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Category Archives: Professional Development

KAI Partners Staff Profile: President & CEO, David Kendall

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Community Service, Corporate Training, Entrepreneurship, Front Street Animal Shelter, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Learning, Managing/Leadership, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Professional Development, Program Management, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, Servant Leadership, Small Business, Training, WEAVE, Workforce Development

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of our very own President & CEO, David Kendall! David founded KAI Partners in 2003. As our President & CEO, he is a managing director for the organization, as well as service delivery lead for a number of our clients.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

David: I spent nine years in the U.S. Air Force performing a technical role related to electronic warfare. At the same time, I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from University of Maryland University College. After the Air Force and graduating from college, I worked for several different companies in project manager and program manager roles.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

David: I have my Project Management Professional (PMP)®, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®), and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO®) certifications. I’ve found that certifications give us a common language to talk about a particular domain. They provide a framework to execute tasks in a specific order to achieve an outcome. They also provide a professional community and opportunities for community service.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

David: For clients, my favorite part of my job is providing solutions to business problems. Helping solve problems means I can really see the value for our customers, partners, and our staff. My favorite part of being a small business President & CEO is individual and team development.

KAI: What is one of the most common questions you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

David: I frequently get asked by clients, “How do I manage change across my organization?” I recommend building coalitions, identifying change agents, and including these people in the process early and often. Internally, I sometimes get the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question. I think it’s important to communicate why we do what we do and how this relates back to all aspects of a person’s work—their own development, the team’s development, our community, and our customers.

At the end of the day, our goal is to help provide more reliable services to Californians, so it’s important to keep this at the forefront.

Now that we’ve learned more about David’s background and current work as both consultant and KAI Partners’ President & CEO, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with David Kendall:

Daily, must-visit website: For work, I visit Asana.com. It’s a flexible work management tool that allows the team to create a set of business rules so everyone can work successfully. For news and information, I go to the New York Times, LinkedIn, and—of course—social media sites.

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: The most recent audiobook I listened to was “Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us,” by Dan Lyons. I read this for the bi-monthly KAI Book Club. The book club is a newer endeavor for us internally. I’ve enjoyed the participation and a diversity of perspectives and thought-provoking discussion that comes out of our meetings. We also have a resident mixologist who creates thematic cocktails based on each book!

Best professional advice received: “Leaders are not appointed.” Another piece of advice I received is simply said (but not always simply done), and that is: Manage expectations. I’ve found that this applies to any management job at any level.

Book you can read over and over again: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio.

Most-recent binge-watched show: “Letterkenny” on Hulu.

About David: Mr. Kendall’s career serving the public sector includes key consulting positions for various health and human services agencies. Mr. Kendall supports a number of community partners in the Sacramento region, including WEAVE, Sacramento Steps Forward, and Front Street Animal Shelter. In his spare time, David enjoys playing golf and cooking.

How to Hack into an IT Career (No hacker skills required!)

Cloud Computing, Corporate Training, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Government, Information Security, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, IT Security, KAI Partners, Professional Development, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Technology, Workforce Development

By Jamal Hartenstein, JD, CISSP, CGEIT, PMP

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of civil servants through the organization, NxtGov. NxtGov is a professional network for people working in California public service, and those who are interested in public service. According to NxtGov, “We want to develop this network into a platform for collaboration across government and other sectors to develop innovative ideas to improve government service and restore trust and pride in public service.”

To achieve their mission, NxtGov promotes training and advancement of current government workers and actively recruits new talent. NxtGov adds value with opportunities on how to find and apply to government positions and training on how to sharpen skills to promote within.

My discussion focused on improving understanding of the Information Technology workforce within the public sector, including information on the different certifications and skills-building that might be beneficial. With so many public sector agencies undertaking large system replacements and other innovation projects, skilled IT professionals are needed now more than ever. And, IT professionals with different backgrounds—like project management and change management—are just as much in demand.

