Case Study: Emergency Nurses Association


The Challenge

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) contacted Kelly Kalmes because they were having trouble meeting intended project expectations. Kelly met with the executive management team and presented project management solutions she thought could help ENA achieve more tangible results.

The Process

Kelly conducted individual sessions with each management group to better understand their concerns and determine expectations and needs. After the meetings, it was clear that the management team were facing challenges involving limited time and resources. They were also struggling to find ways of aligning results with their strategic plan.

The Result

Kelly realized that is was important to get everyone on the same page. She suggested a training session for the management team. Afterwards, Kelly strongly recommended hiring a project manager who could continue the support and direction for project management within ENA. The executive management agreed with the recommendation and hired Eden Essex.

The Feedback

I began my position of Project Manager at the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) in April 2007. My background was rich in working in the nonprofit world, specifically with specialty nursing organizations, conducting strategic planning and managing projects. The position at ENA had been open for some time. ENA Executive Director David Westman working with Kelly Kalmes of Project Knowledge had yet to find the person who would fit ENA to introduce a project management office (PMO). Now, I was new to the project management process. You may have noted earlier I indicated I had experience managing projects, which is quite different I have learned from applying the project management methodology. For ENA growing its own Project Manager was the right fit for the management philosophy and cultural dynamics of the organization.

My education began with Kelly’s 5-day Project Management Certificate Program course, which I took at Loyola University Chicago. I give great credit to Kelly for keeping what could be rather dry information lively each day through her own charisma and exercises which brought the lessons to life. Kelly’s broad array of project management in action examples that she peppered each lecture with spoke to our diverse class of construction foremen, finance personnel, career changers of various backgrounds, IT specialists, and association management professionals such as me.

Fortunately for me, I was able to work with Kelly beyond the classroom. She had already presented a 2-day course to the ENA Executive Team. (I still hear talk of building a helicopter.) Additionally, she had addressed the ENA Board of Directors. The leadership team was committed to the establishment of a project management environment at ENA. What had been started was now up to me to make sustained. Kelly worked closely with me over the following months providing helpful templates, further education, and moral support. That last piece may have been the most important. Until the project management training I was conducting clicked with my colleagues I was a bit of an island at ENA.

The click came and triggered an avalanche of understanding. As my colleagues have come to embrace the project management methodology ENA has quickly seen positive results. The Board of Directors has indicated greater satisfaction with the documentation coming before it for decision-making in regard to strategic initiatives. ENA’s recent employee opinion survey had a 90% satisfaction rating with scores up across 71% of the questions, especially those related to improved communication across departments. There is talk in the halls about “silos” coming down.

It is amazing to see the power of project management in action. By imparting the knowledge and techniques of project management’s proven processes to dedicated employees and volunteers, ENA is enjoying greater communication at the tactical and strategic levels and better planning so that resources (both human and financial) are allocated appropriately. As I share this with you 1.5 years into a three-year PMO rollout, a grin is rolling across my face as I look to the next 1.5 years and the great results to come. ENA has much to thank Kelly for in providing her expert direction on establishing a PMO that would fit the association and its unique organizational dynamics. I have much to thank Kelly for in introducing me to the project management methodology, knowledge of which has enhanced me both personally and professionally.

Director of the Project Management Office (PMO) of ENA, Des Plaines IL