring presentation that just gives theory or having a professor talk through a set of slides. I like to challenge my students and find ways for them to experience the course material on an emotional level because that’s when students retain the content.”
Palladino is a former president of the Project Management Institute (PMI) Delaware Valley Chapter. Through his position with PMI, he met with Chapter leaders from around the world at international PMI Leadership Institute Meetings. In 2017, he had the opportunity to speak at a meeting in Rome, which spurred requests for him to present at meetings in countries including Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria and India about how project managers can prepare for future changes within their field by adapting to and embracing new technologies and methods.
“I really get to know the audience, and vice versa, by mingling with the crowd before they even realize I’m the one presenting. I try to learn some of the local language and modify my presentation for each audience to help them better connect to the content. I incorporate local currency, laws and industries examples in to my presentation,” Palladino said.
According to Palladino, project management is about looking in to the future and understanding the end state by boiling concepts down to their most important elements. He aims to bring this approach to CPS’ project management curriculum, which he is helping to redevelop, along with Agile Management courses offered online.
“Universities face a challenge in teaching about tools and professions that don’t yet exist, and problems that we don’t know about yet.” Palladino said. “Our goal with redeveloping the project management curriculum is to make courses more interactive to drive engagement for our students. I’m bringing in a more practical side because people absorb concepts faster and resonate more with course material when you share concrete, real-world examples.”
In addition to teaching on Villanova’s campus, Palladino also serves as an instructor for online classes—a student community he describes as vibrant for its rich exchange of ideas.
“In the online classes, I get to meet students from all over the world. I’ve even taught students while they’re serving on military ships and while posted in Afghanistan and Kuwait. I fine tune my teaching style as I learn if the way I’m teaching concepts is universal and resonates across cultures. I also get a better sense of how project management is being implemented around the world, so I collect more case studies to incorporate in to my classes and presentations,” Palladino said.
Through his own professional experiences, Palladino has found project management to be a natural and valuable transition from many fields—a point he drives home to his students. Palladino began his career as an Electrical Engineer whose adept communication skills, combined with the logical and technical skills gained through engineering, led him to excel in project management.
“Project management is one of the few fields that is very transferrable to almost every industry. Domain knowledge is helpful, but in-depth knowledge is not required. When people are trying to make a career change, they’ve often performed informal project management, but there’s so much opportunity to learn the profession more precisely and apply those learnings,” Palladino said.
In addition to continuing to teach for CPS, Palladino’s upcoming plans include presenting on project management in Ukraine and potentially Norway, Milan and Dubai. Mike is also an author for Data Management University and serves on the Board of Directors for The Veterans Group in Philadelphia.