Interested in learning more? Here are some Q&A on IT certifications and professional development:

  1. Do I need an IT certification? Considering all the letters behind my name, I definitely think certifications are valuable! Plus, certifications are often mandatory checkboxes when applying for government positions. Even if it’s not mandatory, a certification can indicate to employers your interest in and dedication to a particular industry. A certification can also validate years of experience and capability.
  2. Which certification do I need? First you need to determine which certification is most valuable to you and your goals. A certification is only as strong as the certificate authority and how you use your credential. Remember that earning a certification often allows you to gain access to and participate in a new online community with membership by the certification authority. Resources will become available that otherwise were not offered, which only aids in your continued development.
  3. Is a PMP® an IT certification? Short answer: Yes! Many of us have been involved in IT project management, but just didn’t know it. A PMP® credential is a valuable IT certification and as of July 2019, there are nearly 900 open project management jobs in the Sacramento region. (Bonus: The average IT Project Manager position pays upwards of $95K annually).

The future of IT in the public sector is great and growing. Whether it’s through cloud migrations, third party software replacements, or an innovation we haven’t even thought of yet, now is the time to start taking your professional development up a notch. For a sustainable IT career, you should keep up with new certification and training and make sure you don’t stay stagnant in a position that isn’t growing along with the speed of technology.

How are you navigating the IT changes in the public sector? Be sure to check out NxtGov to learn more about the important work they’re doing to help improve government services.

About the Author: IT Security Program Manager at KAI Partners, Jamal Hartenstein is a cybersecurity legal expert who has helped some of the country’s largest financial institutions, healthcare companies, and federal agencies develop their IT Security Roadmap programs. In his current role, Jamal provides guidance to executive staff and security professionals on laws, frameworks, and policies that help shape their strategic plan, and helps organizations innovate safely and securely. Prior to working for KAI Partners, Jamal served as an Electronic Warfare Sergeant in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps, where he was a steward for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) framework. He earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia Military College and his Juris Doctorate from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in California.

About the KAIP Academy’s Training and Certification classes

Agile, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Information Technology, KAIP Academy, Learning, Professional Development, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Scrum, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

Learn more about the KAIP Academy, northern California’s premiere training and certification resource for professionals looking to advance their career and professional opportunities!

Interested in registering for one of KAIP Academy’s upcoming courses? Start here!

PMP® Certification Bootcamp: Here to Pump…You Up

Corporate Training, KAIP Academy, Learning, PMP Certification Bootcamp, Professional Development, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Training

By Nick Sherrell, MBA, CSM, PMP

With New Year’s resolutions in full swing—or for some of us (looking at myself here), still struggling to get off the ground—the word ‘bootcamp’ is a word often thrown around.

I’d like to talk about a different kind of bootcamp, the PMP® Certification Bootcamp I attended through the KAIP Academy.

The PMP® Certification Bootcamp is a 4-day course that takes you through the newly updated Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide Sixth Edition to prepare you for the ultimate project management fitness test…the PMP® Exam!

With over six years of direct IT project management experience, I eventually hit a point in my career where a PMP® certification was necessary for me to reach the next level. I assumed with all my project management experience, passing an exam should be easy! I went to the PMI website to apply for the exam and stumbled upon a practice exam. I clicked on the ‘Start’ button and haughtily said, “Bring it on.”

Apparently, what I meant by ‘it’ was a heaping dose of humility.

The practice exam chewed me up and spit me out much like the first day of a fitness class after a long winter of watching movies and eating cookies.

Yes, I was DOING project management activities at work, and many of the same words were used. However, the application of these processes and the order and frequency in which to use them wasn’t exactly in alignment. I knew the exercises and a few routines, but I did not know how to arrange them into a whole-body program.

Enter the PMP® Certification Bootcamp course.

The course was led by Doug Johnson, a man with more acronyms after his name than one tweet can hold! On top of the acronyms, he has over 30 years of experience. Through the 4-day course, Doug takes you through the 10 knowledge areas and 49 processes within PMBOK, how to apply them properly, and sprinkles in real-life experiences to highlight how they work well—and sometimes how they don’t work out well and how to adapt as necessary. Another asset of Doug’s experience is his knowledge of the PMP® exam. He has great insight into what processes, terms, and knowledge areas are likely to be highlighted in the PMP® exam.

