Alexander James Raymond lives in Catonsville, MD, and is very active in his community. He has built a successful career in finance and is known for his financial planning, investing, and project management skills. When Alex Raymond began his financial career, his goal was to continue his education and growth as part of a winning and highly experienced team. Over the years, he moved smoothly into various fields and strived where he remained successful at almost all levels.
Raymond began his financial career at Morgan Stanley. He worked there for more than 10 years, gained experience, and learned as much as possible about finance and business management. He also knows how working as a cohesive group is beneficial in building a network of professionals they can trust in counseling and support.
Morgan Stanley spent most of his time helping to build relationships, provide customized solutions, and develop new project management skills. During his ten years, he obtained several licenses and certificates, including:
-Series 7 and 66
-Advanced Certified Scrum Master
and so on
Upon completion of these certificates, he was able to create his resume and market his project management skills in many different areas. This allowed Alex Raymond to expand and take advantage of many new opportunities. Towards the end of his tenure at Morgan Stanley, his interests expanded to other areas of project management. Although finances were still part of everything he did, his interests shifted to IT projects. The combination gave him a new skillset. Before leaving Morgan Stanley, he built a thriving business that grossed $ 330,000 a year and helped its partner companies to grow by more than 30%. Within two years of opening his own IT project management business, it now shows greater revenue potential.
The transition from financial services to IT project management has been smooth. All the tips and techniques he has learned over the last 10 years at Morgan Stanley will now apply to his new role. He explored new opportunities and eventually won 2 large contracts. One contract with the Navy Federal and one with Driscoll’s. Raymond has placed project management consulting offerings from CVS, Ameriprise, and Key Bank to name a few. Alexander James Raymond has also worked as a project manager and Scrum Master, and thanks to his years of previous experience, he is making rapid progress in the field.
During his years as a financial advisor rooted in project management techniques, Raymond has the knowledge and skills he needs to learn and make progress. Each year of experience allows him to continue discovering and learning work in different areas of each industry. This has helped him to be very proactive in managing multiple tasks and operations simultaneously. By merging these two areas, it has now become more efficient and can build stronger and more coherent networks. As he grows over the years, he has made a name for himself in many different areas, including IT security and administration. Alexander James Raymond is able to manage agile teams and help them work to their full potential. He was part of many organizational changes, where he helped bring together groups that can effectively find solutions and work together to achieve each goal. His ability to keep up with his previous income in two years proves his ability to use his talent to the full.
Alexander James Raymond never lost sight of where he came from after all his continued success. His business success has allowed him to give back to his community. Alexander James Raymond is now maintaining a tradition of donating $ 500 to $ 1,000 a year to Mt. St Joe and, over the last ten years, has also contributed the same amount to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Donations to these organizations have become an annual practice in recent decades that he does not intend to quit. Raymond also volunteered at NIH’s Children’s Inn and local food banks as well as having not forgotten about local businesses in his community. He has worked pro bono for many small business owners to help them create the right strategies for their business and also offers free financial planning seminars for community members – adults and school-age children. He works hard on his success and hopes to help others achieve the same success on their own terms. Whether at work or in his spare time, he is proud to have made a difference.
Where did the idea for Project Management Precision come from?
That’s a great question and from a high-level what I’d say is that the birth of the company is the result of a 10+ year career as a successful financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. During my time there, from 2010-2020, I was able to provide consulting services to a wide variety of businesses and investors – internal and external to the firm.
In 2012, I enrolled in a graduate-level project management course offered at The University of Maryland and began incorporating the frameworks and principles into my daily work. As a financial advisor, I managed engagements with corporations generating hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenues to individual investors with their own unique personal and family goals. Additionally, as an advisor, I was able to successfully partner with established advisory practices and improve internal operations and client engagement strategies.
Often, when dealing with clients, I would find myself advising on matters well outside of the scope of portfolio investments and financial planning. I found myself advising on potential acquisitions of other companies, drafting of tactical and strategic business plans, market expansions, and technology upgrades (to name a few areas). After years of practicing within this “add-on advisory services” space, I knew that all roads would lead to launching my own firm. Project Management is such a broad area of consulting, it allows me to work in several different industries and consult on projects from supply chain management to application development, to lending and collections solutions.
The leap of faith was taken in establishing my firm and I have not looked back once.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
What I love the most about project management, specifically IT project management, is that no one day is the same as the previous or next. My typical day starts around 6am when I take time for myself with a workout and meditation session. From there, I’m online catching up on world news and IT trends.
My morning work hours are spent with my IT Development Teams in what we call “Daily Standups”, which are 15-30 minute meetings where I facilitate and the team reviews what work was accomplished yesterday, what work is on the queue for today, and what roadblocks or impediments they are facing.
After my Daily Standups, I’m connecting with various members of my development teams, having one on one conversations, tracking overall project progress, and ensuring our work is aligning with business objectives and goals. Afternoons are filled with strategic meetings pertaining to any number of matters on projects which I’m leading.
I always wrap my days with a recap of what was accomplished, what needs to be followed up on, and what my calendar looks like the following day. Organization is chief to my operation and the end of day exercise allows me to start my day ahead of the curve.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have a high level idea that I need to bring to life, I start with my whiteboard. I map out the high level objective of the idea and then try to flesh out what steps or series of actions need to occur to bring me from ideation to proposal. I’m a visual individual and the whiteboard sessions fit my personality well. Oftentimes, I find myself taking pictures of the whiteboard to revisit at later/appropriate times to continue progressing through the vision. I find that ideas come to me at all different times of day and that some of my best ideas have come to me when not in :work mode”. I’ll email myself a note and take time to engage the idea at a later time.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me right now are the “agile transformations” that several major corporations are currently working through or are looking to implement at the organizational level. This is a very exciting time for agile IT development and what excites me the most about this trend is the opportunity that I have to coach, connect, and partner with these organizations which span across almost all industries.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Not being afraid of failure is one trait that makes me more productive as an entrepreneur. One habit that certainly makes me a more effective entrepreneur is staying in a constant state of learning and embracing the fact that I am ever evolving. Combining the never afraid to fail trait with the habit of constantly looking to learn has opened doors and opportunities I never would have imagined.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The one piece of advice I would give my younger self is to feel comfortable in taking calculated risks. Successful or not, taking calculated risks will provide opportunities for growth, confidence, and discovery. Never shy away from an idea or endeavor because it seems too risky upfront.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The Baltimore Ravens will be the 2022-2023 Super Bowl Champions. Just a feeling I get when thinking about the hometown team!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur, I am constantly presenting data, discussing project status, and delivering speeches. I would recommend to anyone that they can never go wrong in focusing on their communication skills: verbal, written, and body language. Commanding an audience and keeping their attention are paramount to my success and I have spent every year of my professional career building these skills out.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped me grow my businesses, current or past, is focusing on 3-4 niche markets at any given time. Focusing on specifically targeted niche markets allows you, as the business owner, to take a dive deep into the needs of these markets and to plant your flag as a subject matter expert in that given area. For instance, at Morgan Stanley, I targeted the 401(k) space for privately held government contracting corporations, real estate agencies not offering retirement plans to their employees, and the affluent executive market looking for financial planning services. At my company, Project Management Precision, LLC, I focus on providing core project management planning services, agile IT project management scrum master services, and scaled agile IT scrum master services. With both examples, I’m able to align professional certifications, licenses, and learning opportunities with the specific needs of my target niche markets. The goal is to present myself to my target niche markets as an expert who not only comprehends and understands their needs and concerns but that I also come highly qualified through experience and training, to uniquely deliver custom solutions to them.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I experienced as an entrepreneur was not investing enough time and brain capital into my assistants and partners. I’ve found that the more time I spend with staff and partners, the more quality I get out of the relationship. I’ve hired coaches and looked at this issue and determined that with a well-structured onboarding and training process the output from staff and partners alike are night and day.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t typically give business advice out for free – but today is a fun exception. In 2022, looking at global markets and trends here in the US, I think that tactical opportunities are presenting themselves. This would be an interesting time to look into starting trucking and farming businesses.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was actually a donation, two of them actually. In my personal time, I frequently speak to college students studying business and looking to break out into their own respective careers.
I was contacted by two recent graduates not long ago- one who is running for Miss USA and another who has launched her own beauty care line. I donated $100 to each of their causes.
Supporting and growing my business is one thing, being able to help and support others who are on their way is special. By far the best $100 I have spent recently – helping others chase their dreams.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
It’s “old-school” but Excel is my go to piece of software that helps keep me productive. I use excel to do everything from track follow up items from the daily standup meetings I facilitate to crafting enticing visuals to go along with numbers and percentages I’m presenting to. Excel is tried, true, and keeps me productive and organized.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book I am firmly recommending to this community is Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins. It’s a phenomenal read and the concepts can be applied to all sorts of coaching environments, not just IT development.
What is your favorite quote?
“Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking. It’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will add to your overall excellence.”
- Always invest in learning more.
- Giving back creates a loop of opportunity and success.
- Never allow anything to stand in the way of trying again and again.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.