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I recently caught up with our trainers and assessors to find out a bit more about their background and what makes them tick.

Today’s interview is with Don Coutts. Don is a highly experienced project management trainer and assessor who has extensive experience in many industries. He has worked in a number of countries including the Antarctic! Don is our lead trainer and assessor for the Certificate IV in Project Management Practice and the Diploma of Project Management.

Michael Young: Tell us about yourself?
Don Coutts: I have been involved in project management in various roles as a project officer, project manager, senior project manager, and project director. I have worked on projects in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Russia, and the Antarctic.

MY: What got you into project management?
DC: I started working as a project officer on a critical defence project to test the structural integrity of complex stainless steel fuel lines at RAAF Base Darwin. I became really interested in project management, so I pursued that type of work.

MY: What is your main focus with your project management work?
DC: My main focus is on schedule, risk, and quality. All projects need a solid and accurate schedule, effective risk management and good quality management. If these are not done well the project fails to meet expectations.

MY: What courses did you do to get to where you are?
DC: Initially a lot of experience in the field, both in Australia and overseas. I supplemented my experience by completing a Diploma of Project Management as well as certification from the Australian Institute of Project Management and the International Project Management Association.

MY: What does a typical day look like for you?
DC: Planned and structured. Time-boxing for achievable goals, with some flexibility for unforeseen events. Reflection, and documenting lessons learned.

MY The best thing about working as a project manager is…
DC: The pleasure and pride that comes from delivering a product or service for a satisfied client.

MY: What are you currently working on?
DC: An IT project to facilitate financial decision making. Can’t say too much about it unfortunately.

MY: What are your plans for the future?
DC: To build on my knowledge and experience in this rapidly-changing profession, and to pass on my past knowledge and experience to future generations of project managers.

MY: If you could give someone who was thinking about becoming a project manager some advice – what would it be?
DC: Initially, get involved in a project. Look, listen, learn, and build on your experience and knowledge from there on.

MY: Thanks Don for your time today to tell us more about yourself. 
DC: No worries – thanks Michael.

You can find out more about Don by checking out his profile on LinkedIn.

Also, read more about what we are doing and thinking in project management in our project management blog.

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