On the last day of the course, we took a few practice exams. Now humbled from practice exams, I cautiously clicked the start practice exam button, and…Success! I passed the practice exam with flying colors!

With this confidence, I completed the PMI application process and am scheduled to take the PMP® exam soon. I can now say I am appropriately confident that I am ready and able to pass this exam and move to the next chapter of my career in project management.

Now perhaps I can use some of this newfound project management knowledge to help get my New Year’s resolution beyond the Initiation Stage…

Interested in taking KAIP Academy’s PMP® Certification Bootcamp course, or want more information about the class? Click here!

About the Author: Nick Sherrell is a Project Manager with over 10 years of healthcare experience ranging from Quality, Performance Improvement, Technology Implementation, Data Analysis, and Consulting. Nick has worked with organizations ranging from the Sacramento Native American Health Center, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Blue Shield of California, and The Advisory Board Company. He currently works for KAI Partners, Inc as a Project Manager Consultant on a Public contract with the State of California. He received his MBA from UC Davis in 2015 with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior and Innovation. He became a Certified ScrumMaster in 2018 through Scrum Alliance training offered at KAIP Academy. He lives in Sacramento with his wife, two children, and Golden Retriever Emma.  Find Nick on LinkedIn here.

How the Scrum Values can be used on more than just Agile Projects

Agile, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), KAIP Academy, Learning, Professional Development, Project Management, Sacramento, Scrum, Training, Workforce Development

By Sumayyah Jackson, CSM

When I decided to attend the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) class through the KAIP Academy, I had knowledge about the Agile / Scrum process. Being a Special Projects Intern for KAI Partners, we discussed these processes frequently. My team and I attend daily sprint meetings every week. It is always on a timed schedule and gives everyone a clear vision of the tasks to be completed for the day.

One of my favorite parts of the CSM class were learning the Scrum Values: Respect, Openness, Courage, Focus, and Commitment. Here’s how I’ve seen the Scrum Values at work in my life:

Respect: To me, respect in the workplace means encouraging your team to express their opinions and ideas. At KAI Partners, my opinions and ideas were always respected. It allowed me to be comfortable expressing my thoughts when executing any project with my fellow team members. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Listening patiently to others’ discussion allows me to respond with insight and earn their respect.

Openness: I look at openness as being willing to open your mind to different ideas and change. Openness promotes trust. Trusting your team to uphold the company values will promote a friendly working environment. Accepting that people have different backgrounds will allow us to get past any perceived differences and realize that we are all people with similar goals.

Courage: Having the courage to overcome your fears can provide you with a sense of security to gain self-confidence and focus your energy on strengthening the organization through improved productivity and innovation. Moving across the country was one of my fears that I quickly got over. It took courage to leave behind everything I knew and start over in a new city. Because of courage, I have discovered new opportunities that have been positively life changing.

Focus: I think focus is an essential tool for success and can help you deliver the most efficient results. The ability to block out distractions is paramount and key to being successful. Being focused is a skill that has to be mastered.

Commitment: Commitment is to show effort and motivation and to recognize that sometimes satisfaction means going beyond the bare minimum expectations which takes discipline. I am committed to self-improvement by continuing to self-reflect and being open to change and growth. Ultimately, mistakes can be the best teacher.

Now that I am officially a Certified Scrum Master®, I look forward to applying the skills I learned to enhance my career, as well as provide a structure for my studies as a college student. These skills are not only applicable in the workplace, but they also play a role in day-to-day life.

Interested in learning more about how the Scrum Values can help in your career and life? Register for our next CSM session! Click here for all our KAIP Academy course information!

About the Author: Sumayyah Jackson works at KAI Partners as a Special Projects Intern. She recently moved to Sacramento from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attends Sacramento City College, majoring in Psychology. Sumayyah is committed to her education & tackling her career goals. After she obtains her Associates degree, she plans on attending a 4-year university and acquiring a PhD in Psychology. She has previously worked in customer service, time and expense coordinating, and social media coordinating. On her free time, she enjoys reading, volunteering for non-profit organizations, graphic design, traveling, and spending time with loved ones.

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