Shabbir Evershine is the founder of RocketPMO, a boutique project management consulting firm based in Toronto, Canada. He was previously the co-founder of LocaWoka, a tech startup selected by MaRS and Google Next as a promising startup. He has been an entrepreneur since he was a child – his first startup was a book library when he was seven years old in Karachi, Pakistan.

After completing his A Levels at The City School in Karachi, Pakistan, Shabbir Evershine moved to the United States and graduated from the University of Houston in Texas with a Bachelor of Business in Management Information Systems and Marketing. He then worked for Aon Hewitt before being promoted and transferred to their Toronto office to manage a large IT implementation. After Aon Hewitt, Shabbir worked as a director at Global Payments, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and the Government of Ontario at the Ministry of Government of Consumer Services (MGSC) managing their Global Project Management Offices. After a successful career stint, Shabbir started his company, to consult other companies to build effective, agile, and robust Project Management Offices (PMO).

Shabbir Evershine is a self-declared foodie, travel buff, gadget geek, and a voracious reader. His Instagram (@shabbir.evershine) profile feed is a testament to his passions. His wife, Rashida Evershine and two kids love to travel and play chess.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

After working for 15+ years for large companies building enterprise PMOs, I decided to take the challenge and start my own company – advising executives on how to get things done effectively and efficiently, as well as raise the competency level of the employees. When we started, we had zero clients. Today, by referrals, we have worked with major organizations across Canada and US in helping our clients with their PMO needs.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I was confident that through quality work and genuine problem-solving, our clients would appreciate our work. I was apprehensive about whether RocketPMO would “take off” or not. This was due to the fact that PMO design and development is typically done in-house, usually by large consulting companies like Deloitte and McKinsey and the process is traditionally archaic, where executives dictate their challenges and problems instead of a 360-degree feedback. In addition, the PMOs are primarily built to satisfy the executives whereas the agile, high-performing PMOs are the ones that focus on project intake, flow of work, prioritization at the operational and strategic level, matching resources based on competency and need, and executing with a delivery-based mindset. Focusing on what matters contributed to our growth initially – and continues to do so.

How did you get your first customer?

It was serendipity. At a local café in Toronto, I was working on a client proposal when I got into a conversation with a fellow patron. We both started talking, conversing, and soon exchanged contact details. A few weeks later, I was sitting in his office mapping out a PMO division for his company.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I don’t know if I would classify myself as successful, but certainly blessed. And that’s success for me. I have been infinitely blessed with a great family, good friends, and a supportive eco-system that lets me thrive and grow in all aspects – socially, morally, politically, intellectually, and financially. I feel a hunger for knowledge, reading books, being socially astute, and a willingness to experiment continues to pave the way for favourable circumstances for me.

What does the future hold for Project Management Offices (PMO)? What are you most excited about?

Project Management Offices (PMO) need to evolve from the archaic way of managing projects (waterfall) to a more agile mindset. I see hundreds of consultants and companies stuck in the dark ages – top-down driven, extremely manual, and template-based. Executives should rather focus on making their organizations leaner and more responsive to change. Data-driven versus report-driven. 360 feedback versus top-down monarchies. Raise the competency level versus living with excess fat. Super generalists versus specialized roles. Work on things that truly matter versus keeping everyone happy. We help executives and organizations achieve exactly that.

What business books have inspired you?

I love reading books so I have plenty. “Rework” by Jason Fried, “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene, “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, and numerous others are permanently on my bookshelf. I recently read “After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam” by Lesley Hazleton and it is mesmerizing. My advice would be to read about your interests, industry, or heroes — and relate, adapt or apply. Read different genres. Absorb the old and new texts. Read history, religion, politics, arts, business and more. It will help you build yourself into a master storyteller.

Connect With Shabbir Evershine: