The Shaker Podcast

Ask questions, listen, learn and take action
Ask questions, listen, learn and take action


I proposed to my wife the very day I bought the engagement ring. Not because I had intended that sequence of events. I just couldn’t wait, I couldn’t conceal the secret from her, so I asked her to marry me that night.

This trend of always telling the truth (or at least not lying) has stuck with me my whole life.

So when Lisa (co-editor of The Shaker and podcast host) called me out on my comments around ‘Imposter Syndrome’ at work, I couldn’t help but tell the truth. All this in the first 5 minutes of our podcast. Now that it’s out there, I can’t help but be nervous about what you might think.

I did get a chance to share the general gist of how myself and others have overcome it too: 

“Ask questions, listen, learn and take action” – RW


 Here is a link to full interview hosted on The Shaker (Soundcloud): 

The Interview

The following are written and rewritten versions of my answers to Lisa, have a listen to hear the conversational versionor or check it out in its written format. 

1.  Rob, you have a long background consulting to government and private enterprise, tell us a bit about what you do and why? 

Mostly I ask questions, listen, learn and take action.

The majority of my recent engagements have been focused on agile and business analysis capability uplift across Federal Government and the private sector.


Why do I do it? It comes down to people, I love creating new connections, making new friends and helping people. Pretty much, if I get the chance to learn and teach and learn and teach I will remain fulfilled in work and life.


2.      People always wonder, how did that person get there? What’s your story, how did you get to consulting and business management? 

The following image is basically all the big rocks in my career that got me to now, mapped. It is a high level view though – and highlights where I was in my career, and the lessons I learnt at the same time.


3.      Are there some top tips for people that you would indicate who want to get into this space? 

If you can know the following about your industry and your self, it will make it pretty easy to get into the contracting or consulting space. Also note, I am focused on the Canberra IT market and skill set here, but happy to share insight on private and other role types if people are interested.

  1. What are the different specialisations you are interested in (I focused on Project Management (Agile & PMBOK) and Business Analysis)

  2. What are the long term paths one can take in your chosen specialisation (not fixed in the order or combination I am suggesting)?

    1. Business Analyst to Business Architecture

    2. Project Management (traditional) to Delivery Management (agile)

  3. Know how you stack up right now.

    1. Apply for work every 12 months in everything you like.

    2. What are the jobs that people are interested in you interviewing for?

    3. What level of rate will you get?

If you want to get into consultancy, there are two main ways. Join a place out of school, start as a grad and move up. Or as a contractor or public servant, bringing your skills and lessons into a smaller practice that you can grow in.

The key to success if you want to shift from contracting or the APS, is self reflection. Have you always had a side hustle? Wanted to start a business? Have you always been trying to create something for years, while developing a core set of skills? If so, then a shift into consulting might be easier than you think. 

You might take a pay cut on the surface, but from experience the role you can get as a perm often exceed an hourly rate in the first 6-12 months and give you the chance to be the entrepreneur you have always wanted to be.

The main tips I have for you are:

  • connect with people, 

  • find people you like,

  • know your values, 

  • find people that share your values

  • find a business that your values align with, and 

  • ask for a shot!


4.      Now, you’re approach in terms of melding the old with the new to develop a more balanced methodology to project management and work generally – tell us about it? 

a.       What inspired it? 

I have worked on some great agile implementations and projects, but in reality way more that were not so great. I love the agile framework and the rituals of scrum, they fit the way I think and were so easy to learn and apply. I also hate the wasted dollars that come from inefficient processes and practices on projects.

I also love the book ‘The Lean Startup by Eric Ries’, I think every aspiring entrepreneur should ready it, along with all the Band 1s and 2s in the APS. This book helped to underpin my approach to entrepreneurship. I also love the hustle it takes to make a business work, to make a project work, to support a team to succeed. 

I am also obsessed with personal development and stoic philosophy. I am also happy to say I have suffered hard, burnt out and felt like I have lost my mind more than once. So I was looking for something that could reduce my suffering, help me deliver on what I was responsible for and keep me present with my work and family.

Put all that together and I have been able to blend new ways of working and old ways of thinking.

b.      How does it apply to work and beyond? 

A couple of examples I have can be found via the links below.

c.       Who are the key thinkers that have impacted the development of this methodology? 

  1. Ryan Holiday – The obstacle is the way, Ego is the enemy, the Daily Stoic

  2. Eric Ries – The Lean Startup

  3. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations

5.      Where is the future taking you from a business perspective? 

  1. Double down on program and portfolio management

  2. Continue delivering capability uplifts for customers that give me a chance to help (agile and BA focused)

  3. I love writing and sharing my thoughts with the goal of helping people learn their own unique way of doing things, so I will keep that up.

  4. Find amazing people to work with, to join me either as an employee or as a contractor.

  5. I will also continue supporting people find work they love, however I get a chance to.

6.      What are you excited about? 

  1. To figure out how I can take what I have learnt about stoicism, that I have applied at work and get better at applying it at home with my family. I just want to be present with them and focus on how I can be the best possible husband and father.

  2. For work, I am loving the new ways of working, underpinned by old ways of thinking. So I am excited to continue bringing those two things together in the form of Agile and Stoicism

7.      What podcasts do you regularly listen to why? 


Check out the rest of the article here:

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