How Lisa Bausell Got Into Project Management

Project Management course instructor outlines her road to State of Nevada Attorney General’s office

Lisa Bausell, M.B.A., PMP, teaches Project Management and Project Leadership and Building High-Performing Teams. She has extensive experience working as a project manager, most notably in the IT sector. She’s currently working at the State of Nevada Attorney General’s office, working on a timely and important matter.

But let’s hear it straight from her.

I’m feeling so fortunate these days to have such an interesting and important consulting job. I’m helping the State of Nevada Attorney General’s office select and implement a software product to track sexual-assault kits.

The project I'm working on is to find ways to track the kits so that we know where the kits are and can find any problems with the process and fix them. We don't want to solve the backlogs and then find we have more kits waiting to be tested. The most important technique for this project is to involve all of the stakeholders. The challenge of meeting the needs of so many stakeholders across the State has been, and continues to be, my most important issue. Luckily, there are people involved who are familiar with the various agencies. As with many projects, communication is key to success.



The people side of project management continues to fascinate me.



How did I get here?

Most of my career I worked for the State Compensation Insurance Fund, which is the State of California Workers Compensation Insurance organization. I started many years ago as a programmer and worked my way through the IT organization.

I found that I liked working in teams and had success leading small projects. I was the person who liked leading meetings and working with stakeholders. I liked the technical side of things and really liked the people side of IT. I enjoy being able to help with the communication between the technical professionals and the users of a system, which can be a challenge in many projects. This led me into management and into project management.

The people side of project management continues to fascinate me. How to best create and maintain a team, how to make sure all stakeholders are being heard and engaging the executives who need to be onboard to ensure project success.

When you do a lessons-learned session or a project retrospective, you will usually get complaints about communication. As project managers, we have to spend countless hours on project deliverables, such as status reports, risk-analysis plans and even communication plans. These are all critical to the success of a project and are on a checklist of things that must be completed. We also need to spend time figuring out how to communicate with the people involved and then doing the actual communication—not just sending out an email so we can say it is done, but figuring out how to reach a key stakeholder and then taking that action.

With this love of projects, I decided to get my Project Management Professional Certification (PMP®), which eventually opened up my career into teaching and consulting.



I get to help students learn the skills and tools that help them in their career and in other areas of their life.



Why teaching?

As I moved more into project management and got my Project Management certification, I was so happy to find teaching opportunities at UC Berkeley Extension.

Teaching for UC Berkeley Extension is a dream job for me—I get to help students learn the skills and tools that help them in their career and in other areas of their life.

I get to mix the theory with practical examples. When I talk about leading meetings, teams and risk plans, I have examples of how I've had success and made mistakes in these areas. Some of the best learning happens from talking about real mistakes or problems.

Most of us are project managers in some area—be it at work, in a volunteer position or at home. Being able to help others achieve their goals is my ultimate joy.